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Bastion of Democracy?

Reader comment on item: Surprising Support for Israel, not Hamas
in response to reader comment: Long way to go...

Submitted by Michael S (United States), Jul 13, 2014 at 05:06

I've often seen Israel defended as a "bastion of democracy". I've also seen Israel held up as exemplary because of its "contributions to mankind". In proportion to their numbers, the Jews have certainly outstripped all others in Nobel Prizes of all categories, in significant scientific advances (particularly Physics), in the arts and other areas. As the Jewish homeland, Israel certainly deserves to bask in some of this glory.

But a "bastion of democracy"? Not exactly. Israel has sovereignty over a few million Arabs in the "territories" who do not, and arguably should not, have the vote; so at best, Israel is a partial democracy. Some Arab states have had more inclusive elections, examples being Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and the "Palestinian something-or-other". Their big problem, of course, is that they tend to vote for parties that border on anarchies, lunatocracies and dictatorships; but they are democratic.

Israel was not founded as an experiment in Middle Eastern Democracy. It was founded as the homeland of the Jewish people; and as such, it has out-done every country on the planet. This is not something to be ashamed of: France is the homeland of the French, be it an empire or a republic, and the French are not ashamed to say so. Germany is the home of the Germans: sometimes democrats, sometimes monarchists, sometimes Nazis; but always Germans. Even their national anthem is the same as it was under Hitler, and they aren't ashamed of it. The Russians used to boast of being the champions of the working man, the leaders of class struggle; but they have always been champions not of the above, but of the Russians; and now that they are free to say so, they also admit this.

Israel did not invent Democracy, nor religious freedom, nor tolerance of homosexuality, nor any of the isms and trends many Jews like to identify with. Israel invented Jews, and the Jews invented Israel; so they ought to be ranked evenly with every other country that has achieved sovereignty and independence. They are not treated this way, though; but they are looked at as though in a fishbowl, being continually scrutinized and criticized by others as though they are exceptional. It is the WORLD that judges them as exceptional; for their own part, I think most Jews would rather NOT be so judged, and allowed to get on with their lives like everyone else.

Alas, they are God's chosen people, whether they want to be or not; this has nothing to do with Democracy.

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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