Navonim - The Ramblings of Garnel Ironheart

Navonim - The Ramblings of Garnel Ironheart

Sunday, 15 March 2009

It's Only Democracy When They Win

The political left has always been profoundly deceitful about its respect for basic human rights and the democratic process. Despite wrapping themselves in the flags of decency and respect, they actually have none of each quality when the winds of fortune blow against them. This articule by professional whiner Larry Garber is a case in point.
The first thing to note is that Avigdor Leiberman's right wing secular party did very well in last month's Israeli elections. I'm not a man of Leiberman but facts are fact. The party did not cheat, did not fix ballot boxes, did not bribe voters. They presented a populist agenda and received enough seats to guarantee their presence in any potential coalition government. Surely that is evidence of the democratic process and marketplace of ideas at work. Not for Garber:
Yet Lieberman’s success and his potential presence in a new Israeli government should be a cause of concern for those who care about Israel’s democratic future and who worry about Israel’s growing international isolation.
Lieberman has never disguised his belief that Israel’s Arab citizens are a potential fifth column threatening Israel’s security and well-being. He advocates a policy of “transfer,” whereby areas of Israel that are heavily populated by Arabs would eventually become part of a Palestinian state. Those Arabs living within the transferred areas would have the choice of moving to other parts of Israel or automatically forfeiting their Israeli citizenship.
Proposing such a policy sends an explicit message to 20 percent of Israel’s citizens that they are unwanted in the country in which they work, live, pay taxes and attempt to find some path to equality in the designated Jewish homeland.
Even more pernicious is the party’s slogan -- “Without loyalty there is no citizenship.” This notion, reminiscent of America’s dark days of McCarthyism, patently defies a central value of democracy: namely that human and civil rights are not dependent on how a government classifies the nonviolent expression of opinions.

Note all the bitterness and half-truths in this short excerpt. Lieberman's success at the ballot box is a threat to democracy. By voting in a man the "world community" does not like, Israel will become more isolated. In other words, Israel's decision to choose someone they like irregardless of the rest of the world's opinion in undemocractic!
Oddly, when Shinui won 15 seats only a few years ago on a platform calling for discrimination and hatred towards a large sector of the population, hypocrites like Garber didn't seem to see this as a threat to democracy. Apparently you're only a real demagogue if you're a right wing one.
Then there is his description of Lieberman's policy, especially his dismissive attitude towards the statement on loyalty. Yet a sane person can find nothing wrong with it and it is generally the standard any country expects from its citizens. How much more so when Arabs in Israel who call themselves "Palestiniains" instead of Israeli Arabs openly imply they are sympathizing with a terrorist movement at war with the country they hold citizenship in.
But Garber's arguments also do not follow through: a demand for loyalty is not the same as McCarthyism. Loyalty demands doing nothing to damage the country you hold citizenship in. It says nothing about beliefs or civil rights as long as the citizen does not attempt to harm his country. This is hardly an onerous demand. As the American saying goes: America, love it or leave it. Only an arrogant ass would remain in a country he ates, actively work to harm it and then scream about his civil rights when he is called on it.
But then, we have Larry Garber.

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