[tweetmeme] Israel is often hailed as the only democracy in the Middle East (Lebanon doesn’t count and Turkey isn’t in the Middle East – come on!) and the unwavering US support for the country is usually justified by reiterating the common values that are shared between the two countries. Often this is linked back to the Israeli backed Bush agenda of promoting democracy promotion in the region.
Today, though, Blake Hounsell is asking whether or not Israel even wants democratic states, noting that democratic elections could bring groups and individuals to power that don’t typically smile at Israel (Hamas, Hezbollah in Lebanon, Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, the AK Party in Turkey…):
As for the flotilla incident, Turkey’s reaction to it will likely only strengthen the conviction in Israel that it’s much easier to deal with autocrats like Jordan’s King Abdullah and Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak than it is with elected governments. After all, you don’t hear either of those two guys threatening to break off relations with Israel, and Mubarak has been awfully silent about his own role in enforcing the Gaza blockade.
Meanwhile, as the US President is trying to reduce the number of nuclear weapons in the world and looks friendly on the idea of a nuclear-free Middle East, Israel is sending three nuclear armed submarines to the coast of Iran (not provocative at all). This adds to the suggestion by a former Israeli official that Israel preemptively attacks any state or group that has or is thinking about acquiring nukes. Or right, preemptively attack with nuclear weapons.
Sarcasm aside, there is a terrible split in Israeli society. While there is a major shift to the right in the increasingly settler/orthodox dominated system, there are people who recognize the damage that Israel is inflicting upon itself. Over 6,000 people were in Tel Aviv protesting the Israeli government’s actions. Importantly, the protesters strove to make the distinction between protesting Israel and protesting the government:
A smoke grenade was also hurled at the left wing demonstrators from an unknown source. …
Hundreds of left wing demonstrators carried Israeli flags to establish that they were not demonstrating against Israel nor questioning the country’s existence, but rather protesting the actions executed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing government.