The Foundation for Constitutional Democracy

30-Jan-2008

Needed: Jewish Statesmanship

Filed under: JudaismA SOVEREIGN STATEHOODNew Jewish Congress — eidelberg @ 12:21 am Edit This

Edited transcript of the Eidelberg Report, Israel National Radio, January 28, 2008.

Let us first define statesmanship. Statesmanship is the application of philosophy to action. Jewish statesmanship is simply the application of Jewish philosophy to action. Jewish philosophy is grounded in the rationality and ethics of Jewish law.

Second, let us define the Jewish statesman. The Jewish statesman is first and foremost an educator whose power is less political than intellectual and moral. The Jewish statesman must therefore be well educated in the heritage and history of the Jewish People. This is a formidable task, since the knowledge Jews have accumulated during the past four millennia is vast and unsurpassed.

Jews have excelled in virtually every discipline, especially in the domain of law. Consider Jewish law (Halakha) only so far as concerns the relations between man and man (in contradistinction to the relation between man and God). That we should discuss Jewish law is appropriate if only because Jewish law is the one thing that has preserved the Jewish people and their national identity. (more…)

29-Jan-2008

Electoral Rules Matter: Part II

Filed under: Constitution & RightsDemocratic MethodsRepresentation — eidelberg @ 6:41 am Edit This

Part I cited the renowned expert on electoral rules professor Rein Taagepera. Perhaps his most telling point is this: “As the number of actors increases, the number of possible disputes increases roughly as the square of the number of actors.” This obviously applies to Israel, whose government typically consists of roughly 20 cabinet ministers representing rival political parties. No wonder the average duration of Israeli governments since 1948 is less than two years! This short tenure renders it virtually impossible for the government to pursue coherent, consistent, and long-term national policies.

Here I am reminded of the warnings and wisdom of James Madison in Federalist Paper No. 62, where he defends the six-year tenure of the Senate, a defense that applies to Israel’s Knesset as well as to its Government despite their prescribed (but unrealized) tenure of four years: (more…)

28-Jan-2008

US Lecture Tour—March 2008

Filed under: The FoundationLetters — eidelberg @ 7:21 am Edit This

Dear Friends:

I am going on a one-month cross-country lecture of the United States during March. Some venues have been settled, some are tentative. My primary topic is “What Can You Do to Save Israel?” Apart from travel expenses, I am not requesting any honorarium for any talk that I may give during this tour. (more…)

Electoral Rules Matter: Part I

Filed under: Constitution & RightsDemocratic MethodsRepresentation — eidelberg @ 7:04 am Edit This

Professor of social sciences Rein Taagepera and political scientist Matthew Soberg Shugart are renowned experts on electoral systems. Israeli politicians should study their book Seats and Votes.

Taagepera and Shugart use mathematical models in studying scores of electoral rules. Their research is especially relevant to Israel, not only because the government is working on a constitution, but also because it is considering a proposal to make the leader of the party that wins the largest number of seats in a Knesset election Israel’s prime minister.

That Kadima won 29 seats (the most of any party) in the 2006 election would have been sufficient to make Ehud Olmert prime minister without his having been designated by the president to form a government and have it approved by the Knesset. (more…)

25-Jan-2008

Bush Said, “End the Occupation,” and Olmert Was Silent

Filed under: Democratic MethodsJudaismIsrael’s Sovereignty — eidelberg @ 6:24 am Edit This

Edited transcript of the Eidelberg Report, Israel National Radio, January 21, 2008.

In his visit to Israel, President Bush had the audacity to say, “end the occupation.” He had in mind Judea and Samaria including the Old City of Jerusalem. Unsurprisingly, Prime Minister Olmert, like other Israelis who are “tired of being courageous,” was silent.

Of course, Israel requires more than courage. Leaving aside the self-serving motives of Israel’s secular elites, they are abysmally ignorant. They have no understanding of the grandeur of the Jewish heritage, hence of what should be the character of the so-called Jewish state. They know not how to deal with the Arab Palestinian problem. Many would sacrifice much of the Land of Israel in the belief that this would solve that lethal problem. Mr. Bush is also drowning in ignorance, to say nothing of Saudi oil.

Except for the benighted, including journalists or academics, it should be obvious that neither democratic politics nor political science can deal adequately with these issues. The time has come for an unconventional approach. Let’s begin with a Torah perspective. (more…)

American coup d’etat

Filed under: Democratic MethodsUS & Global Policy — eidelberg @ 5:34 am Edit This

Can you imagine Israeli military thinkers discussing the unthinkable—an Israeli coup d’etat?

Ponder over this question.


Courtesy of Harper’s Magazine.

American coup d’etat: Military thinkers discuss the unthinkable

April 2006

Eternal vigilance being the price of liberty, Americans—who spent decades war-gaming a Soviet invasion and have taken more recently to daydreaming about “ticking bomb” scenarios—should cast at least an occasional thought toward the only truly existential threat that American democracy might face today. We now live in a unipolar world, after all, in which conquest of the United States by an outside power is nearly inconceivable. Even the best-equipped terrorists, for their part, could dispatch at most a city or two; and armed revolution is a futile prospect, so fearsomely is our homeland secured by police and military forces. To subdue America entirely, the only route remaining would be to seize the machinery of state itself, to steer it toward malign ends—to carry out, that is, a coup d’état.

Given that the linchpin of any coup d’état is the participation, or at least the support, of a nation’s military officers, Harper’s Magazine assembled a panel of experts to discuss the state of our own military—its culture, its relationship with the wider society, and the steadfastness of its loyalty to the ideals of democracy and to the United States Constitution. (more…)

Judge Aharon Barak on Judaism and Democracy

Filed under: GeneralDemocratic MethodsJudaism — eidelberg @ 5:26 am Edit This

In a speech at Haifa University, former Supreme Court Justice Aharon Barak declared: “It may already be said that the term ‘Jewish and democratic’ is not a contradiction, but rather a completion.” Judge Barak obviously has a permissive view of Judaism as well as of democracy. On the other hand, perhaps he was just being “politically correct.” Let’s examine the issue candidly.

The Torah divides the Jewish people into Kohanes, Levites and Israelites. To these divisions it applies, in various instances, non-egalitarian laws. For example, if the wife of a Kohane is raped, he must divorce her. This is not so for the spouse of a Levite or an Israelite.

In procuring their release from captivity, “A Kohane takes precedence over a Levite, a Levite over an Israelite, and an Israelite over a bastard … This applies when they are all [otherwise] equal; but if the bastard is learned in the Torah and the Kohane is ignorant of the Torah, the learned bastard takes precedence over the ignorant Kohane” (Mishnah, Horayot 3:8). (more…)

22-Jan-2008

אולמרט לא מגן על אזרחים, אלא מפקירם לידי האוייבים

Filed under: Intifada & TerrorismCURRENT ISSUESעברית — eidelberg @ 5:48 am Edit This

כד’ בטבת תשס"ח \ 2 לינואר 2008

שלום רב!

1.   ממשלתו של אהוד אולמרט בוגדת באזרחיה, ואני טוען זאת לא ע"ס דעות, כוונות ופרשנות של חברי הממשלה, אלא רק ע"ס מעשיה ומחדליה—הנעשים בריש גלי; ולכן היא אינה חוקית, החלטותיה אינן מחייבות וזכותו של כל אזרח שלא לציית להן.

כדי שלא ייחסו לקביעתי הנ"ל תגים פוליטיים (כגון—ימני, קיצוני, אינטרסנט), אבסס דעתי רק על עובדות ועל ניתוח משפטי גרידא. (more…)

21-Jan-2008

A Pipe Dream

Filed under: Democratic MethodsOslo/Peace ProcessThe Israel Defense Force — eidelberg @ 6:17 am Edit This

The question arises: When will the big brass in the Israel Defense Forces overcome the lie about Israeli democracy and “dismiss” prime minister Ehud Olmert? How can the general staff stomach a prime minister who has ordered Israeli soldiers not to destroy the enemy, the Palestinian Authority, but to fight for that terrorist organization?

Doesn’t any general understand that the government, though democratically elected, has forfeited its legitimacy by the simple fact it has failed to fulfill the first and foremost object of government, namely, to protect the lives of its citizens?

Is the general staff mentally retarded? (more…)

17-Jan-2008

Obama, the Muslim Thing, And Why It Matters

Filed under: Islam & ArabPoliticiansUS & Global Policy — eidelberg @ 7:30 am Edit This

Courtesy of Arutz Sheva IsraelNationalNews.com

by Pamela Geller

The thing is, you can’t be a leader and not know what Islam means. The average Joe pumping gas on Route 66—okay, not on top of the issue. But there is no way you can be running for President and not know the hell being wreaked on the free and not-so-free world by Islamic jihad.

That said, Barack Obama went to a madrassa in Jakarta. A madrassa in a Muslim country. Whether he was devout or secular, he knows what was taught. He knows what is in the Koran. Even if he is ambiguous, he knows the stakes involved. His father was a Muslim who took three wives (without divorcing). His stepfather and close members of his family are devout Muslims. Not an unimportant influence.

Every Muslim who left Islam is very definitive about leaving and why. They are quite vocal—Wafa Sultan, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Walid Shoebat, Elijah Abraham, etc. If he left Islam, Obama must have very definite thoughts about it. (more…)

15-Jan-2008

The Jerusalem Embassy Act

Filed under: US & Global Policy — eidelberg @ 10:39 pm Edit This

January 10, 2008

The Foundation for Constitutional Democracy urges public-spirited Americans to initiate a law suit against President George W. Bush in a federal district court for violating The Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995, which says in part:

  • Jerusalem should remain an undivided city in which the rights of every ethnic and religious group are protected;

  • Jerusalem should be recognized as the capital of the State of Israel.

The full text of the legislation follows: (more…)

Bush in Jerusalem: An Intellectual and Moral Travesty

Filed under: Foreign PolicyOslo/Peace ProcessCURRENT ISSUES — eidelberg @ 8:46 am Edit This

The government of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has assigned some 10,000 police and security personnel to protect President George W. Bush, who has come to Israel to promote peace between Jews and Arab Palestinians. What an absurdity!

The Olmert government has ordered Israeli security forces to close all entries from Judea, Samaria, and Gaza to prevent Palestinian terrorists in these areas from killing the American President, who is committed to establishing in these same areas a Palestinian state. Can anything be more absurd?

Apart from those living in the world of make-believe, no one really expects genuine peace between Jews and Arabs in the Middle East. Even Middle East expert Dr. Daniel Pipes, who supported the Israel-Egypt peace treaty of March 1979, has admitted the treaty has been a failure. Let me review his November 21, 2006 article “Time to Recognize Failure of Israel-Egypt Treaty.”

To begin with: “Ninety-two percent of respondents in a recent poll of one thousand Egyptians over 18 years of age called Israel an enemy state. (more…)

Capital Punishment

Filed under: EthicsIntifada & Terrorism — eidelberg @ 7:40 am Edit This

With the 2008 U.S. presidential campaign in full swing, the issue of capital punishment has again surfaced in America. Again we hear social scientists echoing Amnesty International’s contention that capital punishment “has never been shown to deter crime more effectively than other punishments.”

Whether the death penalty will deter would-be murderers depends on three factors:

(1) The potential murderer must know in advance that, if he commits murder, there is a very high probability of his being apprehended, and soon after the perpetration of his crime.

(2) He must know in advance that, having been caught, he will receive a speedy trial at which he is almost certain to be convicted. (more…)

How Israel Became Dysfunctional

Filed under: Democratic MethodsElectorate/DemographicsPoliticiansRepresentation — eidelberg @ 12:20 am Edit This

Edited transcript of the Eidelberg Report, Israel National Radio, January 7, 2008.

Having learned of my critique of Israel’s political system, people have asked me how did this dysfunctional system originate? To answer, I will cite a publication of the Beth Hillel Society for Social Research in Israel supplemented by passages from David Ben-Gurion’s Memoirs.

In June 1953, the Hillel Society published a pamphlet “Electoral Reform in Israel.” The pamphlet was based on discussions the Society held in October 1952. The pamphlet outlines the emergence of Israel’s parliamentary system.

Thus, on May 14, 1948, 37 Jews met in Tel-Aviv and published a Declaration of Independence, which proclaimed the creation of the State of Israel. These 37 Jews constituted the Jewish People’s Council, which had been set up in two months earlier. The Council was composed firstly, of all political parties in the country, and secondly, of the Executive of the Jewish Agency according to the election returns of the twenty-second Zionist Congress, which had convened in Basel, Switzerland in 1946. This 37-man body declared itself, on May 14, 1948, the Provisional State Council of Israel. (more…)

14-Jan-2008

Olmert Abandons Israel’s Citizens—A Letter

Filed under: Constitution & RightsDomestic PolicyIntifada & TerrorismLetters — eidelberg @ 8:29 am Edit This

Anyone still believe that Israel is a democracy?

But do you see how the myth of Israeli democracy colors Israel’s ruling elites with legitimacy? -P.E.


Contributed by Dov Even-Or

January 6, 2008

Olmert Does Not Protect the Citizens, But Abandons Them to the Mercy of Their Enemies

  1. The government of Ehud Olmert betrays its citizens. My claim is not based on opinions, intentions or analyses made by members of the government, but on its acts and deeds that are committed publicly; therefore this government is illegal, its decisions do not bind, and it is the right of every citizen not to obey them.

    In order to avoid being labeled (right wing, extremist or as representative of certain interests), I will base my opinion only on facts and pure legal analysis.

  2. Lack of protection for the citizens of the Western Negev.

    1. For the past seven years, this area has been targeted by Kassam rockets and fortunately, the number of casualties has been low; (more…)

11-Jan-2008

On Nazism and the Left in Israel

Filed under: Ethics — eidelberg @ 7:19 am Edit This

Rabbi Shalom Dov Wolpe denounced Israel’s political elites for collaborating with Israel’s sworn enemies, the Palestinians. He excoriated “The terrible traitor [Prime Minister] Ehud Olmert, who gives these Nazis weapons, who gives money, who frees their murderous terrorists, this man, like Ariel Sharon, collaborates with the Nazis …” (The Jerusalem Post, January 3).

Rabbi Wolpe has been roundly condemned by politicians and other rabbis for his denunciation of of Israel’s ruling elites, especially for his saying they should be hung for collaborating with the Palestinians. Of course, he was not calling for vigilante violence. As any fair-minded person would see, he had in mind punishment meted out to criminals in a court of law.

The outcry against Rabbi Wolpe is another manifestation of the double standards operative in Israel: (more…)

08-Jan-2008

In Defense of Rabbi Wolpe

Filed under: EthicsPoliticiansCURRENT ISSUES — eidelberg @ 7:44 am Edit This

On January 2, 2008, Rabbi Shalom Dov Wolpe told a conference of rabbis in Tel-Aviv that “Government leaders should be hanged for negotiating with the Palestinians” (The Jerusalem Post, January 3).

The conference was attended by rabbis who oppose transferring parts of the Judea and Samaria or Jerusalem to the Palestinian Authority.

Rabbi Wolpe denounced “The terrible traitor [Prime Minister] Ehud Olmert, who gives these Nazis weapons, who gives money, who frees their murderous terrorists, this man, like Ariel Sharon, collaborates with the Nazis …” (ibid.)

Of course, Wolpe’s denunciation of Olmert and Sharon also applies to Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Peres, Benjamin Netanyahu, and Ehud Barak, as well as many other Israeli politicians that have collaborated with the PLO-Palestinian Authority. (more…)

To Restore Jerusalem as the City of Truth

Filed under: Democratic MethodsEthicsJudaismA SOVEREIGN STATEHOOD — eidelberg @ 7:33 am Edit This

To restore Jerusalem as the City of Truth, it will be necessary to eradicate four pernicious and all-pervasive lies. First, that Israel is a Democratic State. Second, that Israel is a Jewish State. Third, that Judaism is consistent with Democracy. The fourth lie? The “Peace Process.” Eradication of these lies will inaugurate authentic Jewish Leadership in Israel and the establishment of a Jewish Constitution. Only then will it be possible to restore Jerusalem as the City of Truth.

Is Israel a Democratic State?

Virtually everyone persists in calling Israel a “democracy,” including critics of the peace process. Apart from such criticism, the critics do little more than lament this or that government’s “betrayal of democracy.” Heaven forbid they should candidly state that Israel is not and never has been a democracy.

 

· Whoever heard of a democracy that not only lacks a Constitution (like England) but whose legislators (unlike England’s) represent political parties rather than constituents or citizens? (more…)

07-Jan-2008

Cops and Coddlers Revisited

Filed under: Party StructuresPoliticiansYamin Israel Party — eidelberg @ 7:53 am Edit This

Yamin Israel is often asked why it does not form an alliance with nationalist elements of the Likud. After all, doesn’t the Likud represent “the trunk of the nation,” as one prominent Likud member has emphasized?” Hasn’t Yamin Israel always sought to form a united front of nationalist groups? Aren’t Likud hawks like Moshe Arens tried-and-true nationalists?

These questions reminded me of an article I wrote in 1989, “Cops and Coddler.” It was during the first Intifada, and in power was a Shamir-led national unity government. A slightly shortened version of the article follows:

On 6 February 1989, Prime Minister Shamir declared, “The time has come for the world to finally understand that Eretz Yisrael can only belong to the State of Israel. Anything else is inconceivable.”

Four day later, Shamir’s statement was contradicted by his Foreign Minister, Moshe Arens: (more…)

Demophrenia: A Psychological Analysis of Israel’s Malaise

Filed under: Democratic MethodsEthicsBELIEFS & PERSPECTIVES — eidelberg @ 12:45 am Edit This

From its inception in 1948, the government of Israel, regardless of which party or coalition was at the helm, has been afflicted by a mental disorder I call “demophrenia.”

Demophrenia is a deeply rooted malady of national and even of world-historical significance. It involves a compulsive application of democratic principles to moral problems and ideological conflicts which are impervious to, and even intensified by, those principles—especially the principle of equality.

Demophrenia is most advanced in Israel because its government—despite its oligarchic structure—is animated by a democratic mentality in conflict with the moral and territorial imperatives of Zionism, and also ineffectual against the anti-democratic mentality of Israel’s Arab inhabitants and neighbors.

The pathological nature of demophrenia will be better understood by reviewing certain characteristics of schizophrenia. (more…)

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