Jewish space plays host to spirited debate over whether Israel is a democracy

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Panelists at a debate over whether Israel is a democracy. From the left: Kathleen Peratis; Marilyn Kleinberg Neimark; Lizzy Ratner; Rebecca Vilkomerson and J.J. Goldberg (Photo: Alex Kane)

“Do you still believe in the tooth fairy?” quipped Marilyn Kleinberg Neimark, a long-time activist and professor, in a question directed at Americans for Peace Now board member Kathleen Peratis.

Those eight words summed up the spirit of the evening last night at a New York City panel debating the question of whether Israel is or could be a democracy. The “tooth fairy” Neimark referred to was Peratis’ faith that a progressive, democratic Zionist vision of Israel can win out in the end, and that it is important to keep fighting for that vision.

Neimark and Rebecca Vilkomerson of Jewish Voice for Peace argued that Israel wasn’t a democracy as currently constituted and brought home to the audience the harsh reality Palestinians live under. Vilkomerson asserted that even within the Green Line, Israeli democracy is an ethnocracy that discriminates against Palestinian citizens of Israel. “There’s no getting around the fact that Israel is based on ethnic supremacy,” said Vilkomerson.

Peratis and J.J. Goldberg, an editor-at-large for the Jewish Daily Forward, argued that Israel was indeed a democracy–within the Green Line–though it was a flawed one. Goldberg and Peratis asserted that the Israel of the Oslo Accords-era is the Israel to believe in and fight for.

The back-and-forth over the question of Israeli democracy was aired in a Jewish space: Beit Simchat Torah, a progressive synagogue that caters to lesbian and gay Jews. All of the panelists were Jews, and the discussion was organized by progressive Jewish activists and moderated by Lizzy Ratner, a New York-based journalist who co-edited The Goldstone Report: The Legacy of the Landmark Investigation of the Gaza Conflict. The room at Beit Simchat Torah was almost full, and an audience of more than 200 listened to a largely respectful, civil debate about a contentious question in a Jewish space–something that all the panelists were grateful for.

The panel comes “at a moment” when some members of the Jewish community want to “restrict debate” on Israel, said Ratner. “It’s so moving to be here to have these discussions,” Vilkomerson said.

Controversy broke out over the panel even before it took place. It was originally scheduled to be held at Ansche Chesed, a Conservative synagogue on the Upper West Side, before the rabbi there squashed it for fear of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement being addressed. As it turned out, the BDS initiative barely came up at all during the panel discussion.

Ratner artfully moderated the debate, which centered around three questions: Why is democracy in Israel important to you? Do you believe Israel is, or could be, a democracy? Do American Jews have a role in shaping Israeli democracy?

All of the panelists said that their Jewish-American identity played a crucial role in why they were interested in having this debate. And most said they believe that American Jews have a role to play in shaping the nature of Israel, or at least trying to shape its nature. Neimark said that while “we have no role in shaping Israel’s democracy,” as Americans it’s important to consider the questions raised at the panel since the U.S. is the number one force enabling Israel’s policies. Peratis said that the mainstream American Jewish community “has ruined my dream of a democratic Israel,” though she later qualified the statement, saying the community has “not quite ruined it” and that a “Jewish, democratic Israel is still possible.”

The nub of the debate centered on the second question.

Vilkomerson took on the task of debunking the notion that Israel is a democracy within the Green Line because Palestinians can vote. She noted that Palestinians are discriminated against in every aspect of life, from education to housing to politics. The Jewish Voice for Peace director–who made clear that her opinions do not represent her organization–said that the “Nakba Law” was “emblematic” of how Israel treats Palestinians. That law authorizes the Israeli government to deny funding to institutions that commemorate the Nakba–the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in 1948, a historical event of paramount importance in the Palestinian national narrative. The body of laws that discriminate against Palestinian citizens of Israel “creates a second-class citizenship,” said Vilkomerson.

Peratis, who quipped that it was an “odd experience” for her to be on the political right of a panel, argued that Israel was a flawed democracy–though not in the occupied territories. “Discrimination against Palestinians is not structural,” she said. “I still have the hope that Israel’s flawed democracy” can be corrected, Peratis also said.

Neimark, a founding member of Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, said that the fact that “such a question is necessary”–referring to the question of whether Israel is a democracy–speaks volumes.

Goldberg argued that Israel within the Green Line was a democracy, and that the settlements are not part of Israel. He claimed that even the Israeli government’s position is that the settlements are not part of Israel, but that the settler movement is wreaking havoc on Israeli democracy.

One of the more revealing discussions during the night centered on an Israeli Supreme Court decision in 2000 that ordered a Jewish community to allow a Palestinian family to live there after the community barred the family because they weren’t Jews. The Katzir decision was cited by Peratis and Goldberg in response to Vilkomerson’s statement that land distribution in Israel is discriminatory and an example of second-class Palestinian citizenship. The Katzir decision was hailed by Peratis as a “glimmer of hope”–and an example of how Israeli democracy can work, inasmuch as the Supreme Court ruled that the state was prohibited from land distribution discrimination on the basis of religion or nationality. 

But Peratis and Goldberg acknowledged that the decision has yet to be implemented–13 years after the fact. Indeed, a law passed in March 2011 authorizes small Jewish communities to “screen” applicants and reject them if they “do not suit the lifestyle and social fabric of the community.” In effect, as Adalah, a Palestinian rights group within Israel, points out, the law “validates and legalizes all bases for exclusion by admission committees, which overwhelming bars Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel from living in these towns.”

Another revealing moment came during the question and answer session. Dorothy Zellner, a long-time civil rights activist and member of Jews Say No!, questioned Goldberg and Peratis sharply: is there a contradiction between an ethnic state and democracy?

Peratis was honest on this front. “I really don’t have an answer to that question…I’m struggling with it.” Peratis said that she wants to “maintain a Jewish majority”– as an essential element of the Zionist vision. But she struggled with how to reconcile that position with her values in favor of democracy and equality. For Goldberg’s part, he said that many democracies around the world have a predominant ethnic majority.

Ratner closed out the talk by reminding the audience of how hermetic this debate was: the panelists were all Jewish Americans. She hoped that future discussions would include a diverse array of people invested in these questions, including Palestinians.

About Alex Kane

Alex Kane is an assistant editor for Mondoweiss and the World editor for AlterNet. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.
Posted in Israel/Palestine | Tagged

{ 116 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. lysias says:

    South Africa started off with all the institutions of British-style parliamentary democracy. Over the years of apartheid, those institutions became pretty frayed. But isn’t that also what’s been going on Israel?

    • lysias – - Creation of the Union of South Africa was a remarkable achievement of imperial statecraft.
      I think it was unfortunate that so much of the Boer population thought white control was feasible, permanently.
      Asians became “honorary whites” in effort to prolong white control of the country.

    • ToivoS says:

      In 1975 I was in a social gathering of colleagues that included a South African. We were, up to that point, all friends. The South African casually referred to his country as a democracy. I immediately responded, without thinking, that I was unaware the blacks could vote.

      The reaction on the part of the S. African made it clear that he had never really thought about the contradiction. His anger was intense and he stormed off. I was chastised by other members of the group for being so rude. I guess I was.

    • talknic says:

      @ lysias
      “South Africa started off with all the institutions of British-style parliamentary democracy. Over the years of apartheid, those institutions became pretty frayed. But isn’t that also what’s been going on Israel?”

      No.

      A) Israel is living in territories “outside the State of Israel”

      B) You don’t seem to know anything about British-style parliamentary democracy or Israel’s system of basic laws which do not reflect the British-style. Nor do you appear to know anything about the Declaration of the Establishment of the state of Israel, which says no thing about democracy

  2. American says:

    ”Do you still believe in the tooth fairy?” quipped Marilyn Kleinberg Neimark”

    rotflmao……..perfect.

    • W.Jones says:

      American,

      There is a fairy, a magical creature that supernaturally passes into your room when you are asleep, takes your dismembered teeth under your pillow and puts money there instead. Maybe you do not believe there actually exists a tooth fairy, but is the concept not rationally conceivable?

      Is it rationally conceivable, on the other hand, that a State can be progressive, democratic, nationalistic, and also solely dedicated to a community to which one enters or leaves by religious conversion, on a land inhabited for no less time by masses of forcibly exiled people who want to return?

      • American says:

        ”Is it rationally conceivable, on the other hand, that a State can be progressive, democratic, nationalistic, and also solely dedicated to a community to which one enters or leaves by religious conversion, on a land inhabited for no less time by masses of forcibly exiled people “”…..W Jones

        Nope, not to me…….the ‘solely’ dedicated thing makes that impossible I believe.

  3. Non-Jewish citizens of Israel living within “1967″ borders are subject to discrimination, but this is on grounds of religion, rather than “ethnicity”.

    • Krauss says:

      Well, both. The so-called “screening laws” keep Jewish blacks out of white communities. And may god have mercy on your soul if you are gentile AND black. You will be attacked and spat upon after being forcibly put in a detention center and then deported.

      A light unto the nations, you know.

    • Hostage says:

      Non-Jewish citizens of Israel living within “1967″ borders are subject to discrimination, but this is on grounds of religion, rather than “ethnicity”.

      Correction: The Palestinian voters do not have any say whatsoever in the process of appointing the Jews who serve in the seats reserved for the members of the Jewish National Fund on the Executive Board of the Israel Lands Administration. That’s particularly ironic, since most JNF owned land was expropriated from Arabs in the first place. See With all due respect for the ‘blue box’ link to haaretz.com

      Those unelected Jews control and direct national planning on behalf of the State based upon the Basic Law establishing the Israel Land Administration (1960) and the Covenant between the State of Israel and the World Zionist Organization (Jewish National Fund) (1960). There is no Jewish religious test involved. The Executive Council is comprised of 22 members: 12 represent government ministries, and 10 represent the Jewish National Fund. link to mmi.gov.il

      The same thing applied throughout the Oslo period to the unelected members of the WZO Settlement Division. They’ve worked assiduously in either the Agricultural Ministry or the Prime Minister’s Office ever since 1967. See “WZO Settlement Division returns to the PMO” link to jpost.com

      Those unelected Jews directly controlled the contracts for development of infrastructure in the Negev, the Galilee, and the illegal settlements located beyond the Green Line. The notion that they discriminate on the basis of religion rather than ethnicity is completely mistaken. They’ve helped establish hundreds of “Jewish-only” ethnic communal settlements aimed at destroying the contiguity of large “Arab” population centers while preventing the expansion or establishment of new Arab communities. There are no religious tests involved in that process. The bottom line is that the national planning authorities of Israel are unelected Jews who are appointed outside any democratic electoral process.

      Peratis and J.J. Goldberg, an editor-at-large for the Jewish Daily Forward, argued that Israel was indeed a democracy–within the Green Line–though it was a flawed one. Goldberg and Peratis asserted that the Israel of the Oslo Accords-era is the Israel to believe in and fight for.

      Once again, that completely overlooks the role played throughout the Oslo era by unelected, and in some cases extraterritorial, parastatal government organs in controlling immigration, national planning, natural resources, and infrastructure inside the State of Israel. Palestinians have no votes at all in those Zionist institutions. So, you can’t really describe it as a flawed democracy.

      • hophmi says:

        “Once again, that completely overlooks the role played throughout the Oslo era by unelected, and in some cases extraterritorial, parastatal government organs in controlling immigration, national planning, natural resources, and infrastructure inside the State of Israel. Palestinians have no votes at all in those Zionist institutions. So, you can’t really describe it as a flawed democracy.”

        That’s a silly argument. We do not elect the administration of the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Department of the Interior, or the Department of Housing in the United States. I guess we’re not a democracy, since the policies of those agencies are extraordinarily important, and we have no direct say in who runs them.

        • tree says:

          That’s a silly argument. We do not elect the administration of the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Department of the Interior, or the Department of Housing in the United States. I guess we’re not a democracy, since the policies of those agencies are extraordinarily important, and we have no direct say in who runs them.

          But as Americans we have an indirect say in who fills those departments and they are not by law composed solely of Jews, nor organized by charter to benefit only Jews. The same cannot be said of the parastatal organizations in Israel, which by charter aim to benefit Jews, not all Israeli citizens. Palestinian citizens of Israel have no say in the WZO and the JNF which are parastatal organizations in Israel because they are not Jews. If the same kind of organizations, created solely for the benefit of Christians , had a parastatal status in the US you’d be rightly raising holy hell. But because its the Jewish State that does it, you obscure and excuse. That’s why you have no integrity in your arguments.

        • pjdude says:

          your missing the point. in the US we are able to elct representives to give us voice the palestinians aren’t.

  4. W.Jones says:

    Can a country be a democracy and also have Apartheid? Can most of a democratic country be free and the rest slaves?

    In a recent activity comparing the similarities and differences between Apartheid and the way the system operates in the Holy Land, it was very hard to find differences. One of the immediate differences that came to mind was that in the Holy Land there is a military conflict with no peace treaty. Yet it turned out that in Apartheid South Africa there was no peace treaty with the native black tribes either.

    Besides the issue of the compatibility of Apartheid with Democracy, at this time, most people in the Holy Land are Palestinian and they are unable to achieve a Palestinian president or put a part that represents them in the leadership of the government that controls the land.

  5. What a threadbare excuse to argue that Israel is a democracy ‘within the Green Line’. Is this the same Green Line that Israel has comprehensively denied has any meaning as a present or future border? Drawing an imaginary line in order to proclaim that inside it, the state is magically democratic is some kind of Alice in Wonderland fantasy. Israel considers all of the West Bank as part of israel, and that means only one thing: Israel is patently not a democracy, and also it is an apartheid state. They can’t have it both ways. Either Jews outside of the Green Line do not live in Israel, and are not citizens, or they do live in Israel and it refuses to admit that the Palestinians there are their responsibility and their citizens, except with no rights whatsoever. The whole thing is a colossal fiction designed to enable Israel, like Alice, that words can mean two things at the same time. Two things, which are complete opposites.

    Incidentally, see the author Iain Banks, who is tragically dying of cancer, make a stand while he can:

    link to guardian.co.uk

  6. W.Jones says:

    Today the friend of an Israeli peace activist told me that there are people on the social justice side of the debate that do not want peace. The person said that some Jewish leftists do not want the State to be there, and the person said she presumed this must mean violent conquest.

    In my own opinion, it’s OK to have either two states or one as long as they both obey human rights, including the refugees’ right of return. I replied that the “leftists” who take the “one state” position need not think in terms of conflict as she assumed. It’s simple- peacefully and legally give each person in the Holy Land one vote, and the system she disagrees with will not be forcibly imposed there any longer. One man, one vote- that’s democracy, not “destruction.”

  7. ryan-o says:

    You know, when Israelis say that American Jews have no say in influencing Israeli politics whether it is democracy or whatever, I am quite offended. Israel claims to be the Jewish state, a bold claim implying they are the Jewish nation who speak for all the Jewish people. This is obviously not true yet that is what they claim and how they act. The mid-20th century Zionist organizations claimed to represent the collective Jewish people even though they did not. If you are going to claim such a thing at a government level, then you have no right to criticize American Jews trying to have a say in Israeli democracy or politics in general!

    Israel gets by with a lot of support from the US so I would add that the US also has a say in the matter. Which they do, Israel has all the support they can count on from the US government. I mean Americans in general though, most who are ignorant as to the reality of what is really going on. What is really going on is harmful to American interests and it is harmful to the Jewish people as well. Right now, Israel and their people and their leadership have set a course for the far-right. A course that was set long ago with their labour party under false altruistic pretexts and now we know the truth.

    If Israel wants to portray themselves as representing collective Jewry while denouncing all criticism from the diaspora, then I have a problem. I would hope others would agree. Democracy does not exit under Apartheid. Democracy does not exist when it involves the exclusion of other groups.

    • Citizen says:

      @ ryan-o
      And to think that Dick and Jane are paying for this, and their government is covering Israel diplomatically at the UN–at a great price in US credibility. Americans should be angered by this, should shout loud for an end to their government’s policy of all carrots, no sticks, re Israeli policy and conduct.

      • bilal a says:

        Is America a “democracy” and if it is, why is it so anti democratic , anti egalitarian, and so unrepresentative of its demos? Both Israelis and Americans deserve something better than this false idol of billionaire bought elections.

    • Hostage says:

      You know, when Israelis say that American Jews have no say in influencing Israeli politics whether it is democracy or whatever, I am quite offended.

      Me too. World Zionist Organization Chairman Ronald Lauder is an American, not an Israeli. You can rest assured that he heads-up an international organization responsible for the WZO Settlement Division of the Prime Minister’s Office. It virtually controls contracts for infrastructure in the Israeli Negev, in Galilee, and beyond the Green Line. Lauder appointed a sixth generation American Jew, Russell Robinson, to head-up the Jewish National Fund. Robinson and the other executive officers of the JNF appoint nearly half the members of the governing council of the Israel Land Authority . Whatever that is, it it’s neither democratic nor Israeli.

      The US has voted to adopt Security Council resolutions regarding the statutes for several international criminal tribunals which recognize the 1st Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions (1977) as part of the body of customary international law that is binding on non-signatories.

      One of the main reasons the US government has nonetheless avoided ratifying the Protocol is because many US citizens, including these prominent Zionists, would automatically become liable for the additional “grave breaches” under the terms of our own 1996 War Crimes Act. See the portions of Article 85 of the 1st Additional Protocol designating the crime of apartheid, deportations, and population transfers as grave breaches and war crimes + the definitions used in 18 USC § 2441 – War crimes:
      * link to icrc.org
      * link to law.cornell.edu

  8. Shingo says:

    For Goldberg’s part, he said that many democracies around the world have a predominant ethnic majority.

    Text book cynical dishonesty. Goldberg avoids the fact that Israel has achieved this through ethnic cleansing and demographic engineering.

    • Citizen says:

      @ Shingo
      Yep. I guess Israel First types think this is why the millions died in WW2.

    • Tzombo says:

      It’s like the guy who kills his parents and then throws himself on the mercy of the court because he’s an orphan.

    • W.Jones says:

      For Goldberg’s part, he said that many democracies around the world have a predominant ethnic majority.

      So that makes it OK to make the dominant ethnicity the whole basis for your system of government?

      So if America had a predominant _________ majority that makes it OK to announce it as a “Democratic and _________ State?”

      • MK_Ultra says:

        I got news for ya, W. Jones, Amerika the Great calls itself a “Christian Nation” and a democracy yet it was founded on a Republic-platform and developed as an empire. The hypocrisy and denial runs deeps on both sides of the pond. However, and most importantly, a religion does not ethnicity make. A religious cult is just that and an ethnic group does not make.

        • MK_Ultra – - In Poland centuries ago, an adherent of Russian Orthodoxy tended to be regarded as Russian.

        • W.Jones says:

          Maybe, but we are talking about ethnicity in secular terms of race and anthropology, not in terms of cultural tribalism. Otherwise, how do you explain the thinking behind the fact that Russians do not talk that way anymore? After all, there is a separate Polish Orthodox Church, which is basically the Russian Orthodox Church that operates there.

        • piotr says:

          James, while your point is not germane to the discussion, it is definitely wrong. In feudal Poland national and religious distinctions were very different than later.

    • Shingo – - Is Goldberg in effect arguing that language and religion, if shared, create “ethnicity”?

      • Shingo says:

        Is Goldberg in effect arguing that language and religion, if shared, create “ethnicity”?

        How can that be? The majority of Philippians are Catholic and many speak English. That certainly doesn’t make them the same ethnicity as Irish Catholics from New York.

  9. Bumblebye says:

    What is “the Israel of the Oslo Accords-era “? Is that the one that twists the accords so that Area C is extended Israel?
    And in that sense, the ethnocracy puts settlers at the top, with all the inducements and bribes put their way for living beyond the Green Line, along with the state’s expenditure on ethnically exclusive infrastructure and on their ‘defence’, not to mention that what would be crimes anywhere else in the world (within the Green Line? maybe) are lauded there (ok, some are just ignored). Palestinians on both sides of the Line suffer, Israelis inside the Line pay thru the nose.

    • RJL says:

      How would you define the democracy of Belgium? With 2 different ethnic groups at loggerheads with each other, they can hardly elect a president or prime minister; do they even have one? Is Tunisia a democracy, or a Moslem state with attributes of democracy? How would you define Iran? A “democracy” with a rigged vote? An Islamic autocracy with a sham democracy, where most political parties avoid running candidates, unless they all want to end up in jail rotting?
      Only some silly people of my own religious persuasion, without a Torah background and little to no backbone, would be debating such a point. You guys all know Israel is a democracy, imperfect it may be, with a strong ethnic/religious element. You may think Israeli arabs/Palestinians living in Israel are treated third rate-gosh, even 2nd rate is too much praise, coming from MDW-but many such arabs would refuse to live in a Palestinian state, period. Why ignore this basic truth?

      • Blank State says:

        “How would you define the democracy of Belgium?”

        Who gives a shit??? We’re talking about Isreal. Do you ever directly address an issue, or is the kinda horseshit diversion you offer above pass as honesty in your fantasy world?

        • hophmi says:

          “Who gives a shit??? We’re talking about Isreal. Do you ever directly address an issue, or is the kinda horseshit diversion you offer above pass as honesty in your fantasy world?”

          As in, who gives a shit if it’s a double standard and if our one-state plan represents a Pollyanna politics that has generally been a recipe for lots of bloodshed and death around the world.

      • Taxi says:

        Give us the names, nay just a single name, of an “arab” who “would refuse to live in a Palestinian state”.

        Do please give us the “basic truth” of israel without dragging in “Iran”, “Belgium” and “Moslems” for a change.

        Otherwise put a sock in it – we’ve seen your flimsy non-argument at least one hundred times around here and non of them were sound or verifiable.

        I get sick as a parrot on Sherry when I read posts like yours in defense of Apartheid isreal.

        • hophmi says:

          “Give us the names, nay just a single name, of an “arab” who “would refuse to live in a Palestinian state”.”

          Do your homework and look up the polling figures yourself. Polls have been taken of Palestinian-Israelis on the question of whether they’d want to live in a Palestinian state. Most do not. In face, the polling shows that the vast majority accept Israel as a Jewish state, and would accept an Israeli constitution defining Israel as a Jewish state if it provided minority protections. 82% said they would rather be a citizen of Israel than of any other country.

          link to en.wikipedia.org

        • Taxi says:

          You’ll be eating the paper of your bogus “poll” soon enough.

        • Taxi – - Didn’t polls of Catholics in Northern Ireland show most did not favor unification of Northern Ireland with Ireland?

        • Keith says:

          HOPHMI- “Polls have been taken of Palestinian-Israelis on the question of whether they’d want to live in a Palestinian state. Most do not.”

          That is because they are not stupid. They know that any Palestinian “state” that Israel permits would be little more than a glorified Warsaw ghetto, to which they would be “transferred” if not resolute in their intention to stay where they are.

          “82% said they would rather be a citizen of Israel than of any other country.”

          Another way of saying that they don’t want to be ethnically cleansed.

        • gamal says:

          weird so Palestinian views are only of interest where they support Israeli wishes any poll on how many Palestinians wanted to be colonized and expropriated, are their views irrelevant on that one?

        • pjdude says:

          Wow you use wikipedia conviently ignore Israel pushes people to posts lies in its favor on there to control how it is viewed.

        • Another way of saying that they don’t want to be ethnically cleansed.

          or be in the vicinity the next time israel plans on ‘mowing the lawn’ in gaza, hebron or jenin.

      • Eva Smagacz says:

        Your presumption that Palestinians (that you insist to call Arabs) would not agree to live somewhere else because of standard of living and blessings of democracy shows you are projecting and your blinkered view of human nature. Palestinans don’t want to live in other Arab countries because they love their land and the soil where bones of their ancestors are resting since the beginning of time.

        • hophmi says:

          “Your presumption that Palestinians (that you insist to call Arabs) would not agree to live somewhere else because of standard of living and blessings of democracy shows you are projecting and your blinkered view of human nature.”

          Nah, it’s simply the fact that there is little democratic tradition amongst the Palestinians or their Arab neighbors, forcing competing ethnic and religious groups together in this way has proven to be a disaster in the region and around the world, and part of the Palestinian people are led by a terrorist organization sworn to Israel’s destruction.

          Your view shows your very Western tendency to project your views onto others.

        • tree says:

          So. hophmi, then by your logic,since you choose not to live in Israel, but instead live in the US, that must mean that Israel is a lousy country, right? It couldn’t have anything to do with the fact that you have friends and family and ties to the US despite being surrounded by “anti-semites” as you are here?

          Your view shows your very Western tendency to project your views onto others.

          Pot.

          From the 2007 survey of Israeli citizens taken for the “Jewish-Arab Relations Index”, as reported by Tikva Honig-Parnass in “False Prophets of Peace”:

          “The state of Israel must stop being a Jewish state and become the state of all its citizens” — Palestinians 91.3 %, Jews, 33.8%

          “The state must grant the Arab citizens an edequate expression in its symbols, flag and nationa anthem:– Palestinians:89.3 %, Jews 16.6%

          “The state must recognize its responsibility for the Nakba which happened to the Palestinians in the 1948 war.” Palestinians:90.9 %, Jews 11.3%

          “The state is obliged to receive the agreement of the leadership of the Arab citizens for any law or decision related to them.” Palestinians:93.6 5, Jews 27.9 %.

          This survey is from the same time frame as your cited survey. Clearly the Palestinian citizens of Israel prefer to stay in their homes with their families and fight for their civil rights in Israel, rather than be ethnically cleansed once again, and live in a bantustan under the complete control of Israel.

      • Because it is not a ‘basic truth’. And all the diversions about Belgium etc are rhetorical questions based on ignorance of those countries which have no relevance to the subject of the discussion. Merely asserting that Israeli is a democracy, without any persuasive arguments, doesn’t make it so, especially when it conveniently declines to define where it actually is. No democracy worth the name bases the right to vote on who your parents are, or what part of the region you live in. Israel, as it currently exists, is a fiction, a gerrymandered virtual state, a rigged military state which grants certain citizens the vote and rights which it deliberately withholds from others. That is not democracy.

        • Justice – - Spain and Italy give passports and voting rights to children of Spaniards and Italians who left Italy for other countries years ago.

      • Bumblebye says:

        RJL

        Are Belgium, Tunisia or Iran extending the franchise AND representation for interests outside the state in their legislative bodies to ‘nationals’ living outside the parameters of their state? Are any of them diverting billions to the building up of territories beyond their internationally accepted borders? Are any of them engaged in ethnosupremacism? Are any of them attempting to annihilate another nation?

      • RJL – - Are you referring to the disputed 2009 presidential election in Iran? Ahmadinejad won, according to polls taken in numerous places.

      • MK_Ultra says:

        @ RJL: In essence, what you’re saying is that ISreal has the exclusive right to call itself a “democracy” simply because the other countries that you mention are theocracies. Makes perfect sense to me! When in doubt, compare yourselves to the worst and come on top. Disingenuous? Yes! But who cares? if it makes you feel better about your theocracy.

        And here’s a newsflash for you: No country that calls itself a [Jewish/Christian/Muslim/Devil Worshiping/Spaghetti Flying Monster Idolater] Nation is a democracy. It is what it is: a theocracy. Adjust!

      • “but many such arabs would refuse to live in a Palestinian state,”
        HUH?!!
        What they refuse is to leave* their historical homeland no matter what name you give it. Big difference. Why is this hard to understand?

  10. Abdul-Rahman says:

    One central point that comes to mind when anyone tries to claim Israel is supposedly a “democracy” is this quick point from scholar Noel Ignatiev: link to counterpunch.org

    “Unlike many countries, including the United States, the Israeli state does not belong, even in principle, to those who reside within its borders, but is defined as the state of the Jewish people, wherever they may be. That peculiar definition is one reason why the state has to this day failed to produce a written constitution, define its borders, or even declare the existence of an Israeli nationality.”

    I believe Professor Shlomo Sand once noted in a lecture on the topic of his first book, “The Invention of the Jewish People”, that in this Israel violates the very first principal of what makes a state an actual democracy: that it is owned by all the citizens who live in its’ borders. Thus Zionism, by its very own definition and ideology, violates this basic starting principal.

    link to youtube.com Ilan Pappe “Israel is not a democracy”

    • Naftush says:

      Israel upholds your “basic starting principal” (sic) consistently and strictly. Only citizens who are present in the country, excepting those on diplomatic missions and the like, may vote. Others (including citizens who are merely touring abroad) may not.

      • Apparently Israeli citizens living in Florida have been known to vote in Israeli elections. W/o being present in Israel at election time.

      • Bumblebye says:

        @Naftush
        “Israel upholds your “basic starting principal” (sic) consistently and strictly. Only citizens who are present in the country, excepting those on diplomatic missions and the like, may vote. Others (including citizens who are merely touring abroad) may not.”

        So then, er, when did Israel extend its ‘sovereignty’ over the stolen remnant of Palestine? It did so (illegally in international law) over the Golan and East jerusalem, but I don’t recall hearing about the rest of the West Bank. So mch for your “consistently and strictly”! Why, I think they even have them some polling stations over that there Green Line!

  11. hophmi says:

    The question of reconciling an “ethnic state” with democracy sets up a completely false dichotomy where democracy is either perfect or not present.

    Can an ethnic state be a perfect democracy? Probably not. There isn’t a perfect democracy on this Earth. Can it be a flawed democracy? Absolutely.

    The question, like all of these ethnic state questions, assumes a utopian world where everybody gets along that simply does not exist. This is not the world we live in. If believing in the possibility of a progressive Israel is “believing in the tooth fairy,” believing that a progressive democracy would break out in the context of a one state solution is believing in the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus combined.

    • talknic says:

      hophmi “The question of reconciling an “ethnic state” with democracy sets up a completely false dichotomy where democracy is either perfect or not present”

      OK, let’s accept that for arguments sake. Israel has never been able to write a constitution is has always stalled at reconciling an “ethnic state” with democracy

      “The question, like all of these ethnic state questions, assumes a utopian world where everybody gets along that simply does not exist. “

      That Israel insists on ignoring the UN Charter ensures that. Yet it is what Israel through its illegal actions hopes to achieve, for itself.

      “believing that a progressive democracy would break out in the context of a one state solution is believing in the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus combined”

      United States of America and Australia both have systems of one overall democratic governance.

      • hophmi says:

        The US and Australia are not in the Middle East, and both discriminate against their indigenous populations.

        • So that makes it alright then? The comparison is malicious and disingenous: they don’t practice apartheid. They do not have ‘discrimination’ built into their laws. They do not use their military to control, oppress and attack their indigenous populations. They grant them equal rights and a vote. I could go on.

        • MarkF says:

          “The US and Australia are not in the Middle East, and both discriminate against their indigenous populations.”

          Quite true, but both have worked to compensate for past ills, and neither are reliant on another country for survival economically and militarily. That makes the donor country complicit in the crimes against the indigenous population that Israel perpetrates. i.e., you and me.

        • pjdude says:

          not anymore and both recognize how they treated them in the poast was wrong and have tried to make amends and recognized their rights. Israel has patently refused to do either. so quit trying to use that tired excuse.

        • The US (and Canada, and Australia) discriminate in favor of the “native population” of each country.

        • Djinn says:

          Hophmi, no-one will argue against an assertion that plenty of Australians are racist tools but this is not the same as the NATION discriminating against its indigenous population.

          I can name many Israeli laws that explicitly discrimate against Palestinians (even if we just look within the Green line), can you please name ONE law in Australia that does so.

    • Blank State says:

      Ahhh, so a classically racist and brutally prejudicial system of government is a democratic institution simply because we don’t live in a utopian world.

      Well, golly, lets label child molestors as “saints” then. I mean, after all, its not a perfect world, eh?

    • eljay says:

      >> Can an ethnic state be a perfect democracy? Probably not. There isn’t a perfect democracy on this Earth. Can it be a flawed democracy? Absolutely.

      Can a brutal rapist be a perfect human being? Probably not. There isn’t a perfect human being on this Earth. Can he be a flawed human being? Absolutely.

      Hey, why bother striving to be as good as the best when you can simply be better than the worst?

      Of course, you just know that if Jews – rather than Palestinians – were being oppressed in a “flawed democracy”, Zio-supremacists like hophmeee would, hypocritically, be singing a very different tune.

    • eGuard says:

      hophmi: Can it be a flawed democracy? Absolutely.

      No need to use vague words. We are talking a racist democracy here.

  12. a blah chick says:

    -Indeed, a law passed in March 2011 authorizes small Jewish communities to “screen” applicants and reject them if they “do not suit the lifestyle and social fabric of the community.”-

    I can’t recall where I read it but shorty after the law took effect an Israeli family tried to move into a Jewish town and the city fathers said “no, you don’t meet our standards.” And who were these people? Not Arabs but ETHIOPIAN JEWS!

    Well, I guess Judaism doesn’t trump everything after all.

    • W.Jones says:

      Blah chick,

      Maybe their Judaism was not considered correct?

      The community screening issue raised an ironic point about the panel:

      The Katzir decision was hailed by Peratis as a “glimmer of hope”–and an example of how Israeli democracy can work… But Peratis and Goldberg acknowledged that the decision has yet to be implemented–13 years after the fact.

      Wow dude. How about was a glimmer of hope in a sea of other events?

    • Naftush says:

      The statute in question says nothing about “Jewish” communities. It allows communities up to a certain size, founded in a certain way, to maintain their homogeneity. I’d guess that most Israeli communities that come under the provisions of the statute are Arab villages.

      • tree says:

        The statute in question says nothing about “Jewish” communities.

        Wrong. You obviously didn’t read the link in the article.

        The Knesset passed the law in March 2011, which allows 475 small communities in Israel (with less than 400 families) built on ‘state land’ (public land) to reject applicants who “do not suit the lifestyle and social fabric of the community.” The law covers small towns in the Galilee and in the Naqab (Negev), or 46% of communities in Israel and 65% of all rural communities.

        [My note: Israel does not build Palestinian communities on "state land", aka confiscated private Palestinian land. It only builds Jewish communities on such land. NONE of the "Israeli communities that come under the provisions of the statute" are Arab villages.]

        In final arguments submitted to the Supreme Court today, Adalah Attorney Suhad Bishara emphasized that the admissions committee criteria specified in the law are vague and unclear. The law violates the principle of equality and the rights to dignity and privacy, and its core and basic idea is discrimination. Practically, Adalah pointed out that the law validates and legalizes all bases for exclusion by admission committees, which overwhelming bars Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel from living in these towns. Other marginalized groups, such as LGBT persons, the disabled, single parents, and Mizrahim are also often rejected. If the Supreme Court approves the law, it will give full discretion to admissions committees to exclude families on any premise, opening the door wide for blatant racism and discrimination in housing.

        In January 2012, the Attorney General asked the Supreme Court to dismiss the petitions on the grounds that they are premature and theoretical, as the law itself has not been used to bar any applicant from these small communities until now. The state added that the law permits the towns to screen applicants based on their “suitability to the community” makeup and whether they meet the social-cultural fabric of the town as it currently exists, failing to note that all towns that meet the law’s requirements are all Jewish communities.

        http://www.adalah.org/eng/Articles/1877/Israeli-Supreme-Court-Hearing-on-Discriminatory–9-

      • Citizen says:

        @ Naftush

        As tree shows, the Israeli statute basically does what was outlawed in the USA decades ago, that is, “Gentleman’s Agreements” against those ethnic or religious folks buying in, property law covenants that “ran with the land” ownership to keep out undesirables based on religion and/or ethnic or race happenstance. At least the US covenants so discriminating had the virtue of being private contracts–Israel makes such discrimination a matter of state policy.

        See, e.g., link to bostonfairhousing.org

  13. ToivoS says:

    Even if liberal American Jews are correct when they say they have no influence over Israeli policies, I have noticed that they will severely criticize any American goyim that suggests the US should stop giving Israel aid because of its misbehavior.

    Maybe they don’t have influence inside Israel, but they most certainly have influence inside the US. We don’t see them exerting that influence because when it comes right down to it they approve of Israel.

  14. Citizen says:

    I have not yet finished reading Mr. Kane’s article, but feel compelled to say, there’s nothing like a nice little space within which to hear the sound of a single hand clapping. Always good to hear it clapping away there, convinced it’s striving to repair the world like a really dedicated shoe cobbler straight out of Dickens. Wouldn’t it be really wonderful if most of the world was “Jewish”? Why, it wouldn’t need repair, would it?

    • Dutch says:

      Well, than you certainly should read the remaining text as it gets cozier all the time.
      And you know what – next time they might invite a real Palestinian! I’m sure the Palestinians will love this kind of intimate Jewish discussions about whitewashing their fate.

      One thing is very clear. By the time the participants have figured out their little complexities in life there is no more Palestine left. And that notion should have been at the core of this article.

  15. Dutch says:

    This whole meeting is kinda hallucinating – discussing the democratic value of a state that is committing humanitarian crimes as part of its essence. And also – doesn’t a democracy need a constitution to begin with, as a token for its intentions?

    Against the background of a suffering people and ongoing ethnic cleansing this kind of discussions seems an arrogant waste of time to me.

  16. Citizen says:

    Anybody here know if the white S African ethical brain trust held similar meetings during the apartheid regime there?

  17. talknic says:

    Whether Israel is a democracy or not is completely irrelevant to Israel’s internationally recognized sovereign extent and its illegal activities as the Occupying Power over non-Israeli territory.

    These discussions are sidestepping the real issue which until it is resolved, will continue to drive a wedge between Jewish folk who on one side know right from wrong and on the other are either ignorant of or afraid or vile enough to defend Israeli lawlessness.

    BTW the Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel says no thing about democracy. It DOES say there will be a constitution BEFORE a government is elected. There has never been a legally elected government in Israel, under a constitution.

    The only legal Government of Israel was the Provisional Government, which was NOT elected by Israelis.

    The Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel also says “THE STATE OF ISRAEL …; it will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel” . It is a ‘theocrazy’

    • Talkback says:

      talknic says: “Whether Israel is a democracy or not is completely irrelevant to Israel’s internationally recognized sovereign extent and its illegal activities as the Occupying Power over non-Israeli territory.”

      No it isn’t. Because its “sovereign extent” is maintained by keeping Nonjews expelled and denationalized to keep them off from voting the real majority for a reunification of historic Palestine. And that’s Apartheid, not democracy.

  18. the israel within the 1967 cease fire lines is a straightforward apartheid-theocratic state. 93% of the land is not accessible to christians or muslims. Christians and muslims cannot live in many communities, crimes against them are frequently not punished, they cannot access the same resources, and laws and legal rulings in the their favor are often not enforced and their mere existance is branded so that they can be identified as non-jews.

    The USA is a flawed democracy. Istratine is not a democracy.

    • MK_Ultra says:

      The USA is not supposed to be a democracy but a Republic. Yet it’s neither, it’s an empire. The short of it is not what the entity in question calls it itself but it has proven to be by its actions.

      • MK_Ultra – - France was a Republic even when it had an actual empire.

        Who is the “emperor” of the US?

        By empire, do I take it you mean the relentless squandering of trillions of dollars on unnecessary foreign troop deployments, foolish wars, unnecessary weapons?

  19. charlesfrith says:

    If getting shot by the IDF is democratic then Israel is a democracy.

  20. Patrick says:

    Even within the 67 borders, Israel is not a democracy, if by that we mean a liberal democracy. It is a majority-rule country that systemically discriminates against ethnic minorities that represent some 20% of its population. You can call that a ‘flawed democracy’ if you like, but an expression that more accurately conveys the experience of the oppressed 20% would be to call it a tyranny of the majority.

    Liberal democracies protect minorities against a tyranny of the majority. As an ethnocracy, Israel does not.

  21. “Israel’s great challenge: gun-hating, gay-backing, grass-smoking young Americans”

    Support for Israel is lowest among the very same demographic groups that are increasingly winning American hearts and minds on domestic and social issues.

    A Pew Research poll released this week found that for the first time, a majority of Americans favor the legalization of marijuana, by a 52%-45% margin. Support is lowest among older, conservative Republicans and highest among younger, liberal Democrats.

    The same trend holds true, in varying degrees, in all the recent polling on the issues that top the current American domestic agenda, such as gun control, gay marriage and immigration reform. The younger and more liberal you are, the more you are likely to support such measures; the older and more conservative you are, the more you are likely to oppose them.

    Support for Israel, on the other hand, runs in the opposite direction: older, conservative and Republican Americans tend to prefer Israel over the Palestinians by overwhelming numbers, while younger, liberal and Democratic Americans are more ambivalent. In a January Pew poll, the gap between “conservative Republicans” and “liberal Democrats” on this matter was no less than a staggering 75%-33%.

    Thus, while Israel’s continues to enjoy substantial overall support in the American public, its weakest links are to be found among the groups that are now on the ascendant on most domestic and social issues of the day. Generational gaps and demographic trends have combined to produce a significant shift in American public opinion, as the National Journal wrote this week: “The culture wars now favor the Democrats. The wind is in their backs.”

    The question, therefore, is whether this wind might not eventually erode traditional support for Israel in American public opinion as well. Is the so-called “partisan gap” on Israel a permanent feature of the American political landscape that should worry Israelis or is it a reversible trend that will change with the times?

    It is tempting, for example, to comfort oneself with the assumption that support for Israel comes with age, that young liberals who are now equivocating about the Jewish state will evolve over the years and become strong Israel-supporters, just like their elders. But that intuitive theory is rebuffed in a paper published earlier this year by Israel’s Institute of National Strategic Studies (INSS) in which researchers Owen Alterman and Cameron Brown cite polls showing that in the late 1970s, the generational divide was the other way round: Americans aged 18-29 were more supportive of Israel than those 65+ and over.
    link to haaretz.com

  22. clubroma says:

    Wow, how good is it , that a group of Jews sat down in New York and talked about whether Isreal is a democracy. I’m sure it was a real ‘feel good’ discussion. BUT does it really change the Palestinian’s peoples situation. I think history shows that in the last 10 years, despite the efforts of these ‘pro-Palestinian’ jewish groups, the Palestinians have gone backwards. These ‘feel good’ experiences in front of 200 people are not going to change things. Mass rallies outside AIPAC and Congress might.
    Its important for American Jews to realies that the behaviour of Isreali Jews does reflect on them. You have to realise, even though it may be too late, that the abuse, humiliation and degredation of the Palestinian people will be reciprocated. And when history comes ‘knocking on your door’ may God bless your whingeing, moaning souls.

    • Naftush says:

      Well, well. Threatening one population of Jews for the alleged misdeeds of another. Nothing can better justify Zionism.

      • K Renner says:

        People being angry with the Jewish community because of their overwhelming silence on the crimes committed in the name of Zionism (and their passive reaction to the spreading of anti-Palestinian racism by Zionists) justifies Zionism? How so?

      • i didn’t hear that as a threat so much as a cause and effect prediction. i don’t agree with it either, but it wasn’t a threat.

  23. Nevada Ned says:

    Israel is a Herrenvolk democracy, meaning that it is a democracy for Jews, but not a democracy for non-Jews. The US before the civil rights movement was a Herrenvolk democracy: a democracy for whites, but not for African-Americans.

    And in Israel, Jews are defined as a race, not as a religion. Many Israelis don’t care about religion at all, an even many of their politicians don’t have to pretend to believe in God in order to get elected.

    In the segregated South (of the US), whites were defined by skin color, not religion. It was a famous fact that some light-skinned African-Americans could “pass” for whites. And of course, a lot of African-Americans and a lot of southern whites were the same religion, namely Baptists. They were the same religion, theoretically. In practice, southern whites told themselves that their Jim Crow system of racial segregation was endorsed by God, and they cited various Bible verses to prove that God wanted the US to be a white man’s country. To most southern whites, racial equality idea was a bad idea and wouldn’t work.

    Meanwhile, in Israel and the US today, the vast majority of rabbis proclaim that their Jewish Jim Crow system is God’s will. God has granted the land to the Jews, not the Palestinians. Racial equality is a bad idea and wouldn’t work, in their view. There are a handful of dissidents: Rabbis for Human Rights has about a dozen members, but hawkish rabbis have no trouble getting a thousand US and Israeli rabbis to sign newspaper advertisements endorsing Israel attacking Palestinians with war planes, blowing the Palestinians to bits with cluster bombs or roasting them with white phosphorous.

    • hophmi says:

      “Israel is a Herrenvolk democracy, meaning that it is a democracy for Jews, but not a democracy for non-Jews. The US before the civil rights movement was a Herrenvolk democracy: a democracy for whites, but not for African-Americans.”

      A stupid comment. Blacks could not vote before the Civil War and were strongly discouraged from voting in the South under Jim Crow. Non-Jews in Israel vote.

      “And in Israel, Jews are defined as a race, not as a religion.”

      Where in Israeli law are Jews defined as a race?

      “Meanwhile, in Israel and the US today, the vast majority of rabbis proclaim that their Jewish Jim Crow system is God’s will.”

      The vast majority proclaim this? Please show me the polling.

    • Nevada Ned – - A person who looked “white” and was, say, 75% “white”, was in fact “white” even if 25% “black”. The so-called “blacks passing as whites” were whites, primarily.

  24. VickiV says:

    Generations of Palestinians have been denied basic human rights while “liberal Zionists” hold coffee klatches and discussion groups. Don’t kid yourselves. You are as responsible for this as the most far-right settler living the good, subsidized life in the West Bank.

    • hophmi says:

      “Generations of Palestinians have been denied basic human rights while “liberal Zionists” hold coffee klatches and discussion groups. Don’t kid yourselves. You are as responsible for this as the most far-right settler living the good, subsidized life in the West Bank.”

      Ah, well, in that case, you are as responsible for Palestinian suicide bombing as the guy who actually blows himself up.

      • “Ah, well, in that case, you are as responsible for Palestinian suicide bombing as the guy who actually blows himself up.”
        Suicide bombers are (by definition) all dead and there are no more and haven’t been for a good while. The degenerate settlers are wreaking havoc all over the occupied territories, uncountable and free.
        Nice try, though.

      • Cliff says:

        Liberal Zionists can donate to the IDF and to the JNF and to other ‘charities’ that contribute to the settlement project and apartheid.

        Palestinian Americans and supporters of the Palestinian cause cannot donate to Hamas or to any other Islamist militant / terrorist group. The Holy Land Foundation case – which was a farce – is a great example.

        But you specialize in worthless decontextualized equivocation one-liners, hoppy.

  25. yourstruly says:

    question – why is democracy in israel so important to you?
    answer. – it ain’t but justice for palestine is.

    question – do you believe that israel is, or could be a democracy?
    answer – only if it returns palestine to the palestinians

    question – do american jews have a role in shaping israeli democracy?
    answer – israel is a foreign entity, so, same as for all americans, where american jews have a role is in opposing any u.s. foreign policies (such as our government’s unconditional support of israel) that puts america as well as ourselves at risk.

  26. MK_Ultra says:

    Isreal, the jewish nation, is a democracy like the Vatican is a democracy.

    Democracy is more than going to the polls

    link to haaretz.com

    Survey: Israel yet to grasp concept of democracy

    More than half the Jewish population of Israel – 53 percent – is opposed to full equal rights for Israeli Arabs, according to a survey conducted last month by the Israel Democracy Institute.

    link to haaretz.com

    Turning into theocracy

    No other democracy forces religious identity on citizens in order to wed

    link to ynetnews.com

  27. pabelmont says:

    It appears that no-one made the point that the Palestinians denied return after the war of 1948 (and their descendants) were denied other things than property, homeland, and community — they were denied a democratic vote.

    The international community is agreed that peace-minded Palestinian refugees (now, more properly, “exiles”, IMO) should be allowed to return to their country, meaning, I believe, the piece of land — irrespective of who exercises military sovereignty over it — from which they were removed (in this case, by Jews during the war of 1947-50). If the international community were asked, I daresay they’d consider a desire to vote consistent with peace-mindedness. As matters stand, “their country” appears to mean Israel in its 1966 boundaries,

    But Israel of course will not allow the exiles to return, and thus does not allow them to vote. And these 5 Jews seem not to have found time, in their busy discussion, to consider this question.

    Pity.

    Some simple arithmetic. There are approximately as many Jews wishing to live in The Land as there are Palestinians who ditto. About 5-6-7 Million of each. Assuming that the Palestinians lived in uniform population distribution over The Land in 1946, then if (in a peace treaty achieeved someday over the rainbow) Israel and Palestine agreed to boundaries whereby Israel constituted 1/3 of The Land, and all Palestinians entitled to do so returned to that same 1/3 (if they did not already live there), then the population of that smaller Israel would be 3:1 Jews:Arabs and the population of the remaining 2/3 of The Land would be 100% Arab.

    Would 3:1 satisfy the Israelis that they had a “Jewish” state?

    And would they be satisfied with 1/3 of The Land inseatd of 100% (as now) or 78% as in 1966?

    And would they be willing to have a democracy in this smaller state?

    Just asking.

  28. calm says:

    Did I miss any mention of where I can view audio-visual of this panel discussion?

    Calm

  29. Pabelmont – - Do you think the “international community” would expect Israel to accept its own destruction? Asking a lot, isn’t it?

  30. VR says:

    Maybe we can ask the Anonymous entourage now involved in cyber dissent against Israel (from around the world) if they think Israel is a democracy –

    link to cyberwarnews.info

    #OpIsrael V2

  31. Citizen says:

    Phil interviewed Jonathan Cook in Nazareth last November on this tension between Israel as an ethnic state versus a democracy–the on-going quandary of of the “liberal zionist.” link to jonathan-cook.net