The Foundation for Constitutional Democracy

17-Aug-2009

The American & Anti-American Revolution

Edited transcript of the Eidelberg Report, Israel National Radio, August 17, 2009.

The monumental significance of the American Revolution is articulated in the Declaration of Independence. The Declaration teaches that to merit obedience, the laws enacted by any State must be consistent with the “laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.” This “Higher Law” doctrine provides grounds not only for civil disobedience, but even for violent revolution if the acts of the State evince a design toward tyranny. Not the State but God is the ultimate source of authority.

Such is the profundity of the Declaration that it was incorporated in most of the thirteen original state constitutions. Abraham Lincoln regarded the Declaration as the credo of the American people and the political philosophy of the American Constitution. Thus understood, the Constitution is based on certain immutable ethical and political principles. Most fundamental is the primacy of the individual, from which follows the principle of limited government. Limited government requires separation of legislative, executive, and judicial branches. This produces institutional checks and balances to prevent majority as well as minority tyranny. The Constitution thus prescribes institutional means to safeguard the individual’s rights to Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.

It may shock you to learn—but some scholars believe I am the first political scientist to reveal—that the seed of the anti-American revolution was planted by Woodrow Wilson. Influenced by German historical relativism, Wilson rejected the natural rights doctrine of the Declaration of Independence. Instead of immutable “laws of nature” he posited evolutionary laws of history. He originated the idea that the Constitution must evolve with the changing circumstances of society. The Supreme Court must therefore interpret the Constitution not according to the intentions of its Framers, but according to the progressive opinions of the day—the opinions of the “enlightened” members of society ensconced in academia. (more…)

11-Sep-2008

Why Diogenes Can’t Find an Honest Man in the Knesset

Filed under: Democratic MethodsElectorate/Demographics — eidelberg @ 6:26 am Edit This

“Diogenes in Israel” is the title of a report I made on Israel National Radio on September 8, 2008. In that report I set forth compelling evidence confirming the public’s assessment that 95 percent, hence 104 of the Knesset’s 120 members, are not honest. In fact, the evidence indicates that the public was being generous in its judgment!

If we consider the various parties which propped up the Sharon government and which are therefore complicit in the crime of disengagement, there is hardly a single honest MK, even if he or she subsequently voted against disengagement. (See “Diogenes in Israel” for further clarification.)

The day after “Diogenes in Israel” first appeared, The Jerusalem Post published an article entitled “Who’s in charge here?” (September 9, 2008.) The author is professor of law Amnon Rubenstein, a former minister of education. He asks:

Who are Israel’s leading personalities? The Marker, an economic supplement of Haaretz last Tuesday selected the 10 most influential. The list begins with the all-powerful attorney-general, continues with a number of officials—the state comptroller, the state attorney, two senior police officers, the president of the supreme court, the governor of the Bank of Israel—and ends with a number of bankers and tycoons. It can be summarized as a who’s who of “wealth and law-enforcement,” as distinct from the much-touted “wealth and government.” (more…)

10-Jul-2008

Why People Think Israel is a Democracy

Filed under: Democratic MethodsElectorate/Demographics — eidelberg @ 4:56 am Edit This

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

For most people, the mere fact that Israel has periodic, multiparty elections convinces them that Israel is a democracy. This is naive. Democratic elections do not necessarily render the government of a country accountable to the governed, and without accountability, there is no genuine democracy. Nevertheless, although accountability is lacking in Israeli government, Israeli society is pretty democratic.

A better guide to understanding “democracy in Israel” is Alexis de Tocqueville’s classic, Democracy in America. For Tocqueville, the decisive principle of America is not democratic elections or even the structure of government, but equality of conditions. Equality of conditions means that no citizen is bound by law to the station of his birth. Equality of conditions enables any citizen to rise on the socio-economic ladder. A person of humble origin may become a country’s leader. Hence, nepotism aside, there are no hereditary privileges or privileged class.

However, while a country may be democratic from a sociological perspective, it may be very undemocratic from a political perspective, as I have already indicated. (more…)

05-Mar-2008

Electoral Reform—A Public Query

Filed under: Democratic MethodsElectorate/DemographicsRepresentation — eidelberg @ 5:16 am Edit This

During last month’s Jerusalem Summit, the world renowned Professor Bernard Lewis said, in effect, that democracy in Israel is endangered by the fact that members of the Knesset are not individually accountable to the voters in constituency elections.

Another distinguished professor, who once served as a science adviser to the government, has gone even further. He concluded that “electoral reform in Israel is a necessary precondition for changing the disastrous course of this country.”

The reform in question means nothing less than empowering the people. (more…)

15-Jan-2008

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…)

13-Dec-2007

To Set the Record Straight

Filed under: Democratic MethodsDomestic PolicyElectorate/Demographics — eidelberg @ 7:14 am Edit This

The present writer is often accused of proposing institutional reform as a panacea. Never mind my books Demophrenia, Beyond the Secular Mind, and Judaic Man, which transcend institutions by discussing the unJewish mentality of Israel intellectual and political elites. To set the record straight, here is an article of mine published on June 6, 1990 under the title “In the Name of Democracy.”

President [Chaim] Herzog, like many others, calls for fundamental reform of Israel’s political institutions. But hardly anyone calls for fundamental reform of men’s character, that is, the character of those elected to public office. The reason is fairly obvious: It’s easier to change institutions than to change men. But anyone who believes that Israel’s present plight will be overcome by electoral reform is suffering from either mental fatigue or fatuity.

Institutions ultimately depend on the moral and intellectual qualities of those who run them. To be sure, well-designed institutions can sometimes compensate for defects in the character of men. (more…)

06-Dec-2007

Vital Questions for MK Aryeh Eldad

Filed under: Electorate/DemographicsPoliticiansRepresentation — eidelberg @ 8:00 am Edit This

In word and in deed, MK Aryeh Eldad [National Union/NRP] has been perhaps the most outspoken and courageous opponent of Israel’s withdrawal from Judea, Samaria, and Gaza. Many people look to him as a possible leader of the “nationalist camp.”

I place the words “nationalist camp” between inverted commas because there is no such creature. It’s merely an aggregation of individuals and groups which, year after year, have monotonously opposed the policy of “territory for peace.” Alas, these right-minded people not only lack a coherent, comprehensive, and realistic program to save Israel from the deadly consequence of the “peace process.” They also seem to be unaware that a nationalist camp cannot be truly nationalist unless the nation—the Jewish People—is properly represented in the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial institutions of government. The State of Israel has never had such institutions. Here I am merely paraphrasing what David Ben-Gurion wrote in his Memoirs. (more…)

20-Aug-2007

Prof. Eidelberg on Middle East Radio Forum

Filed under: Democratic MethodsElectorate/DemographicsRepresentationThe Media — eidelberg @ 5:24 am Edit This

Courtesy of  Free Republic.

Posted 15 August, 2007 by Mike Baker.

Through a chain of events and people I have met online, I became aware of the Middle East Radio Forum (MERF), hosted by Attorney William J. Wolf, based in Phoenix. I have listened from time to time, as most of the time we are out and about Sunday at noon.

Friend Dr. Steve Carol, retired historian, sent out an email imploring his email list to listen this past Sunday, August 12. I was home, so I did. I am very glad I did.

The guest was Professor Paul Eidelberg with the The Foundation for Constitutional Democracy, interviewed from Israel. The topic was “The lack of leadership in Israel and is a two-state solution possible?” (more…)

18-Jun-2007

On Revolution

Filed under: Democratic MethodsElectorate/DemographicsOslo/Peace Process — eidelberg @ 7:08 am Edit This

[December 10, 1994—updated June 16, 2007]

A respected political scientist has said that a revolution would have erupted in any Third World country had its people suffered what the people of Israel have suffered under the Rabin (now read the Sharon or Olmert) government: deceit, betrayal, Jewish bloodshed, humiliation:

  • Releasing and arming thousands of Arab terrorists

  • Exercising self-restraint while Arab terrorists murdered 1,500 Jews

  • Expelling 10,000 Jews from their homes in Gaza and northern Samaria

  • (more…)

02-Apr-2007

What Voting Meant to James Wilson: And Why Voting in Israel Yields Corrupt Government

James Wilson of Pennsylvania was one of six men who signed both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States. His contribution to the deliberations of the Federal Constitutional Convention of 1787 was second only to that of James Madison. He was also the principal draftsman of Pennsylvania’s own constitution of 1790.

Mr. Wilson was one of the original Justices of the Supreme Court as well as one of the first professors of law. He was widely regarded as the profoundest legal scholar of his generation. (more…)

29-Mar-2007

Voting in Israel: A Humiliating Travesty of Democracy

Filed under: Democratic MethodsElectorate/DemographicsRepresentation — eidelberg @ 4:31 am Edit This

How do citizens of Israel elect the 120 members of the Knesset—their parliament? Before answering this question, certain facts need to be recalled.

First, Israel makes the entire country a single electoral district where parties with fixed slates of candidates vie for seats on the basis of proportional representation.

Second, given an electoral threshold of only 2% (of the total votes cast), a welter of parties compete in an election. (more…)

02-Feb-2007

Beyond the Politics of Stagnation

Edited transcript of the Eidelberg Report, Israel National Radio, January 29, 2007.

A. Introduction

  1. Unless Prime Minister Olmert is indicted for alleged crimes, he’s going to hold on to his job as if it were a life raft. Nevertheless, suppose the government falls in a few months. What then?

  2. Many feel that the only eligible prime minister is Benjamin Netanyahu. Netanyahu is certainly preferable to Olmert. He’s articulate, well-informed, and appears like a statesman. But remember these facts: (more…)

04-Jan-2007

The State Versus the Torah

Filed under: Domestic PolicyElectorate/DemographicsJudaism — eidelberg @ 11:34 pm Edit This

There is a fundamental conflict between the sovereign state and the Torah. This should be obvious to any rabbi—certainly any Orthodox rabbi.

Probing deeper, rabbis should be the first to realize that any Knesset Member or any judge who holds that the law of the State is the highest law is uttering, in principle, a fascist doctrine. The principle has actually been enunciated by the Knesset: “No act of legislation shall diminish the rights of the State, or impose upon it any obligation, unless explicitly stated.” (Law and Administration Ordinance, 1948, Section 42, Explanatory Note.) The sovereignty of the State is clear, and this is the basic reason why the State, in utter disregard of the Torah, expelled 10,000 Jews from Gush Katif and northern Samaria. (more…)

05-Oct-2006

Foundation Poll 1 (2006)

Filed under: Democratic MethodsElectorate/Demographics — eidelberg @ 5:56 am Edit This

May I ask for five minutes of your time?

The Foundation for Constitutional Democracy in Jerusalem is conducting an annual poll concerning Israel’s political institutions.

Your answers to the questions asked in this poll will be correlated with Freedom House’s 800-page volume Freedom in the World. Freedom House lists 89 countries which it classifies as “free democracies,” and of these democracies 26 are smaller in size and population than Israel. Bearing this in mind, please answer the following questions: (more…)

03-Oct-2006

Israbia

Filed under: Electorate/DemographicsIslam & Arab — eidelberg @ 6:23 am Edit This

The Left in Europe, thanks to the complacency or cowardice of the Right, has very much succeeded in erasing Europe’s Christian identity. The same revolution is occurring in Israel. The agenda of the Left—of men like Shimon Peres, Yossi Beilin, and Judge Aharon Barak—is obvious: to transform Israel into “a state of its citizens” and thereby erase its Jewish identity.

To illustrate what may become of Israel, let us examine Bruce Bawer, While Europe Slept (2006). Bawer’s findings are similar to those occurring in England, as may be seen in Melanie Phillips, Londonistan (2006). (Both authors are indebted to Bat Ye’or’s groundbreaking work, Eurabia.)

Europeans, says Bawer, are becoming dhimmies in their own countries. (more…)

21-Sep-2006

An Unheard Speech

To gain a more comprehensive understanding of Caroline Glick’s brilliant article “Israel’s Strategic Rot” (The Jerusalem Post, September 19, 2006), I am republishing a piece which might have been entitled “The Rot Underlying Israel’s Strategic Rot.” (more…)

12-Sep-2006

The Sacred Cow of Israel’s Electoral System Updated

Filed under: Democratic MethodsElectorate/DemographicsRepresentation — eidelberg @ 7:43 pm Edit This

Having just received Freedom House’s 800-page volume Freedom in the World 2005, I can now update not only the number of democracies which Freedom House ranks “free” (as opposed to “partly free”), but also set forth how many of these democracies are smaller than Israel both in population and in size. This article refutes the contention that regional or multi-district elections in Israel would favor its Arab parties and disfavor its religious Jewish parties. Although more needs to be said about regional elections, this article provides a rational basis for further discussion.


It seems that many benighted Jews in Israel believe that their system of government descended from Mount Sinai. Their educators have yet to tell them their first and greatest prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, deplored Israel’s governmental system. He deemed it divisive and discordant as well as unprincipled and undemocratic. (more…)

06-Sep-2006

The Sacred Cow of Israel’s Electoral System

Filed under: Democratic MethodsElectorate/DemographicsRepresentation — eidelberg @ 8:51 pm Edit This

It seems that many benighted Jews in Israel believe that their system of government descended from Mount Sinai. Their educators have yet to tell them their first and greatest prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, deplored Israel’s governmental system. He deemed it divisive and discordant as well as unprincipled and undemocratic.

He saw that by making the country a single electoral district, political parties would have to compete for Knesset seats on the basis of Proportional Representation (PR), and that given a low electoral threshold, an absurd profusion of parties would emerge (more…)

10-Aug-2006

The Arab Vote

Filed under: Electorate/DemographicsIslam & Arab — eidelberg @ 6:24 am Edit This

Published December 26, 2000

Everyone seems to know why Israel’s security forces have refrained from using adequate force to quell the Arab uprising: fear of a bad media image and UN condemnation. Correct. But there is another and more insidious reason.

Recall that Shimon Peres lost the 1996 election because of the “Grapes of Wrath” mission in Lebanon, which prompted more than 50,000 Arabs to boycott the election. This made Benjamin Netanyahu Israel’s Prime Minister.

This, believe it or not, is one reason why the [Ehud] Barak Government has not used overwhelming force against Arabs! (more…)

11-May-2006

In Defense of Intolerance

Filed under: Domestic PolicyElectorate/DemographicsIslam & Arab — eidelberg @ 6:24 am Edit This

According to a study of the Israel Democracy Institute, 62% of Israeli Jews would like to see the government actively encourage Arabs to leave Israel. Professor Arian Asher of the IDI said that this statistic indicates a “general lack of tolerance of Israeli Jews toward Israeli Arabs.” He concludes that “Israeli democracy has not developed a strong sense of egalitarianism and community” (The Jerusalem Post, May 10).

The IDI findings were deplored even by Avigdor Lieberman’s reputedly right-wing Israel Beiteinu party—a party that advocated revoking the citizenship of Israelis who do not pledge allegiance to the state. (more…)

      — Next Page »