Archive for Democratic Methods

A Message of Public Interest

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

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Uncomfortable Issues

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! » Continue reading “Uncomfortable Issues”

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What is a Jew and What is a Jewish State?

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. » Continue reading “What is a Jew and What is a Jewish State?”

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How Dictatorships Stay in Power

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. » Continue reading “How Dictatorships Stay in Power”

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Demophrenia Updated

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. » Continue reading “Demophrenia Updated”

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Thinking About “Occupied Territory”

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. » Continue reading “Thinking About “Occupied Territory””

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Democracy and the Secret “Rule of Law” in Israel

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! » Continue reading “Democracy and the Secret “Rule of Law” in Israel”

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Israel’s Disarray

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. » Continue reading “Israel’s Disarray”

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Five Basic Arguments Against A Palestinian State

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. » Continue reading “Five Basic Arguments Against A Palestinian State”

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Biblical Freedom of Speech

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. » Continue reading “Biblical Freedom of Speech”

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