How Healthy is The State of Israel’s Democracy?

Earlier this week I gently explored Israel’s phobia of Arab democracy. I suggested that if Immanuel Kant’s thesis held – ie that democracies don’t wage war - then much of Israel’s anxiety although understandable is overblown and excessive.

Ahmad Tibi - Deputy Speaker of the Knesset

I subsequently came across an article by Ahmad Tibi, a Palestinian Israeli citizen who happens also to be a deputy Speaker of the Knesset, Israel’s Parliament. Tibi argues that democratic freedoms in Israel, even for Israeli Jews, are eroding at an alarming rate such that calling Israel a democracy is a misnomer. At best he argues Israel is an ethnocracy where only Jews enjoy the full rights and privileges of citizenship.

This is a controversial thesis in some quarters as illustrated by the long and varied reactions to his article. It would have been good if Tibi had provided further links to support his thesis, but as a piece of political commentary from someone who holds a position of some responsibility with the Knesset it is an argument that need to engage with.

Israel's Parliament, the Knesset

As explored in previous posts, if progress towards a two state solution continues at the same hesitant pace then we will need to soon face up to the question of what a one state solution might look like. This prospect automatically brings into focus Israel’s existing system of government and the types of concerns raised by Ahmad Tibi.

What do you think? How healthy is Israel’s democracy?

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5 Responses to How Healthy is The State of Israel’s Democracy?

  1. Ben White says:

    An important question to ask. Thought you might like to read a piece for Salon.com back in August which addresses some of the specifics.

    http://www.salon.com/news/politics/war_room/2010/08/19/israel_1948_right_exist

  2. Pingback: Israel and race | Will Cookson's Blog

  3. Will Cookson says:

    Charles, thank you for the post, very interesting.
    I see also that the Bishop of Jerusalem has not been given his permit to reside in Jerusalem. A very worrying sign. I was told by my Palestinian guide when I went there 18 months ago that his brother wasn’t allowed back to his house in Jerusalem because he had stayed out of the country for over six months. If this is the case then its even more worrying and backs up the points you carefully try to make.

  4. Thanks Will for your encouargment on this one. Yes, the situation with the Bishop of Jerusalem is really worrying. It must be a personal source of anxiety to him but it also threatens the pastoral work of the Diocese as a whole.

  5. Pingback: Israel and race | My Blog

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