Here's a typical story about the mindset of Israel's radical Left these days.
Last week a court in Ramleh sentenced Nuri el-Aukbi to seven months in jail for operating a business in Lod without legal permits. So far as I can see from the conviction, this is at least the third time since 2003 that el-Aukbi has been convicted for the same thing; each time the court orders him to shut down his business he not only refuses to comply, he builds additional structures onto the ones he's been ordered to shut down. A fine and upstanding citizen.
Ah, but there's a snag. In addition to being a serial offender against zoning and business-license laws, el-Aukbi is an activist in support of Bedouin rights in the Negev, some of which touch upon... laws of zoning and licenses. At his most recent trial, el-Aukbi or his lawyers seemed to think this should be a mitigating condition, and suggested the court be lenient since in other, unrelated matters, he's engaged in important things.
The court didn't oblige. On the contrary, when handing down his sentence, Judge Yemini noted that a social activist who speaks in the name of human rights and rule of law, ought to be careful he himself is above reproach in these matters. El-Aukbi, sadly, isn't. Rather the opposite. And note that the court was responding to a line of argumentation that had been presented to him, not initiating the discussion.
Dan Yakir, the legal advisor of the Association of Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), harshly castigated the court. "The judge essentially said he was punishing el-Aukbi for his activities of support of the Bedouins in the Negev, so as to warn them off... This scandalous case is yet another example of how the courts are being used to discourage political actions." Inevitably, Yakir then added that in a healthy democracy political activity is to be applauded, not punished by the courts.
Fortunately this time the story is so far on-line only in Hebrew (and follow the links to the court documents).
The weirdest thing is that Yakir and his colleagues truly believe their own narrative, and are quite impervious to any other possible explanation. If someone is a political activist on their side of the political divide, he must be immune from prosecution for anything, and if he isn't, this is proof Israel, like Putin's Russia, is rapidly becoming non-democratic.