The Foundation for Constitutional Democracy

30-Nov-2009

Feiglin’s Superficiality

Filed under: PoliticiansThe Israel Defense ForceMilitary Strategy — eidelberg @ 9:55 pm Edit This

My apology to Moshe Feiglin for the personalized title of my remarks on his article on insubordination. But I do urge readers to examine carefully the reasoned argument about the existential dilemma confronting our beloved Israel. -Eidelberg

Moshe Feiglin’s contention that “Only IDF insubordination can save Israel” is simplistic, to put it kindly.

In addition to underestimating the number of robotic soldiers in the IDF, Feiglin ignores (1) the political ambitions and/or moral cowardice of Israel’s highest ranking defense officials; (2) the self-interest of Israel’s “rightwing” political leaders, who obviously want to preserve their status and power; and (3) the self-serving political ambitions of Israel’s leftwing leaders (such as Barak and Livni).

Bear in mind (a) the brutality of the Government at Amona; (b) the failure of Ya’alon and Dichter to resign despite their dire warnings about disengagement from Gaza; (c) the fact that only one Likud MK had the courage to vote for MK Michael Kleiner’s resolution to abrogate Oslo, despite incessant PLO violations that resulted in hundreds of Jewish casualties—to mention only a few unflattering aspects of Israeli governments. (more…)

Israel’s Existential Dilemma

Filed under: Party StructuresIsrael’s Sovereignty — eidelberg @ 7:55 am Edit This

Edited transcript of the Eidelberg Report, Israel National Radio, November 30, 2009. With a note of thanks to Eleonora Shifrin, Executive Director of the Foundation for Constitutional Democracy, for prompting me to analyze the dilemma discussed in this report.

Part I

Israel has been suffering from a democratic form of statism—fascism with a human face. Let me explain via the great philosopher-mathematician Alfred North Whitehead, who said “The Jews are the first people that refused to worship the State.” This suggests that the Jews are the first people to recognize a “Higher Law,” one that transcends the laws of the State. Israel today has abandoned this tradition.

The idea of a law that transcends the acts of parliaments and kings inspired America’s Founding Fathers: it justified their revolution against Britain in 1776. Christian America is therefore spiritually indebted to the Jewish people—to say nothing of Jews like Haim Solomon who helped finance that revolution. Let’s be more specific. (more…)

23-Aug-2009

A Message of Public Interest

Filed under: Democratic MethodsLetters — eidelberg @ 11:13 pm Edit This

To all the academics, journalists, and other opinion-makers in Israel who say that Israel is a democracy, please enlighten the undersigned by identifying the source from which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu derived the authority to endorse the establishment of any Arab-Islamic state in Judea and Samaria, hence the right to expel, by logical and political necessity, hundreds of thousands of Jews from their homes in this heartland of the Jewish people.

On the other hand, if it be said that Israel’s parliament has the authority to enact laws resulting in the expulsion of those Jews, please explain to the undersigned how such laws would not be manifestations of majority tyranny.

Finally, if the Knesset may enact such laws, please explain to the undersigned why academics, journalists, and other opinion-makers boast of Israeli democracy.

Prof. Paul Eidelberg, President
Foundation for Constitutional Democracy

Uncomfortable Issues

Filed under: Democratic MethodsKnesset/LegislativePoliticians — eidelberg @ 5:16 am Edit This

Israel’s ruling elites—politicians and judges, academics and journalists—say that Israel is a democracy, and most people believe them. Let’s examine this issue.

A basic principle of democracy is government by the consent of the governed. The meaning of the term “consent” becomes evident when we speak of individuals reaching the “age of consent.” At that time, individuals are deemed responsible for their behavior. They can sign contracts and participate in voting.

The term “consent” thus involves volition qualified by reason. Government by the consent of governed thus requires well-informed citizens. Being will informed necessitates knowledge of the true nature of Israeli government. Unfortunately, most Israelis, including many of the educated, are sadly lacking in such knowledge.

For example, Benjamin Netanyahu was asked by a representative of the media whether he favors a presidential system of government. He replied that such a system would give the president unlimited power! (more…)

27-Jul-2009

What is a Jew and What is a Jewish State?

Filed under: Democratic MethodsJudaism — eidelberg @ 6:53 am Edit This

Edited transcript of the Eidelberg Report. Israel National Radio, July 27, 2009.

In a recent article, I referred to Raphael Patai’s The Jewish Mind. Such has been the assimilation of so many Jews since the Enlightenment, so varied are the attachments of most Jews to Judaism, that Patai concludes that “a Jew is a person who considers himself a Jew and is so considered by others.”

In contrast to this subjective and vacuous definition of a Jew, I will argue that what is most distinctive of Jews is that which has preserved them as a people, the Torah and the Talmud.

Turning to specifics, I will mention only two unique characteristics of the Jew — and without disparaging countless Jews who do not exhibit these characteristics. The first is this: The Jew relates every question concerning thought, passion, and action to the Torah and regulates every facet of his life to the laws thereof—say the Halakha. If he is not learned in the Halakha, he consults his rabbi and defers to his judgment. And every rabbi has a rabbi.

It needs to be emphasized that the Talmud, rooted in the Torah, is more than a collection of laws. (more…)

07-Jan-2009

This Land is Ours!

Edited transcript of the Eidelberg Report, January 5, 2009, Israel National Radio.

The defeat of Hamas, if realized, will not end Israel’s existential problem. If the Palestinian Authority regains control of Gaza, this will be followed by a major U.S.-led effort to establishe a Palestinian state encompassing Judea and Samaria, the heartland of the Jewish people. Not only President Bush and his successor Barak Obama, but also the Olmert-Livni-Barak government are committed to this end. As predicted in the Zohar (Exodus 7b), certain kinds of Jews are primed to betray the Land and people of Israel.

We waited nineteen centuries for this land, and this land waited for us. This land is ours, and again the nations want to rob us of this land! To rob us of this land, a fictitious people has been fabricated—an assortment of Arab clans and tribes that call themselves “Palestinians”—and so they are called by the nations. An ethnic and historical lie has become a murderous media truth.

These self-styled “Palestinians,” who have no language or culture of their own, have unwittingly named themselves after the extinct Philistines—pagans! And while they claim the Land of Israel as their own, these neo-pagans are oblivious of the fact that the name “Philistines” is derived from a Hebrew word that means and stamps them as “trespassers” or “invaders.” By their self-chosen name these Arabs give the lie to their claim to the Land of Israel!

These Arabs are further removed from peoplehood or nationhood than the Catholics of the United States. They are fragments of the Sunni Muslim majority that dominates the Middle East. They wear the veneer of monotheism that Muhammad borrowed from the Jews; but beneath the surface one sees not a love of life but a pathological love of death. That Arabs and Muslims use women and children as human shields and as human bombs means that Islam has never transcended its pagan origin. (more…)

02-Jan-2009

Metternichean Principles of Statecraft

Filed under: Foreign PolicyIsrael’s Sovereignty — eidelberg @ 7:44 am Edit This

Prince Klemens Wenzel von Metternich (1773 – 1859) was a German-Austrian politician and statesman and was one of the most important diplomats of his era. Henry Kissinger wrote his doctoral dissertation on Metternich.

As Metternich saw, to expect the leaders of a dictatorship (such as the Fatah- or Hamas-led Palestinian Authority) to be moderate is like asking them to destroy the foundation of their existence. What follows are some Metternichean principles of statecraft extracted from his writings:

(1) Any plan conceived in moderate terms must fail when the circumstances are set in the extreme. In any situation where each of the possible lines of action involves difficulty, the strongest line is the best.

(2) Compromise is the easy refuge of irresolute or unprincipled men. Of course compromise is appropriate when dealing with temporary and partial interests. But a nation’s survival is not a matter of compromise. (more…)

21-Dec-2008

How Dictatorships Stay in Power

Filed under: Democratic MethodsUS & Global Policy — eidelberg @ 7:48 am Edit This

Only From Yamin Israel.

To stay in power, dictatorships make their subjects feel dependent on their rulers. To this end they must (1) concentrate decision-making in their own hands;   (2) dominate the economy;   (3) control the mass media;   (4) breed mutual distrust among their subjects to make them incapable of joint action;   (5) break their spirit by arousing fear of war.

Contrast the preceding with the situation in Israel, reputedly a democracy.

(1)  Decision-making in Israel is concentrated ostensibly in the Cabinet but actually in the Prime Minister. The PM can take unilateral actions the Cabinet dares not veto lest new elections result and terminate the posts and powers of cabinet ministers. This is why no Labor-led, no Likud-led, and no Kadima-led government has ever been toppled by a vote of no confidence. This means that the Cabinet pretty much controls how their colleagues vote in the Knesset. Furthermore, since members of the Knesset, hence MKs appointed to the Cabinet, are not accountable to the voters in constituency elections, they can ignore public opinion with impunity.

(2)  The government owns or controls most of the nation’s assets. (more…)

17-Dec-2008

Demophrenia Updated

Filed under: Democratic MethodsMulticulturalism/Moral Relativism — eidelberg @ 12:11 am Edit This

I am in the process of publishing a second and updated version of my book Demophrenia: Israel and the Malaise of Democracy. The updated version explains the pathological policies and statements of Israel’s current elites, including Ehud Olmert. I need to assess how many of you would be interested in purchasing this book. If you are interested, please contact us.

If you want an in-depth analysis of what ails Israel’s political and intellectual and some of its military elites, consult Chapter 5 of my book Demophrenia: Israel and the Malaise of Democracy. Here is a précis of the book’s central chapter:

Demophrenia

From its inception in 1948, the government of Israel, regardless of which party or coalition was at the helm, has been afflicted by “demophrenia.” Demophrenia is a deeply rooted malady of national and even of world-historical significance. Demophrenia involves an illogical and compulsive application of the democratic principles of freedom and equality to moral problems and ideological conflicts which are impervious to, and even exacerbated by, those principles. This disorder is most advanced in Israel, for its government is animated by a democratic mentality in conflict with Zionism, and ineffectual against the anti-democratic mentality of Israel’s Arab enemies.

To show that demophrenia is indeed a widespread but hitherto unrecognized mental disorder, I shall first review some of the literature on schizophrenia. (more…)

08-Dec-2008

Thinking About “Occupied Territory”

Filed under: Democratic MethodsOslo/Peace Process — eidelberg @ 6:00 am Edit This

What territory should we be thinking about? Answer, the Land of Israel in which Jews have lived since the time of Abraham, the teacher of ethical monotheism, hence the true founder of Western civilization.

However, let us only consider the territory west of the River Jordan excluding Gaza, now controlled by the enemies of Western civilization.

What is meant by “occupied” territory? Answer, territory controlled by a foreign force.

What is meant by a “foreign force”? Answer, an illegitimate government, in this case the government of Israel.

What is an “illegitimate government”? Answer, a government committed to the surrender of Jewish land—land for which myriads of Jews have yearned for, fought for, and died for.

To whom is this land being surrendered? Answer, to the implacable enemies of the Jewish people and of Western civilization—people animated by the Ethos of Jihad articulated in the Quran and the Hadith, i.e., the oral traditions relating to the words and deeds of Muhammad. (more…)

03-Dec-2008

Rightists and Leftists, Then and Now

Filed under: Israel’s SovereigntyIsrael's Nationals — eidelberg @ 7:15 am Edit This

In 1917, the British government promulgated the Balfour Declaration, which recognized that “Palestine,” on both sides of the Jordan River, belongs exclusively to the Jewish people. The members of that government must have been far out “rightists.” Indeed, they make today’s Israeli rightists appear as “leftists,” if only because these Israelis would be satisfied if Jews controlled only the territory west of the River Jordan.

The Balfour Declaration was approved by America’s religious President Woodrow Wilson, another rightist. And if this were not enough to sanctify Jewish possession of the Land of Israel, the 52 nations comprising the League of Nations unanimously acknowledged the rightness of the Balfour Declaration. Right was right; left was wrong.

Incidentally, the Balfour Declaration makes no explicit reference to Arabs. It does affirm, however, “that nothing shall be done to prejudice the civil and religious rights existing in the non-Jewish communities in Palestine,” and therefore denies, by implication, that those non-Jewish communities have any political let alone national rights (my emphasis). The reason is simple enough. It was universally acknowledged that only the Jews had a just and legitimate claim to this land. This was the position of right honorable men.

Times have changed. Today, if a Jew affirms that only the Jews have a just claim to the land called Palestine, he is a right-winger. (more…)

26-Nov-2008

Democracy and the Secret “Rule of Law” in Israel

Filed under: Constitution & RightsDemocratic MethodsRepresentation — eidelberg @ 5:32 am Edit This

There is much misunderstanding in the Diaspora and even in Israel about Israel’s system of government—an assortment of institutions that endow a few men with concealed and despotic power.

A basic reason for this pernicious state of affairs is Israel, unlike France or the United States, has no written constitution. Instead, Israel has a crazy-quilt variety of “Basic Laws” passed at different times by different governments led by different political parties.

Israel’s first Basic Law, The Knesset, was initiated by the Knesset Law Committee in 1958, ten years after the founding of the State. Some other Basic Laws are Israel Lands (1960); The President of the State (1964); The Government (1968); The State Economy (1975); The Army (1979); Jerusalem, Capital of Israel (1980); The Judiciary (1984).

A word about Basic Law: The Government. This law stipulates, “The Government is competent to do in the name of the State, subject to any law, any act whose doing is not enjoined by law upon another authority.” The Government can therefore declare war, make treaties, and change the exchange rate without ever consulting the Knesset! (more…)

19-Nov-2008

Israel’s Disarray

Filed under: Democratic MethodsMulticulturalism/Moral Relativism — eidelberg @ 7:25 am Edit This

Israel today is in a state of political disarray. Established political parties like the National Religious Party are dissolving. Other parties like Labor have become politically comatose. The ruling Kadima Party, formed by political opportunists from other parties, has no ideology apart from multiculturalism. This essentially anti-Jewish party wants to dissolve the State of Israel into “a state of its citizens.”

So does a new left-wing coalition emerging from the ruins of Labor and Meretz. Also emerging is a hodgepodge of reputedly right-wing groups opposed to any further territorial withdrawal, but like others, it lacks a national strategy.

Meanwhile, the Likud, which spawned Kadima, has opened its doors to various national figures to secure its chances of winning the February election. Lacking, however, is confidence that the Likud, under Benjamin Netanyahu, will withstand U.S. pressure to withdraw from Judea and Samaria. After all, the Likud voted against abrogation of the Oslo Accords, and Netanyahu, in addition to surrendering part of Judea and Samaria to the Palestinian Authority at the Wye Summit, also voted for “disengagement” when he was a minister in the Sharon government. So, while he is preferable to Tzipi Livni, serious people wonder whether he has the spine or the stamina to stand up to the United States and its bipartisan support for a Palestinian state?

The preceding is a small fraction of the political chaos now reigning in Israel. (more…)

10-Nov-2008

Five Basic Arguments Against A Palestinian State

Filed under: Democratic MethodsIslam & ArabOslo/Peace Process — eidelberg @ 11:28 pm Edit This

Edited transcript of the Eidelberg Report, Israel National Radio, November 10, 2008.

Contrary to the governments of the United States and Israel, various experts in both countries reject the “two-state” solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I shall mention their views while developing five decisive arguments against a Palestinian state: Economic, Demographic, Political, Strategic, and Democratic. Let’s begin with the—

1.  Economic Arguments

a.  A RAND study indicates that a Palestinian state would not be economically viable. It would require $33 billion for the first ten years of its existence—and this study was made before the economic crisis now confronting the United States and entire world.

b.  Besides, to confine more than two million Arabs to the 2,323 square miles of the so-called West Bank, and to squeeze another million into the 141 square miles of Gaza, is to doom these Arabs to economic stagnation and discontent. The projected state would be a cauldron of envious hatred of Israel fueled by the leaders of one or another group of Arab clans or thugs parading under the banner of Allah.

c.  Moreover, to compensate perhaps 200,000 Jews expelled from the “West Bank”—or even half that number—would bankrupt Israel’s government, to say nothing of the resulting trauma and civil discord. (more…)

Treason and Multiparty Cabinet Government

Filed under: Foreign PolicyParty StructuresPoliticiansIsrael’s Sovereignty — eidelberg @ 7:41 am Edit This

The present writer is repeatedly asked to discuss the pernicious character of Israel’s system of multiparty cabinet government. Many concerned citizens appalled by a political system in which the cabinet consists of the leaders of five or six or more rival political parties.

It is obvious to my interlocutors that the leaders of such a cabinet, far from being animated by a coherent, resolute, and long-term national program, are primarily motivated by their own personal and partisan interests, which means they compete with each other for political power and a larger share of the public treasury. This self-aggrandizement fosters public cynicism, which of course undermines the people’s confidence in their government.

What is not widely known, however, is that multiparty cabinet government also conduces to treason. To illustrate, let us go back to 1988. A so-called National Unity Government was then in power. The coalition agreement specified that Likud chairman Moshe Shamir would hold the post of Prime Minister for the first two years of the Government’s tenure, that Labor chairman Shimon Peres would be PM for the second two years, and that during Shamir’s tenure, Peres would hold the post of Finance Minister.

Bearing this in mind, let us now recall certain heated altercations that took place in an August 1989 session of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. (more…)

06-Nov-2008

Biblical Freedom of Speech

Filed under: Democratic MethodsEthicsJudaism — eidelberg @ 6:55 am Edit This

Freedom of speech is a fundamental human value. This value seems to have its home in liberal democracy. In fact, liberal democracy exalts freedom of speech over all other values. Unfortunately, the exaltation of this freedom has led to its degradation. Today freedom of speech lacks rational and ethical constraints. Divorced from truth, freedom of speech has become a license to lie. To redeem and elevate freedom of speech, let us explore its pristine origin, the Bible of Israel.

Recall Abraham’s questioning the justice of G-d’s decision to destroy Sodom: “Peradventure there are fifty righteous within the city; wilt Thou indeed sweep away and not forgive the place for the fifty righteous that are therein? That be far from Thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked, that so the righteous should be as the wicked; that be far from Thee; shall not the Judge of all earth do justly?”

G-d permits Abraham to question Him. By so doing, the King of Kings affirms freedom of speech as a fundamental human right. But clearly this right, from a Judaic perspective, can only be derived from man’s creation in the image of G-d. Only because man is endowed with reason and free will does he have a right to freedom of speech. This right, however, must be understood in terms of the purpose or function of speech. (more…)

05-Nov-2008

Truth Versus Democracy

Filed under: Democratic MethodsJudaismUS & Global Policy — eidelberg @ 10:54 pm Edit This

Although democracies are hospitable to philosophy, it does not follow that democracies are truth-oriented. To the contrary, the freedom of speech and press enjoyed in democracies is actually rooted in the denial of truth. If democracies were truth-oriented they would not be tolerant of error. But as everyone knows, tolerance is a fundamental prerequisite of all democratic or pluralistic societies.

The pluralism of which democracies boast is another indication of their lack of truth-orientation. For this pluralism extends to the question of how should man live, and who does not know that democracies tolerate virtually every kind of “life-style”? Thus homosexuality has become as respectable as heterosexuality, and cheating has become a commonplace in high schools and colleges.

Democracies reduce truth to a private possession. Each individual becomes his own source of truth regarding good and bad, right and wrong, just and unjust. This is why public opinion polls have become the standard for public policy. In other words, opinion polls are required in democratic societies because in such societies each man’s opinion is deemed as valid as the next. This equality of opinion, manifested in the principle of “one adult, one vote,” is logically related to the denial of objective truth, the denial of objective standards as to how man should live or how society should be governed. (more…)

02-Nov-2008

Kingship Under A Torah Government

Filed under: JudaismA SOVEREIGN STATEHOOD — eidelberg @ 4:56 am Edit This

As Israel approaches its next prime ministerial election, it is worthwhile reflecting on the subject of Kingship under a Torah government.

“When you come to the land which the Lord your God is giving you, and shall have taken possession of it and have settled therein, you will eventually say: ‘We would appoint a king, just like the nations around us,’ … you must appoint a king from among your brethren; you may not appoint a foreigner who is not one of your brethren” (Deut. 17:14-15).

Rabbi Raphael Samson Hirsch’s commentary is most revealing:

The appointment of the Jewish king is not for conquering the land and not for safeguarding its possession, altogether not for developing forces to be used externally. It is God Who gives the land to Israel, God under Whose support and help it conquered the land, and under Whose protection it lives safely in it. This [Divine] support and assistance is assured again and again in the Torah, and was stressed by Moses again and again in his exhortations preparatory for the conquest of the land. For that, Israel required no king, for that Israel had only to be ‘Israel,’ had only to prove itself the faithful dutiful People of God’s Torah, had only to win the moral victory over itself to be certain of victory over any external force against it.

The purpose of a king of Israel, and of Israel itself, is not to seek external glory but internal perfection. (more…)

31-Oct-2008

A New American Party

Filed under: Democratic MethodsParty StructuresUS & Global Policy — eidelberg @ 6:15 am Edit This

In view of the moral and intellectual bankruptcy of America’s two major political parties, and regardless of the outcome of the November election, I urge Christian Zionists, religious Jews, and those dedicated to the Natural Rights doctrine of the Declaration of Independence and the American Constitution to form a new political party—to organize branches in every State of the Union to compete in the midterm elections of 2010.

Prof. Paul Eidelberg, President

26-Oct-2008

Thoughts Out Of Season II

Filed under: Islam & ArabIsrael’s SovereigntyUS & Global Policy — eidelberg @ 11:55 pm Edit This

What Israelis and Americans should know about the cravens and cretins who rule their countries:

  1. Your enormous military power is zero since your enemy does not believe you will use it.

  2. Your power is nothing if you do not strike fear in your enemy. It has rightly been said that ferocity is the ultimate guarantor of peace.

  3. Since this is beyond your leaders, Osama bin Laden and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad thumb their noses on the Great Satan and the Little Satan.

  4. How they will dance in joy when a fellow-Muslim enters the White House and converts it into a giant mosque!

  5. Imagine his first “state of the union message,” when he tells his “fellow Americans” the Sharia “supplement” the Constitution as the supreme law of the land. (more…)

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