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Simcha Rothman, Member of the Knesset, in his address at a Budapest conference on the “Rule of Law As Lawfare” on Tuesday, gave an outline of democracy and the justice reform in Israel and the war in Gaza. Speaking at a panel discussion, Rothman, chair of the Knesset’s Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, said that “Israel has a strong and independent justice system and this will stay so even after the reforms,” referring to a reform law package. He said “the rule of law” and “constitution” were nice words but “if they lose their meaning, if what is black is called white, than nothing will stand in the way of power”, adding that “the rule of law can be used against Hungary and other EU member states as a weapon”. Commenting on accusations of genocide against Israel, Rothman said that his country “is the only one that does not commit a genocide”, adding that “even peacekeeping missions claim civilian victims”. He called accusations of genocide “a clear abuse of the rule of law”.
István Stumpf, a member of the prime minister’s Strategic Council, told the same conference that Europe was currently “struggling to find an identity of its own”. “What we see is not a constitutional crisis but one of identity, and the debates on the rule of law are in fact reflections of a conflict between different sets of values,” Stumpf said in his address. Talking about an ideal concept of the rule of law, Stumpf said a discussion of the rule of law “has become a part of daily politics with the two sides of the political spectrum routinely accusing each other of disrespecting the rule of law.” He said Europe in recent decades had lost its “role of setting an example and acting as a renewer,” and insisted that “an overgrowth of EU bureaucracy and the suppression of the national interest has created a shadow power that lacks any democratic authorisation and is only interested in building a federal structure above member states”. “This is a war between the ideals of sovereign nation states and an ideal of sovereignty and democracy superimposing nations,” he said. A lack of consensus concerning the definition and essence of the rule of law “could be used as a weapon against nations … accusations against some members is actually a legal disguise for antagonistic interests, preventing values and ideals different from those of the mainstream from being presented as an alternative vision for Europe’s future,” Strumpf said.
The conference was co-organised by the Danube Institute, the Center for Fundamental Rights and The European Conservative magazine.