March 25, 2010
I cede to the screaming masses, who apparently are confused by my silence in the face of recent wild activity vis-à-vis Israel.
First, I am sorry, but there’s a simple case of ‘agree to disagree’. Following a war, as part of the spoils of that war, Israel annexed East Jerusalem, declared the city to be the united capital of the State of Israel. And for the first time in hundreds of years, the holy places were open to all religions – religious democracy. (I’ll come back to that word later….no, ‘democracy’).
So the building In East Jerusalem is not ‘expansion of settlements’. It’s one of those ‘unfair fait accomplishments’, like the Al Aqsa mosque which Jews have learnt to accept, despite the fact that it’s built on the site of the original Temple. East Jerusalem has almost ½ million Jews living in many areas. Many are religious, with high reproduction levels – like many among the Muslim community. They need more housing. That’s it.
Yes, the timing of the announcement was dumb. But the reaction by the US politicians has gone out of all proportions, and plays into the hands of the opposition.
Talk about ‘disproportionate reaction’, an accusation thrown at Israel so often. This really has gotten out of all proportion.
And the assassination of that guy in Dubai? Needed a public smack on the hand – the crime was being found out. Israel certainly underestimated the tenacity of the Dubai police force. But let’s move on. The British, among others, (we British) have been tripping over ourselves to embarrass..ourselves.
Extreme example: but wouldn’t it be nice if a few passports were forged in order to get Bin Laden? A tape released today by Al Jazeera purports to be his threat against the US not to execute the ringleader of the 9/11 team. What’s the price on Bin Laden’s head? A report claims that the British passport office actually loses / misplaces hundreds of passports monthly. And David Milliband, UK’s foreign secretary, warns against ‘leaving your passport in Israeli officials’ hands’…
That word democracy. It’s being bandied about so much recently. ‘Bring democracy to Iraq’…’Israel is the only true democracy in the Middle East’ etc. etc.
How about some e-interchange…I want your definition/s of ‘democracy’. They can be in any format. Let me start you off with a few quotes from the Internet:
“I believe in democracy, because it releases the energies of every human being.” (Woodrow Wilson).
“Democracy is the process by which people choose the man who’ll get the blame.” (Bertrand Russell)
“The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter”. (Winston Churchill – who also famously said: “Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time”).
“Naturally the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.” (Hermann Goering)
And a few more comments to set you off:
One man one vote
I buy the Guardian because it has a great sports section. The fact that it is anti-Israel (anti-Zionist? Anti-Semitic?) is not my concern.
Gaza, Algeria, Iran – all had democratically-elected governments.
Coalitions are the current ‘norm’ in most societies. So the party that forms the government may not actually be the largest party (as in Israel).
A party’s manifesto usually is based on what it will do if/when it becomes the outright winner – which rarely if ever happens.
A referendum is the people’s rare stab at democracy.
Religious leaders have a bad habit of influencing voters – often to the extent that ALL their flock will vote in one direction only – or, if the edict is such – will not vote at all.
Australia is one of the countries where the law dictates (unfortunate word) that all must vote.
Have a wonderful Easter, Passover, lay weekend.