Democracy and the Jewish State

By Daniel Greenfield, FPM

Israel-Flag-Johnk85Never mind the Islamic State and its boxes of heads. The consensus among politicians and the media is that the real crisis in the region is that the Jewish State is declaring itself a Jewish State.


Israel’s flag carries the six-pointed star that was the seal of the House of David. Its anthem speaks of the “Jewish spirit.” Israel’s Declaration of Independence declared “the establishment of a Jewish State.”

It couldn’t be any less unambiguous if Mel Brooks were made the President of Israel (which would also be a manifest improvement over the even more clownish President Rivlin.) Despite that the media and its politicians treated the Jewish State bill as a major development and the end of the world.

And that’s not an exaggeration.

The understated title of a Haaretz article was “The road from Jewish nation-state to the Gates of Hell.” It was only to be expected that the radicals of the leftist paper would lose their minds over a bill that reaffirms reality. Reality has always been the enemy of the left. But the level of hysteria and incitement was a bit much even by the standards of a paper that had called Israeli soldiers and officers “filth.”

The New York Times called the bill “heartbreaking.” This is the first time that the Gray Lady showed anything resembling a heart when it came to Israel.

The State Department, whose boss just decided to ignore the results of a democratic election and press on with his undemocratic agenda, warned Israel to maintain its “commitment to democratic principles.” The European Union, which rejects a democratic referendum, warned Israel to “protect its democratic standards.”

Obama, the EU and the Israeli left like talking about democracy. They just don’t like practicing it.

PLO leader Mahmoud Abbas declared, “We will never recognize the Jewishness of the state of Israel.” A PFLP official, the terrorist organization which claimed responsibility for the recent massacre of Rabbis in a synagogue, called the bill racist.

And yet the Palestinian basic law states that “the Palestinian people are part of the Arab nation.” There is no provision made for non-Arab Palestinians, even though the term was originally used to refer to all residents of the British Mandate for Palestine. There is no mention of the ten thousand Africans living in Gaza.

When it comes to religion, the basic law is even clearer.

“Islam is the official religion in Palestine,” it states. “The principles of Islamic Sharia shall be a principal source of legislation.”

Finally it adds that “Arabic shall be the official language.”

If a Jewish State in Israel is racist and undemocratic, why is an Arab Muslim settler state in Israel that goes much further in explicitly limiting membership to Arabs and makes Islam into its official religion and law okay?

Are Islam and Arab Nationalism inherently more democratic than Judaism and Zionism? Certainly the radically different approaches to them by Israel’s critics are.

There has never been a United Nations resolution declaring Arab Nationalism to be racist despite the ethnic cleansing carried out by major figures such as Nasser and Saddam. Arab Nationalists have made war on Israel with the open aim of genocide. Islamic leaders continue to call for the mass murder of Jews. But only Zionism was deemed racist by the UN under pressure from Arab and Muslim countries.

The State Department and the European Union fund the Palestinian Authority. They have no objection to its explicitly Arab and Islamic identity. The media, which acts as the unofficial public relations bureau of the PLO, has never objected to it. Certainly not the way its members have to a Jewish State.

The critics of the Jewish State bill insist that Israel’s only hope is to make a deal with the PLO. Clearly they see nothing wrong with its Islamic and Arab status. Unless they can show that Judaism and Jews are worse than Islam or Arabs, they have to admit that there is nothing wrong with a Jewish State.

Peres, the Jimmy Carter of Israel who sank his career by giving away the store to the PLO, warned that being a Jewish State threatens “Israel’s democratic status at home and abroad.” But Peres doesn’t feel that there’s anything wrong with the PLO’s Palestinian Authority even though its own president has dispensed with election and the territory is being run by the PLO.

Can a Jewish State be less democratic than an Islamic terrorist state run by terrorists who no longer even bother holding elections?

The majority of Israelis support the Jewish State bill. The great democratic voice of the people has already spoken. The only thing standing in its way is the undemocratic obstructionism of career leftists, media hysteria and politicians who are more comfortable denouncing Jews than living among them.

Despite having a Jewish majority, Israel has protected the rights of everyone living there. But there is nothing extraordinary about that. There are plenty of European countries with state churches and monarchs who carry religious titles which nonetheless protect the rights of all without prejudice.

Just because a country has deep roots in the history of a single people and their faith does not mean that it is undemocratic or that it denies civil rights to anyone. The history of Israel is Jewish in the way that the history of England is English and Christian.

There is only one of the big three religions today that engages in widespread religious discrimination. There are no churches allowed in Saudi Arabia (to say nothing of synagogues) because over a thousand years ago Mohammed had commanded the ethnic cleansing of Jews and Christians.

When Muslims want religious freedom, they don’t go to a Muslim country. They go to a non-Muslim one such as America or Israel.

Minority religions descending from Islam such as the Ahmadis and the Baha’i live in peace in Israel. Indeed the Baha’i religion is based in Israel. Meanwhile Sunni and Shiite Muslims are killing each other all over the Middle East to settle an ancient tribal religious dispute.

At a time when the Muslim Middle East is becoming less religiously diverse than ever and when Christians are vanishing from territories under PLO control, Israel continues to be a place where Jews, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, atheists and a dizzying variety of beliefs and unbeliefs live side by side.

Israel, like any other country, has things that it can be criticized for, but it’s curious that the same outpouring of outrage doesn’t appear when it comes to the PLO arresting an atheist for criticizing Islam.

The media praises backward Muslim theocracies and their pet Imams who are dispatched to the West to preach hate. It calls the explicitly theocratic Muslim Brotherhood, which spawned numerous terrorist groups including Al Qaeda, “moderate.” It gives the benefit of the doubt to the Islamic terrorist theocracy in Tehran no matter how many times it calls for the destruction of America and Israel.

While Jews and Christians continue to show tolerance to the minorities living in their midst, they are accused of constantly plotting to create totalitarian theocracies. Meanwhile these defenders of religious freedom defend Muslim theocracies and theocrats which they claim are moderate and misunderstood.

Is the problem with the Jewish State that it’s Jewish or is the real problem that it isn’t Muslim?

If Israel were putting forward a bill to call itself a Muslim state, there would be no objections. Just as there were no objections to the constitutions of the Muslim world which declare that those countries are Islamic, just as there are no objections to the PLO which Israel is expected to turn over territory to.

Arguments can be made for objecting to the Jewish State bill. But anyone who objects to it, but doesn’t object to the Islamic political and legal identities of the Palestinian Authority and the Muslim countries of the region, isn’t defending a broad universal principle. He’s pandering to Muslims and attacking Jews.

December 1, 2014 | 7 Comments »

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7 Comments / 7 Comments

  1. @ ArnoldHarris:

    Arnold it depends on the final vote tally.

    How many mandates Likud and BB get.

    Prediction Lieberman will be cut down to his real size and worth in this coming election unless he runs on a joint list with another party as he did last time with Likud.

    Kahlon will take a lot of Likud votes away from Likud and BB, How many remains to be seen but he is a threat.

    If you recall I had predicted call for New elections in or by December for almost 8 months now and I have been shown correct.

    Everything now will be frozen in place till elections Just before passover.

    Caretaker governments are impervious to outside pressure as they can’t do anything structurally till the next election results are in and a new government formed and sworn in.

  2. @ jlevyellow:

    Over the past couple of years, I too have been steadily commenting that Israel’s borders must inevitably expand. My reasoning is that the Jewish population of Israel since shortly after its war of independence has doubled steadily about every 36 years, which means a 2 per cent annual net growth rate.

    Unlike you, I had not taken into account the non-Jews who are attracted to Israel, presumably for its unique combination of a vibrant, rapidly expanding economy based on cutting-edge science and manufacturing; it’s pleasant climate; and its political culture that is now swinging toward Jewish nationalism without killing off democracy. I tend to denigrate democracy as a political culture; but I recognize that most Jews take it seriously, and it that is what our Jewish nation in Israel wants, so be it.

    I consider it a given that Shomron and Yehuda, starting with Area C and following that up later with Area B, must be annexed to the State of Israel, and that the Fatah authority must be broken up and superseded by local autonomy in the Area A Arab cities, under seaparate control by whiochever of the local hamulas (Arab urban familial clans) most likely to cooperate with the State of Israel.

    But in the longer time frame, Israel must expand southwestward once again to the Gulf of Suez and the Mitla Pass area, and eastward across the Jordan River and ultimately to the Syrian Desert, and northward to encompass southern Lebanon to the Litani River gorge and the high peaks north of Mount Hermon.

    I think Israel’s Arab and other Moslem enemies will maintain their wars against each other, and that the Fatah and Hamas Arabs will continue their attacks against Israel whenever opportunity arises. Exactly that situation will give Israel an almost permanent excuse to expand geographically at their expense.

    Arnold Harris
    Mount Horeb WI

  3. Israel’s borders will have to expand, because too many people will view it as the only civilized alternative to the rest of the world. In just the same way that the Old City of Jerusalem is divided into ethnic areas, Jewish, Christian, Armenian, and Muslim, Israel’s borders will draw people to live within and next to the State of Israel. It is happening slowly now, but given a few negative Black Swans (natural or man-made), this process will proceed more quickly. In particular, when Europe becomes Sharia-compliant, people will stream out just as the Jews are doing now in the face of European cowardice.

  4. Even the watered down compromise by BB is an improvement.

    The Law is intended to rein in the leftist Supreme court that has consistently ruled in favor of Humanist doctrines of most Europe and progressive America against the Jewish character of Israel and traditional leaning Jews. The law is intended to box in the court where that can’t rule against the basic nature and principles of traditional Judaism in favor of democracy and progressive doctrines of the left in Europe and north America.

    Any infringement of the hegemony of the left will meet with concerted opposition at home here in Israel and their supporters abroad.

  5. I never really have cared much about democracy. Blame it on an my tough-as-nails small town midwestern and Russian Jewish father from whom I learned what works and what doesn’t in life in general, my education in the equally mean streets and schools of Chicago, a couple of years on active duty in the US Army, and watching a long succession of clowns being voted into a level of public power far beyond the scope and depth of their competence and possibly good intentions.

    Readers of my comments extolling the hard-as-nails rule of Iosif Vissaronovich Stalin, based on the forced and brutal industrialization of Russia that almost on its own enabled that country to arm its multi-millions and fight of Hitler’s intended and murderous conquest of the largest country in the world, have expressed shock and trembling over my lack of even a shred of liberalism — about which I just smile.

    So it goes without saying that I think Israel must first and foremost be the Jewish state for the Jewish nation. And if you folks over there want to govern yourselves in some democratic fashion, then fine. Just that the only non-Jews I would allow to vote for the Jewish government of the Jewish state and the Jewish nation would be non-Jews who have loyally served the Jewish state, especially the Druzim, Bedawi, and even ordinary Muslim Arabs who have loyally served in the police and military of Israel. Men and women of that kind are Jewish enough for me, and I would regard them as kinfolk. I understand more than a few Zionist-oriented members of the Knesset feel the same way.

    In any case, in the long run, the Jews of Israel — and nobody else — will determine the social and political course of the Jewish nation which is now rebuilding itself on the soil and in the cities, suburbs, villages, and the armed forces of the Jewish state and what I am certain shall be the expanded borders of that state and nation.

    Not mere survival, but long term victory is all that counts in the contests of the nations. You either win and survive, or you lose, are stamped out, then forgotten except in the history books. So make sure you win, and forget anything and everything else.

    Arnold Harris
    Mount Horeb WI