Rassegna Stampa Elezioni Israeliane 2009

Monitoraggio attraverso i media internazionali delle elezioni in Israele del Febbraio 2009

Mob rule, not democracy in Israel

Posted by Alessandro Accorsi su 16 gennaio, 2009

The National – UAE

Democracy is never the most efficient system of government, yet it is lauded for its ability to give a voice to every citizen. But, when democracies prevent segments of society from having a voice, it becomes little better than mob rule, a tyrannical system where the strong rule the weak. The Israeli Knesset’s Central Election Committee’s decision to ban Arab parties from participating in the upcoming elections risks such a catastrophe.

However, the decision to ban these parties while the bombs are falling on Gaza is particularly distressing. The committee has alleged that the banned parties did not acknowledge the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish and democratic state. While the Israeli constitution states that the country is a Jewish state, this does not change the fact that 20 per cent of the population is Arab. While those people hold Israeli passports, they deserve a representative of their choosing. The decision to ban the parties has only bolstered the belief among Arabs in Israel that they are outcasts in their homeland and will face deportation at some point. It has also increased the fear among the Jews that Arabs in Israel seek to undermine the state.

The more the rhetorical stances harden, the further away peace becomes. Yet the United States persists in holding up Israel’s democracy as the greatest reason for the unbreakable alliance between the two. Not only does this bolster the champions of ethnic cleansing within Israel, it also undermines the peace process as the US’s ability to play honest broker is hampered by its tacit support for racism.

In his address to the Knesset during Israel’s 60th anniversary celebrations, George Bush spoke of the shared ideologies of Israel and the US. It is worthwhile to review some of his statements in light of the ongoing tragedy in the Gaza Strip and the unfortunate rhetoric of the Knesset members behind the Arab party ban. According to Mr Bush, both Israel and the US “believe that democracy is the only way to ensure human rights”. Yet Israel merely tolerates its Arab citizens. They are second-class citizens whose participation in the country’s government is viewed as temporary. The foreign minister, Tzipi Livni, has claimed that a future Palestinian state should be the eventual homeland of the so-called “Israeli Arabs”.

According to Mr Bush, Israel and the US “believe that targeting innocent lives to achieve political objectives is always and everywhere wrong”. Despite this the US has failed to condemn the hundreds of innocent Palestinians killed by the Israeli military in Gaza. The frequently invoked notion of Israel’s right to defend itself is laughable when only 13 Israelis have died since the start of the invasion, yet over 1,000 Palestinians have been killed.

And according to Mr Bush, Israel and the US “believe in the matchless value of every man, woman, and child. So we insist that the people of Israel have the right to a decent, normal, and peaceful life.” All the citizens of Israel, be they Jewish, Arab, or otherwise deserve this right. But that day will never come while Palestinians are denied their right to a homeland, and so long as Israel remains the misshapen example of democracy that it is.




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