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Showing posts from 2005

Sharon on democracy: "I know what is good for the people"

[Published in the Jerusalem Post Letters, Friday December 9]

Sharon and Ben Gurion's "great virtue"

To the editor:

The CEO of an Israeli company once told me “I know what the market needs”, rejecting the input of the regional managers gathered to help the company decide on new products and directions. Hubris, and the absence of any understanding of the need for the company to cater to its markets, led to disaster. The company collapsed.

Ariel Sharon, like the vast majority of Israeli leaders – many of whom came from military backgrounds where orders are handed down and obeyed – clearly has no understanding of democracy. “I do not know what the people want. I know what is good for the people,” Sharon quoted Ben Gurion approvingly this week, calling this Ben Gurion’s “great virtue”.

And there you have it: a democracy not “of the people, by the people, for the people” but rather led by an autocrat who is not interested in the public will. An unflattering comparison can be m…

On freedom and democracy

[Published by Israel 21c (www.israel21c.org) December 04, 2005]

Two weeks ago, the British magazine The Economist published a feature about democracy in the Middle East and Africa, including various predictions for the future. But the most critical finding, and the most relevant for the current round of European efforts to "move the peace process ahead", has been largely either ignored or sidelined.

The international weekly news and business magazine included its 'Index of Political Freedom' in their November 18 issue, ranking 20 countries on 15 indicators of political and civil liberties. It found a relatively wide range of democracy across the region. From Libya and Syria (at 2.05 and 2.8 respectively, on a scale of 1-10) through Sudan, Yemen and Egypt (at 4.3 each) to the Palestinian Autonomy at 5.05, Morocco at 5.2 and Lebanon at 6.55, it is clear that the Muslim countries of the Middle East vary in their openness, tolerance of dissent and political accountability.…

Palestinian Democracy: It's Possible

[Published 28 September 2005 in Hebrew in Ha'aretz newpaper, Israel, under the title "Palestinian democracy: it's possible"; Below is the original English version from which the Hebrew was translated:]

Hillel's Strategic Alternative
By Aryeh Green

Hillel the Elder said, “What is hateful to you, do not do unto others”.

Many people, in their quest for reasonable alternatives to the ‘Greater Israel’ fantasies of the extreme right, not to mention the ‘Peace in our Time’ appeasement fantasies of the extreme left, just might agree this is the option they are looking for now that the withdrawal from Gaza is complete.

As Hillel would probably agree, the solution to the central dilemma depends on how you define the problem. If the issue is how to retain Israeli ownership over the territory and have Jews live there but deny political rights to the Palestinians also living there – we’ve defeated the purpose of the exercise. Like the potential convert who came to Hillel the E…

A quick note from Gaza during the withdrawal

[An email written to Katie, my wife, on August 17, from Gush Katif]

KT - It's about 1pm on Wednesday, I have a few minutes between assignments, thought I'd put a few thoughts and observations down in writing, about my activities and feelings.

From a personal perspective, my overwhelming feeling is one of pure helplessness and despair. Not, mind you, from the same sources of the many residents being evicted or those protesting the expulsion locally or elsewhere - not because I believe we should be here permanently. But because I just don't see the point, not now, not with the way things are in this region - no peace, no security, no Palestinian democracy or reform in the Pal Authority. Hamas and even Qurei in the PA say "first Gaza, then Jerusalem & the West Bank" (Hamas and Islamic Jihad and the others say "all of Palestine" of course). The timing is terrible and wrong - they killed enough of us and now we're running away. Hence my despair. …

The “Gulf” in Zionism

“Fragmented beyond repair,” wrote Gershon Baskin in the Jerusalem Post July 26 about Israeli society. He may be right; he is dreadfully wrong as to the nature of the problem. Saying his worldview is “different” from the settlers’, Baskin purports to represent true Zionism. In fact, he betrays the very essence of our Zionist principles. He represents, in effect if not intention, the “post-Zionist” anti-Jewish ideology preferred by Israel’s enemies.

Baskin decries the settling of thousands of Israelis – observant and non-observant – in the areas Israel has administered since June 1967. He writes of “saving Zionism from those who have tainted the noble aspects of its cause since 1967” with no recognition of two critical facts: That cause, in all its “aspects”, is the same as it was in Herzl and Ben Gurion’s days; and the vast majority of “those” settlers were sent by their Zionist leaders, Left and Right, to fulfill the Zionist mission: settling the land and claiming sovereignty over it.

B…

A Different View of the Withdrawal from Gaza ("Disengagement") - By Katie Green

ORANGE
By Katie Green
[The Jewish Chronicle - UK - July 29, 2005]

My neighbour Debby has been selling orange ribbons. One shekel for an orange ribbon to tie to the antenna of the car, and thus identify with the residents of Gush Katif, who will be evicted from their homes on August 15th.

We see a lot of orange in the streets these days: orange ribbons on lorries and bicycles, orange ribbons tied to briefcases and handbags, to hats and belts and babies' buggies. Children from the religious youth movements and older people in their fifties who are against the withdrawal from the Gaza strip, have been sporting orange T-shirts with the slogan 'Jews don't expel Jews'.

"What have you done with the colour orange?" groans a secular left-wing radio host on IDF Radio. "You religious people, your colour is brown, or beige at the very least. Leave orange alone. It's ours."

When we pulled out of Lebanon in May 2000, the term used in Hebrew was Nesiga, which transl…

The Mundane Dilution of the Jewish State - 27 Feb 05

The attorney-general, mid-level IDF brass and faceless bureaucrats in the
education ministry nonchalantly weaken the Jewish identity of Israel - and
therefore her raison d'etre The Mundane Dilution of the Jewish State 27 February, 2005 Israel is a Jewish State. Or is it? Recently we have witnessed a number of disturbing events reflecting a
growing trend to 'de-Judaize' our culture and society. True, our calendar
and language certainly reflect Jewish roots, and our place in the hearts of
many Jews around the world strengthens the impression. Yet for those who
care and take pride in the Jewishness of Israel, these latest incidents
should be seen as 'warning shots across the bow' and as calls to immediate
action. In his book "The Jewish State - The Struggle for Israel's Soul" (2000),
Yoram Hazony describes the intellectual struggle between those opposed to
the very idea of a 'Jewish' State, led by Martin Buber, and those favoring
Herzl's original idea, …

The Mundane Dilution of the Jewish State - 27 Feb 05

The attorney-general, mid-level IDF brass and faceless bureaucrats in the
education ministry nonchalantly weaken the Jewish identity of Israel - and
therefore her raison d'etre
The Mundane Dilution of the Jewish State
By Aryeh Green
27 February, 2005 Israel is a Jewish State. Or is it? Recently we have witnessed a number of disturbing events reflecting a
growing trend to 'de-Judaize' our culture and society. True, our calendar
and language certainly reflect Jewish roots, and our place in the hearts of
many Jews around the world strengthens the impression. Yet for those who
care and take pride in the Jewishness of Israel, these latest incidents
should be seen as 'warning shots across the bow' and as calls to immediate
action. In his book "The Jewish State - The Struggle for Israel's Soul" (2000),
Yoram Hazony describes the intellectual struggle between those opposed to
the very idea of a 'Jewish' State, led by Martin Buber, and those favoring
Herzl's ori…