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Democratic Methods Oslo/Peace Process

A Conspiracy of Silence

Two 3-day conferences sponsored by reputedly right-wing elements in Israel were held in Jerusalem, one in October 2003, the other in March 2004. Scores of VIPs from Israel and from abroad spoke at these conferences; and yet, concerning the one thing needful, there was a conspiracy of silence.

They spoke of the disastrous consequences of Oslo. They spoke of Arab terrorism and of the government’s intermittent and feeble response. They spoke of the lack of an organized manner for making government decisions. They spoke of the government’s self-abasement when dealing with the United States. They spoke of how the people of Israel are misled by the reports of their own ignorant, left-leaning journalists in Washington. They spoke of Prime Minister Sharon’s plan to uproot tens of thousands of Jews in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza. They spoke and they spoke and they spoke, and yet they were silent about the one thing needful.

They spoke as if Israel’s malaise and the loss of Jewish life from Arab barbarism were simply the result of flawed policies or of befuddled and feckless politicians. Not a single speaker spoke of Israel’s flawed system of governance. No one asked, “What enables a prime minister to ignore the convictions of those who elected him and even his solemn pledges to the nation?”

No one asked, “What enables the government to conclude agreements with a terrorist organization without Knesset or public discussion?” No one asked, “What enables the government to release hundreds of terrorists without such discussion?” No one asked, “Why can’t the Knesset impose restraints on the government?” No one asked, “What enables Knesset members and cabinet ministers to ignore public opinion with impunity?”

No one asked, “What enables the Supreme Court to determine the moral values of Israeli society?” No one asked, “What enables the court to intervene in military matters to the extent of determining whether this or that house used by Arab terrorists may or may not be destroyed to protect Jewish soldiers?”

No one asked, “Why do the Jews of this country feel powerless while their loved ones are murdered, and why do they tolerate the truncation of their one and only homeland?”

Why this deadly silence? I will tell you. Candid analysis of Israel’s political and judicial institutions will reveal that Israel is NOT a democracy, and this frightens Israel’s political and intellectual elites—Right and Left! Mark my words: These elites derive their legitimacy and respectability not from Judaism or Zionism but from “Democratism”—the religion of the modern world. These elites—the “best and the brightest”—must remain silent about the biggest fraud in the Middle East. They dare not reveal the truth: Israel has little more than the veneer of democracy—periodic multiparty elections—which did not prevent Likud leader Ariel Sharon from adopting Labor’s policy of “unilateral disengagement,” thereby nullifying the 2003 election.

To speak about the autocratic rule resulting from Israel’s parliamentary electoral system would threaten the foundations of the state (now crumbling). To speak of how the absence of constituency elections undermines accountability; to speak of the oligarchic consequences of fixed party lists; to speak of the divisiveness and imbecility of multi-party cabinet government; to speak of how the mode of appointing the Supreme Court yields judicial despotism; to speak of how the court’s president and the country’s prime minister have undermined the rule of law; in short, to speak of how Israel’s political and judicial institutions allow office-holders to trample on the abiding beliefs and values of the Jewish people—this is too much for Zionist or rightwing organizations—indeed, it would be revolutionary!

For then the people would then learn why they enjoy democracy only one single day when they vote every two years or so—only to relapse into servitude between elections. They would learn how they have been conned since 1948 by such elections. They would learn that all the talk about Israeli democracy is a sham, a façade that enables Israel’s ruling elites—politicians and judges, academics and journalists—to preserve their power and privileges, as well as their “politically correct” image at home and abroad—especially when speaking in the USA.

What would happen if the United States no longer regarded Israel as a democracy with which it “shares common values and aspirations”? What would happen if Jews could no longer boast that “Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East”? Israel would be alone. “It would not be reckoned among the nations.”

But isn’t Israel alone today? Will she not be alone at the forthcoming Annapolis Conference? Will her reputation as a democracy save her from the iron jaws of that conference—where moral equivalence makes democratic America the ally of Arab dictatorships?

Dear God: If only Israel would stand truly alone. Then she would have You to stand with her.

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