As the process of ethnic cleansing continues in Jerusalem — Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed today that there will be no interruption — those outside Israel who are calling most loudly for the swift implementation of a two-state solution, frequently do so on the basis that this is what is urgently needed in order to ensure the survival of Israel as a “Jewish democracy.”
Stephen Walt writes:
In her scheduled address to the conference, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton should reaffirm the U.S. commitment to Israel’s existence but make it crystal clear that Washington will no longer tolerate Israel’s self-defeating policy on settlements. She should explain unambiguously that Israel faces a choice: It can end the occupation, embrace a genuine two-state solution, preserve its democratic and Jewish character and remain a cherished U.S. ally. Or it can continue the occupation of the West Bank and the siege of Gaza — a course that will eventually force it to abandon either its Jewish character or its democratic principles, and jeopardize its standing with its most important partner.
Member of the Knesset, Zevulun Orlev, has another proposal: any Israeli who denies that Israel is a democracy should be thrown in jail. He has said that those who “talk about a country belonging to all its citizens belong in prison.”
Today Ynet reports:
The current Knesset is the most racist Knesset since the establishment of the State, according to the Mossawa Center’s annual report on racism published Sunday. The report, published in honor of International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination being marked Sunday, reveals a 75% increase in discriminatory and racist bills submitted to the Knesset in the past year.
According to the report, 11 bills deemed “discriminatory and racist” were placed on the legislature’s table in 2007, while 12 such bills were initiated in 2008. However, in 2009 a full 21 problematic bills were discussed in the Knesset.
The Mossawa Center asserted that this is a worrisome trend and estimate that such bills will only increase if the Ministerial Committee for Legislative Affairs does not take immediate action against the phenomenon.
“A Knesset so active in discriminatory and racist bills against Arab citizens of the State has never been witnessed,” said the report’s authors, Lizi Sagi and Attorney Nidal Ottman.
Another report also published today, further underlines the intrinsically anti-democratic character of the Jewish state.
While a government decision was made that by 2012, non-Jews — who make up 25% of Israel’s population — should fill at least 10% of government positions, the facts on the ground in the Negev demonstrate the gulf between Israel’s democratic pretensions and the undemocratic reality. From a population of 200,000 Bedouin, 16 hold government positions!
As for Israel’s “democratic” future, the signs are clear. Nearly half of Jewish high schoolers recently polled said that they oppose Israel’s Arab citizens being allowed to vote. Among religious Jewish students — representative of what has become the most politically influential minority in Israel — 82% oppose equal rights for Arabs and Jews.