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.
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.
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?