A few days ago, I blogged about the problems of democracy around the world. I should have been paying more attention to what is happening at home.
Our new right wing "fascistoid" government (as defined by the late Amos Eilon who passed away this week)
is proposing legislation that would make it a punishable offense to mark the Palestinian "nakhba" or national calamity which coincides with Israel Independence Day. Indeed the liberation of one people caused a calamity to another and historians argue whether the Holocaust and the subsequent effective expulsion of Jews from Europe made the events inevitable and justified in term of need. Chaim Gans has published a book on the subject (Oxford U. Press). For a review, see:
In any case, the proposed legislation is a mortal blow to freedom of expression and democracy in Israel. We may expect that the courts will throw it out, but that does not mitigate the fact that a Cabinet committee approved it for parliamentary action. If it passes, one can only hope that the Labor Party will finally understand that a party that considers it self a Social-Democratic party cannot remain in the coalition government with the fascists. A strong democracy can handle such expression of nonconsensual values, such as the marking of Columbus Day as a calamity by Native Americans and the ferocious criticism of unpopular wars such as in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan in the USA. Our democracy is very fragile—in fact we are closer to a thinly disguised military dictatorship. The chief of staff and other members of his junta sit at the Cabinet table as more than equals and give orders, as in the case of the Second Lebanon War.
In the wake of 9/11, Bush managed to push through anti-democratic laws, but their implementation was problematic. I would like to refer you to an article on the subject that is thought provoking:
I hope to have happier blogs down the line.
Happy Shavuot and Pentecost to those who celebrate either of them.