The Foundation for Constitutional Democracy


For the Record: A Revolutionary Proposal

Filed under: Democratic MethodsRepresentation — eidelberg @ 2:51 am

Tomorrow I leave on a three-week lecture tour of the United States. My primary topic will be “What Can You Do To Save Israel?” Before I leave, let me set the record straight and propose a very modest political revolution.

Back in January 1988, one month after the Shamir government failed to quell the first intifada, I wrote an article in The Jewish Press calling for the establishment of a “government in exile.” As a political scientist who has seriously studied Machiavelli, I harbored not the slightest thought or hope that any prominent person would adopt this far-fetched proposal.

After all, the great Aristotle taught politics is the art of the possible. An impossible proposal is not a political proposal; it nothing more than propaganda, at best having some pedagogical value or intention. I understood quite well that no one would act on my proposal, but that it was worthwhile floating the idea that Israel’s existing government, having failed to secure the lives of its citizens, forfeited its legitimacy and was no longer worthy of public support or loyalty.

Having studied public opinion however, this political scientist knew that very few people would draw that politically disturbing conclusion, let alone act on it, especially in view of the fact that that Israel’s reputation as a democracy dulls the wits of its citizens—learned and unlearned, military and civilian. Addicted to peace and commodious living, democracy dulls the martial virtues and as well as the sense of national honor. Political scientist in Israel avoid such politically incorrect truths

So, when I proposed a government in exile, my intention was to shame the government in the eyes of the public. I wanted to convey to our people that Israel was in a desperate situation, and that if drastic remedial action were not take soon, Israel would eventually later cease to exist.

What followed, however—or what continued to distract the public was the flood of futile articles, which—even if some were perceptive—accomplished and could accomplish nothing. Internet, the democratic media par excellence, is utterly afflicted by Greshem’s law: The bad drives out the good.

Internet may well be the most anti-revolutionary medium ever invented by man, for it allows every Tom, Dick, and Harry to afflict the pubic with his or her futile and frivolous opinions. To be fair, however, Internet also allows intelligent and civic-minded people to circumvent the left-wing dominated media and get their views circulated at home and abroad.

In any event, polls indicate that as much as 90% of the people know that Israel’s government is corrupt and spineless. We don’t need journalists to tell us this day, after day, after day. We knew this long before Sderot, which only brought this deadly as well as ignominious state of affairs closer to home. We know that one prime minister after another has betrayed us, that one is worse than another. Repeated analysis only perpetuates paralysis. The pundits are anesthetizing the public. Is it any wonder we have witnessed the death of outrage?

So what is to be done? If I call for a revolution, I will be asked how can this be initiated? Well, let me offer one suggestion—which of course will not be adopted by any non-parliamentary group or Zionist organization preoccupied by its own interests or limited by its own political myopia.

I propose that each and every non-parliamentary nationalist and religious groups loudly and incessantly call for one thing: The very thing the world renowned professor Bernard Lewis urged at last month’s Jerusalem Summit: Demand that members of the Knesset be individually elected by and accountable to the voters in constituency elections!

Just this one thing—and the revolution will have started!

And suppose the above mentioned non-parliamentary groups and Zionist organizations do not respond to this call—this one thing necessary? What next? Well, for the sake of Israel:

Just stop supporting them!

They’ll get the message!