Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Is Israel Abandoning Democracy?

Israel is something of a pressure cooker waiting to explode. What it values most, its identity as a Jewish state, is under an existential, demographic threat. There are but two ways to relieve the dangerous pressure, neither of them acceptable in Western society.

Israel's problem is that, when it overran territories after its creation, it absorbed a large number of Palestinians who chose to tough it out and stay in their homes rather than flee. This is what we now know as the pre-1967 war Israel. Israel's Arab population, however, is growing much faster than Israel's Jewish population and is expected to become the majority in the near future.

If Israeli Arabs become a majority at the ballot box it won't fare well for the Jewish state. Israeli Arabs haven't always been treated very well by their Jewish masters. They're unreliable, potentially the undoing of what Israel is supposed to be. If Israel is to preserve the nation as a Jewish state it either must ethnically cleanse itself of the Arab population or it must impose some form of apartheid rule, designating its Arab people as a lower order of citizen with sharply reduced political rights. Either way, Israel loses its vaunted claim as the only real democracy in the Middle East. It also stands to lose a lot of what remains of its support in the West.

Like any pressure cooker situation, changes are occurring. One of these is a spreading state repression of dissent and protest among Jewish moderates, intellectuals and peace groups. Read more here:



Another ominous development appeared in reports during the Israeli war on Gaza of fundamentalist Rabbis in the Israeli military egging their troops on to cleanse the Holy Land of these pesky Arabs.

The spread of religious fundamentalism into military forces isn't limited to Israel. Christian fundamentalists are increasingly taking the levers of power within the American armed forces. Many of them see America's military as a weapon to advance their idea of God's will. Read this chilling account from Harper's, "Jesus killed Mohammed: The crusade for a Christian military":


It wasn't until I read the Harper's story that I discovered the Christian extremists within the US military go straight up to David Petraeus himself. I can't see how any good can possibly come of this.


foottothefire said...

Is? Israel is a fascist state practising all the past evils foisted upon Jews. Democracy is a sham there.

Doz said...

Racist nationalism and aggressive militarism rather than democracy are the defining characteristics of Israeli society. Jewish democracy has much in common with the white democracy of the pre civil rights era in the American South. The system is designed to ensure that not only are Palestinian Israelis badly under represented in the Knesset, but that no Jewish politician ever has to campaign for Palestinian votes. The political system is reinforced by a system of "Jim Crow" laws that confirm the second class status of non Jews in Israel.
As for the fundamentalist Christian supporters of Israel, the bulk of them seem to be American southerners, for whom the Palestinians and indeed all Arabs and Muslims are "sand niggers" and "dune coons" - terms used freely in the political newsgroups - whose very humanity is questionable.