Quote of the Day: Democracy in Israel

Who is democratic is Israel?

The Foreign Policy website recently published a piece entitled “We Now Return to Our Regularly Scheduled Conflict” that highlighted the growing tensions between Hamas and Israel and the possibility of another war between the two sides. While the possibility – or perhaps probability – of war is indeed something that should be discussed, yet the piece by Hussein Ibish also demonstrated how the intensifying problems in Israel and Palestine have been pushed to the side by newer stories in Libya, Syria and elsewhere. While people are fighting for freedom in Libya and being murdered for it in Yemen, the Palestinian people in the West Bank are seemingly stuck without hope of overthrowing what many see as a two layered occupation (the Palestinian Authority and Israel) that is supported by the United States. In Gaza, Palestinians are pushing back after witnessing at least 17 dead – including two children playing soccer and their grandfather – over the past few weeks and in Israel, Palestinians are struggling to be seen as equal to their Jewish compatriots. With the passing of a law that prohibits commemoration of the Nakba (1948) and another that allows Israeli towns to reject Arab inhabitants, Israel seems to be moving away from democracy as quickly as its Arab neighbors are pushing towards it.

With a focus on the struggle for equality of Israel’s Palestinian residents:

[Y]oung Arabs, who are often portrayed in the Israeli press as implacably hostile to the country’s ideals, support principles such as “mutual respect between all sectors” in higher proportions than their Jewish counterparts (84 versus 75 percent).  …

“Maybe it’s not a surprise that the minority in any country is very supportive of democratic rights,” says [public opinion analyst] Dahlia Scheindlin. “But it does seem ironic that in the Jewish State, which insists on defining itself as the Jewish democratic state and the only democracy in the Middle East, the Arabs are our most democratic citizens.”

The quotation is taken from a New York Review of Books blog post that chronicles the shift towards discrimination and away from democracy of the youth in Israel. The whole piece is worth reading, so get on it.

Photo from Annie’s Newsletters; H/T to Sullivan

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