Thursday, January 10, 2013

When The Democratic Process Is Corrupted by Do-Gooders

Dr. Sara Hirschhorn, whose recent dissertation, "City on a Hilltop: The Participation of Jewish-American Immigrants Within the Israeli Settler Movement, 1967-1987," is now available (is there a reference there to Matthew 5:14  - "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden" - in there?  probably not.  see:  I Kings 16:24 - "And he bought the hill Samaria of Shemer for two talents of silver; and he built on the hill, and called the name of the city which he built, after the name of Shemer, the owner of the hill, Samaria...") has a new article in Haaretz, having been snapped up from The Times of Israel, I may presume, in today's edition, "No law in these parts".

(Her research was discussed there in the paper in October 2011)
Oddly, she begins by seemingly downplaying Naftali Bennett's retreat from his "controversial interview to Israel’s Channel 2, where he publically proclaimed the right to defy IDF instructions in the case of a future disengagement", misleading the reader by  referring to his retraction as if it was not a genuine attempt to stem what she finds abhorrent and quoting his earlier remarks in full but glossing over his reconsideration.

She then bemoans the ideological situation, claiming

The question of this election then, is not whether Naftali Bennett, Moshe Feiglin, Benjamin Netanyahu, or any of the other right-leaning politicians in this election contest are “good democrats” — or whether religious aspects or aspirations of their political platforms will attenuate their attitudes toward democracy — but rather whether any candidate across the political spectrum will confront the challenge of illegalism in Israeli political culture.

and noting

“settler terrorism” the Wild West Bank.

although she spreads responsibility around

There has been something rotten in the State of Israel since its inception regarding the sanctity of the law and now, with the settlers' violence and civil disobedience, the Israeli establishment is only reaping what was sowed many decades ago.

Latching on to Professor Ehud Sprinzak (who, in my estimation, with all his criticism, became quite enamored with Gush Emunimm beyond scholarly interest and academic necessity) and what he dubbed “Israeli illegalism,” she attacks

...both ideological illegalism – the kind of Zionist theology that asserts that rules are meant to be broken - and operational illegalism - the tactical strategies that enshrined these beliefs [which] became entrenched in Israeli political life, evolving from the “functional illegalism” of the Yishuv period that brought the State of Israel into existence to both an open and obscured illegalism of law-bending, ad-hoc decision-making, and corruption endemic since 1948.

and being derogatory, she adds

“good Jewish democrats”...[who] derived their justification for resisting any political authority that challenged their Zionist-Jewish doctrines from precisely the same principles of “what is good for the Jews” upon which their Israeli forefathers founded the state itself.

while aware that

the United States also suffers from its own crisis of illegalism...Europe is currently engulfed in its own economic crisis, with increasingly violent street clashes and allegations of intrinsic illegalism and corruption within their own political system...Israel’s neighbors continue to strive toward an Arab Spring, its own lessons for the region are evolving and uncertain...

she ends off hoping

...that Netanyahu, Bennett, and the other candidates of the 2013 election will live up to the challenge of being the lone democracy in the Middle East — but by being more than just “good Jewish democrats” this time around.

She could have touched on his Stability Proposal.

But she preferred not to be analytic about his political program but rather critical about a national morass.

Perhaps she was following Ari Shavit, who wrote recently of a "the new occupation: over-representation for the settlers, the settlers' agents and those beholden to the settlers in the upcoming 19th Knesset".

In other words, democracy belongs only to those who oppose residing in those portions of the Jewish national home not under full Israel sovereignty. 

There was the "old occupation in Hebron, Sebastia and Ofra", then there comes

"...the new the current election campaign. First the settlers succeeded in settling inside the Likud...Finally, the settlers ran a party with an image of high-tech, but whose essence is extremism...conquering the central power structure of Israel in a well-planned pincer movement...what is now happening is impossible to view as anything but the takeover by a colonial province of its mother country...[the settlers] are marching on the capital and conquering it, and turning the mother country into a nation under the control of the colony it gave birth to. 

Shavit's solution? 

... there will finally arise a liberation movement worthy of the name, and the uprising it leads will end the second occupation. The great fear is that until then a lot of blood will be shed, and the first occupation, that of the West Bank, could become irreversible.

So, we have Hirschhorn's charge of "illegalism" which seems to brand us as outlaws and Shavit charging us with a putsch.  Would that be very much like a pincer movement conquering public opinion by these commentators?

Is that being democratic?


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