Democracy Israeli style
Back in 1997, the present author, known for his book on the American Constitution, managed to present a paper at the annual convention of the American Political Science Association in Washington, D.C., a paper consisting of a draft constitution for the dysfunctional State of Israel.
What?!? No constitution?!?
Some members at that convention, which was attended by close to a thousand American and foreign political scientists, were shocked when I informed them that Israel has no Constitution!
Instead of a Constitution, I explained, Israel has (and has had to this day) a virtually random set of “Basic Laws.” These laws (a) have been enacted years apart; (b) have been initiated by no prescribed institution of government: and (c) have not been subject to a national referendum!
Legal experts offer different definitions of a “Basic Law,” and how it should be distinguished from ordinary legislation. (See Ariel Bin-Nun, The Law of the State of Israel, 1992.)
This aside, it needs to be emphasized that without a Constitution, Israel lacks a clear cut system of institutional checks and balances. This shortcoming has resulted in the inflated power of Israel’s dispenser of perks and privileges, the Prime Minister, who has never been toppled by a formal Knesset vote of no confidence, despite Israel’s many calamities!
Also disturbing in Israeli democracy is the enormous power of the Judicial Branch. The Supreme Court’s dictum, that “everything is justiciable,” allows this unelected Court to hand down judicial rulings that have not only usurped some of the Legislative and Executive powers of government, but have also violated the cherished ideas and values of the Jewish people! This is nothing less than judicial despotism.
Judicial despotism has earned the Supreme Court the reputation of being a “courtocracy,” an assessment expressed by scholars across the political spectrum. (See my book Jewish Statesmanship which has been translated into Hebrew and Russian.)
The myth of Israeli democracy
In view of these demonstrable facts, to call Israel’s form of government a “democracy” is an egregious falsehood, despite Israel’s periodic, multiparty elections. I have elaborated on this subject in countless articles published in Israel and in the United States. Many of these articles are available in the archives of the Ariel Center for Policy Research, and many may be available in Internet as well as in the archives of Israel National Radio, on which I once had a weekly program, until it became too much of an embarrassment for the “politically correct” Ruling Class.
Of course, given the despotic nature of Israel’s enemies, on the one hand, and the (misplaced) “pride” Americans feel about Israeli “democracy,” on the other, it may be argued that the lie about Israeli democracy is politically expedient, if not, sacrosanct. Indeed, this lie is propagated, or at least condoned, by Israeli universities, especially by their departments of “Political Science.”
Can it be that members of these departments have a personal or vested interest in NOT informing the people of Israel that the democracy of which they boast is a fraud – as may now be seen online in my book The Myth of Israeli Democracy?
None dares expose the connection between this fraud and the Government’s disastrous policy of “territory for peace.” This discredited policy has been pursued by every Israeli Government regardless of which party or party leader has been at the helm. This revolting but ignored fact of Israeli politics is proof positive of the absence of political accountability in Israeli “democracy.”
Moreover, isn’t this lack of political accountability in Israel a basic cause of Israel’s territorial retreat and truncation since Oslo 1993? And isn’t this same lack of political accountability a basic reason why, contrary to justice, the murderers of Jewish men, women, and children have been released from prison by the Government (only to have gone on to murder more Jews)?
Finally, is there in Israel a political party or party leader, secular or religious, which has told the people of this country the plain truth about their supposedly democratic form of Government? Alternatively, has any political leader or analyst informed the public that the fiction of Israeli democracy has facilitated the lethal fiction of “territory for peace”?◙