Various passages of Alexis de Tocqueville’s unfinished work The European Revolution, where he discusses France under Napoleon and Rome under Augustus Caesar, indicate that Israel, especially under the reign of Ariel Sharon, approximates a democratic despotism—and still does!
1. “Public opinion, favorably inclined, let Bonaparte dare anything. People are tired of confusion whose end is not in sight. For the sake of rest and order the nation throws itself into the arms of a man who is believed sufficiently strong to [end the violence and render them safe and secure].”
2. (Re Chief Justice Aharon Barak) “Whenever a despot rises, one may be sure that soon legalists will appear ready to prove that violence is lawful and that the defeated have been guilty.”
3. “[In the ‘structure’ of the Roman Empire one may discern] the despotism of a single person resting on a democratic basis. This [curious] combination was … supported by the greatest number [of people] and at the same time by the least responsible of people. [How] extraordinary the character of a government which pretends that its mandate originated in a popular election …”
4. “[Behold a democratic despotism that] governs in the name of the people but without the people; that represents the masses yet governs with the enlightened classes. Satisfaction given to the masses … to the sentiments of equality … At the same time satisfaction given to the rich by assuring them of material order, the tranquil possession of their goods, by continued well-being and opportunities of enrichment through official positions …”
5. “Augustus and his first successors portrayed themselves as representatives of the Roman people (and, which is more complex) as champions of democracy while, on the other hand, they governed exclusively with the aid of the aristocracy (though it is true that this aristocracy was, in part, their creation and, at any rate, wholly dependent on them).”
6. “It should be noted that Augustus maintained the semblances of electoral procedure and of popular government while in reality he made them illusory and impotent.”
7. Here is a more revealing discussion of what Tocqueville means by democratic despotism:
The form of tyranny sometimes described as “democratic despotism” (it would have been unthinkable in the Middle Ages) was championed by the Economists [the socialists of the 18th century] well before the [French] Revolution. They were for abolishing all hierarchies, all class distinctions, all differences of ranks, and the nation was to be composed of individuals almost exactly alike and unconditionally equal. In this undiscriminated mass was to reside, theoretically, the [people or] sovereign power; yet it was to be carefully deprived of any means of controlling or even supervising the activities of its own government. For above it was a single authority, its mandatory, which was entitled to do anything and everything without consulting it. This authority could not be controlled by public opinion since public opinion had no means of making itself heard; the State was a law unto itself and nothing short of revolution could break its tyranny. De jure it was a subordinate agent; de facto a master.
The democratic despotism lurking in the structure of Israel’s government and in the agenda of its executive and judicial branches is leading to Israel’s demise as a Jewish country. This was implied by former Speaker of the Knesset Ruby Rivlin, who, in an interview with Ha’aretz, said that Israel is governed by an anti-Zionist “gang” that rules under the façade of law—a gang led by the Prime Minister but above all by the Chief Justice.
Tocqueville has warned that “The strength of an army may prove coercive for a day, but it is through the everyday practice of the courts that the established order prevails [indeed, is shaped].”
Nevertheless, politicians, academics, and journalists, with hardly an exception, persist in referring to Israel as a “democracy.” No wonder the people of this country have been brainwashed and are content to live in a regime Tocqueville would classify as a democratic despotism.
 Recall how Chief Justice Aharon Barak “legalized” Sharon’s expulsion of 10,000 Jews from Gaza and northern Samaria by ruling that these areas constitute “belligerent occupied territory.” Barak based this ruling on non-binding UN General Assembly documents and International Court of Justice advisory opinions which he blithely incorporated into Israeli law! Recall, too, how the Barak Court was complicit in the Sharon government’s violation of the civil rights of citizens who lawfully demonstrated against the expulsion. Indeed, as Caroline Glick has noted, Barak “enabled unindicted citizens to be barred from their homes and prohibited from seeing their families. He ruled that they could be divested of their property rights without due process and without equitable restitution by the government; could be divested of their livelihood without due process or equitable restitution; … and could be held for months in administrative detention.” The Jerusalem Post, Sept. 5, 2006, p. 15.
 Sharon repeatedly claimed that he had a democratic mandate for his disengagement policy, even though that Labor Party policy was rejected by an overwhelming majority of the voters in the January 2003 election.
 Barak had the temerity to declare that the Court represents Israel’s “enlightened population,” i.e., its leftwing intelligentsia.
 See Anshel Pfeffer, The Jerusalem Post, Sept. 5, 2006,p. 3, on Israel’s “meritocracy.”
 See Rivlin’s interview with Ha’aretz Magazine Section, June 5, 2003.