Showing posts from December, 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 ( 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.…