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May 29, 2015 / 11 Sivan, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘democracy’

Elections Committee Narrowly Votes to Ban Marzel’s Candidacy

Thursday, February 12th, 2015

The Elections Committee voted 17-16 on Thursday to ban right-wing activist Baruch Marzel from running for the Knesset as a candidate of the new Yachad party, headed by Eli Yishai.

Marzel was labeled a racist, but the narrow margin to toss him out of the elections contrasted with the 27-6 vote earlier in the day to ban Arab Knesset Member Hanin Zoabi from seeking re-election.

The United Arab List will appeal to the Supreme Court to overthrow the committee decision against Zoabi, and Marzel also is likely to appeal.

It will be surprising if the court does not overturn the committee decision. Once the committee has the authority to decide who is a terrorist and who is a racist, the Knesset might as well close down.

There have been grounds for jailing Zoabi for her anti-Israeli activities, but no one has had the political courage to do so.

Marzel is an easier target because right-wing extremists usually see the other side of prison before left-wing extremists. Marzel previously has been handed a suspended 12-month jail sentence.

He has reportedly called on the IDF to target left-wing Uri Avnery, who would have fallen off the left side of Planet Earth long ago if it were flat. Peace Now chairman Yariv Oppenheimer last year filed a complaint with police against Marzel for alleged death threats by Marzel’s followers.

Regarding homosexuals, he has said Israel should conduct a “holy war” against them.

Yachad has placed Marzel on the fourth spot in its list of candidates, guaranteeing him a seat in the Knesset if the party passes the minimum number of votes required for party representation.

The party jumped in the polls the past week. After having been on the borderline of entering the Knesset, surveys now indicate Yachad will win five seats, and one new poll released on Thursday rates it with six seats.

After the Election Committee decision, Marzel said, “The left-wing is gagging mouths. It has been proven that my positions are not racist. We are not afraid and will continue to act for the Land and People of Israeli and the Torah.”

He sounds like the national religious version of some Haredi MKs who know they speak for God, and his candidacy in the Yachad party  was blessed by several national religious rabbis pulling the strings behind the scenes.

If the leftists want “anyone but Bibi,” a select group of rabbis want “anyone but Naftali Bennett, who broke the taboo of the old-guard National Religious Party and brought secular nationalists into his new Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) party.

Hamas Claims Victory, Says Elections are Proof

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

Hamas claimed yesterday that Israel’s decision to hold early elections was proof that Hamas defeated Israel this past summer in Operation Protective Edge, according to Khaled Abu Toameh.

The Palestinian Authority last held elections in 2005, and have chosen to not hold elections since then.

Hamas violently took over Gaza from the Palestinian Authority in 2007, despite Hamas’s strong showing in the 2005 elections.

After all, they believe elections are for losers.

Coalition Runs Away from Elections and Delays Vote on Jewish State Bill

Saturday, November 29th, 2014

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has decided to postpone a scheduled vote this week on the “Jewish State Bill,” during which time he will try to come up with a version that is acceptable to coalition partners, who does not want to see the government fall and then have to risk serious losses in new elections.

As The Jewish Press reported here and here, the media mania over early elections – two years before the government’s term ends – makes great headlines but is mostly wishful thinking by Netanyahu’s enemies, which include the establishment print and electronic media and his coalition “partners.”

The largest party in the government after the Likud is Yesh Atid, headed by Yair Lapid. He has said he could back a milder version of the Jewish State idea, which has been resented in three versions.

The bill has given Israel a huge black eye around the world, mainly because most people don’t have a clue what they are talking about or simply decide that calling Israel a “Jewish” state means it will be less of a “democratic” state.

If “democracy” means a form of government, the bill changes nothing, but “democracy” has become one of those holy terms, like ”human rights” and “freedom [to kill, incite, be a traitor or simply blow up the world]” that people toss around to support their agenda.

The arguments over the bill have become a joke, mainly because the coalition leaders are using it to make themselves popular among their supporters while knowing that if they go to the polls, the entire country will be angry at everyone for a useless exercise that, barring a change in the rotation of the Earth, will leave Netanyahu in power and Lapid and Tzipi Livni with less seats in the Knesset.

The Jewish Home party, headed by Naftali Bennett, likely would gain seats, making the coalition even more right wing than it is now.

The strongest version of the Jewish State bill, which might not pass the test of Israel’s left-leaning Supreme Court, would leave Hebrew as the only official language and would downgrade Arabic to having a special status.”

It also would define the country as aiming to “settle Jews’ in Israel, without any mention of Arabs. Of course, that is exactly what Israel does anyway, put putting it writing is somehow “undemocratic.”

It also is meaningless. It is like stating that the country should “try to encourage everyone to be vegetarian.”

A milder version of the bill ignores the issue of language and settling Jews, and it does not refer to vegetarians or those who are carnivorous.

 

Netanyahu Wants to Discriminate against Terrorists

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is backing a bill to be submitted by outgoing Communications Minister Gilad Erdan to cancel social security and other benefits for terrorists and “those who identify” with terrorism.

The Prime Minister already is getting flak from the United States for the “Jewish State bill,” which the U.S. State Dept. did not directly oppose but about which he noted to reporters on Monday, “We expect Israel to stick to its democratic principles.”

Indirectly reacting to the remark, Prime Minister Netanyahu said on Tuesday there is no contradiction between defining Israel as a Jewish state and a democratic state.

Israel is faced with Fifth Column terrorism, and the government recently re-instituted the policy of destroying terrorists’ homes, assuming the Supreme Court dos not get in the way by deciding that doing so would deprive terrorists of their basic rights”

The United States last week condemned the practice in Israel, but said it is perfectly okay for Egypt to destroy hundreds of homes of Arabs in Sinai to create buffer zone between Gaza and Egypt.

That is a matter of “self-defense,” said U.S. State Dept. spokeswoman Jen Psaki, as reported here.

Destroying a home of a terrorist in eastern Jerusalem is different, she explained, because it involves borders that the United States does not agree with.

We are waiting to see if the State Dept. wants to stick its nose deeper into Israel’s domestic polices, but it is worth nothing that a Democratic party Congresswoman from New York last month said he will introduce a bill to stop Social Security payments to former Nazis.

Rep. Carolyn Maloney said, “It’s deeply disturbing and I’m deeply disturbed that these individuals continue to receive Social Security benefits even after the Justice Department identified them as Nazi war criminals,” speaking with Business Insider.

“If you’re a Nazi war criminal, you’re a Nazi war criminal. You should not be receiving Social Security benefits. Period,” she added.

 

And what about terrorists?

“’ll look at cutting off benefits to terrorists that are deported,” she added.

Feiglin Bans Arab MK from Podium for Calling Him ‘Fascist’

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

Knesset guards forcibly removed an Arab Knesset Member Jamal Zahalka from the podium Monday evening on orders from Acting Speaker Moshe Feiglin for calling him a “fascist.”

For good measure, Zahalka added that considering he was talking about Feiglin, the word fascist was a “compliment.”

The guards removed him from the chamber, but Feiglin, remaining the parliamentarian, told them he only ordered that Zahalka be taken away from the podium. As he returned to the chamber, pandemonium broke out in the circus, and everyone had a good time shouting at each other.

Other Arab MKs and Labor MK Shelley Yechomovich rushed towards the podium to protest Feiglin’s action, which he said he carried out according to the Knesset code.

Prior to Zahalka’s “fascist” comments, Feiglin had evicted Hadash party Arab MK Mohammed Barakeh from the Knesset for telling Feiglin he should “be choked.”

The mayhem revolved around the  daily circus’ event of the day, a no-confidence motion over the “Jewish State Bill” that would define Israel as a Jewish state.

Zahalka managed to get in a few words against the idea, quoting Jewish philosopher Hanna Arendt, who fled the Nazis and lived in the United States and railed against the idea or re-establishing the State of Israel because it would make Arabs second-class citizens.

Zahalka said Arendt used the term “Palestinians,” prompting Feiglin to interrupt and ask him if that was the actual word she used.

Zahalka replied that she indeed said “Palestinians” and then began to lecture Feiglin that he should read the source and perhaps “learn something.” He said Arendt was anti-fascist, but he turned to Feiglin and called him a fascist.

The acting speaker, in his usual calm manner, said that Zahalka could not continue speaking, but he ignored or didn’t even hear Feiglin. Within seconds, the guards came to remove him, and he went into a rage, grabbing the podium to resist his ouster.

Can a Knesset Member called another MK a “fascist”? Can he call him a “Nazi”?

Or how about “dirty Jew?”

Or “dirty Arab?”

Opposition leader Yitzhak Herzog sharply criticized Feiglin for removing Zahalka from the podium, accusing him of violating “freedom of thought and democracy.”

What would he had said if Feiglin had called an Arab MK a “terrorist?

The video of the Knesset show is in Hebrew but that shouldn’t keep anyone from understanding what happened.

The action starts at two minutes in the video.

Feilgin on the Jewish National Law

Monday, November 24th, 2014

Deputy Knesset Speaker Moshe Feiglin spoke about Israeli democracy and the upcoming Jewish National La, in a discussion between himself and a Professor Mordechai Kremnister from the left-leaning “Israel Democracy Institute”, with an introduction by reporter Zev Kam discussing the upcoming Jewish National Law (in whatever form it will take).

The entire discussion is fascinating (but in Hebrew).

Here are some translated excerpts from Feiglin’s statements, as well as from some comments that Feiglin wrote down after the video was posted.

I don’t think Israel is democratic enough. If it was, I don’t think Israel would have been able to send the army to expel 10,000 people from their homes in Gush Katif, to name one example. An act that Professor Kremnister supported and encouraged.

If Israel was more democratic, we wouldn’t see a law like the “Yisrael HaYom Law” where the parliament nullified a newspaper, and the Israel Democracy Center didn’t say a word against it.

Their goal here is not democracy. It is to transform Israel into a “state of all its citizens” instead of a Jewish state.

The word ‘democracy’, does not appear in the [Israel] Declaration of Independence. The reason is that democracy is not an end, democracy is a system.

“Democracy is a very poor method” – Churchill once explained – “But I do not know do any better.” I do not know a good method for implementing liberty.

So I’m a democrat – more than all those fighting against the National Law.

All the dreamers and pioneers, immigrants and warriors, builders and planters – who returned to our holy land after 2,000 years of exile, did not do so in order to establish a democratic country. If that was the goal they could have gone to America and Australia. Most of them actually did so.

Those who came here wanted a Jewish state. The vast majority Jewish state seeks to implement the democratic system, but to place on the same level – the identity [of the country] with the system [of government] with which to implement it – is left-wing demagoguery, which comes to confuse the public and take away the Jewish state.

The National Law is not in any way detrimental to democracy, on the contrary, it preserves the values of the majority and doesn’t allow a small minority to act against its will.

The National Law blocks this frantic quest to obliterate the Jewish identity of the state.

That, and only for that – is what is igniting the opponents of National Law.

Bipartisan Letter to Obama Urging Action on Erdogan

Friday, February 21st, 2014

More than 80 dignitaries from across the political spectrum on Thursday wrote President Obama asking him to get involved in what they describe as the anti-democratic actions of Turkish Prime Minister Racep Tayyip Erdogan.

The letter opens:

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is increasingly undermining a central pillar of the decades-long, strategic U.S.-Turkish partnership: Turkey’s growing democracy. We are writing because of our deep dismay at this development and to urge you to make clear to the Turkish public America’s concern about Turkey’s current path. Silence will only encourage Prime Minister Erdoğan to diminish the rule of law in the country even further.

Next, the letter writers warn:

The response of Prime Minister Erdoğan to potential challenges to his rule—first large public protests beginning in May 2013, more recently allegations of massive corruption that reach the highest levels of his government—threaten to take Turkey from an imperfect democracy to an autocracy.

They conclude:

We fear that Prime Minister Erdoğan an d the Turkish public have taken American silence to mean that the Prime Minister retains U.S. support and can proceed as he wishes. In the meanwhile, the damage to Turkey’s democracy keeps worsening. We believe it is important now to make it clear, privately and publicly, that Prime Minister Erdoğan’s autocratic actions and demagoguery are subverting Turkey’s political institutions and values and endangering the U.S.-Turkey relationship.

Among the signatories you’ll find Morton Abramowitz, former US ambassador to Turkey, Elliott Abrams, deputy national security adviser in the George W. Bush administration, David J. Kramer, executive director of the U.S.-based Freedom House, and L. Paul Bremer, head of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) in post-war Iraq. John Podhoretz, Ambassador Dennis Ross, GEN Charles F. Wald, USAF (Ret.), and Mortimer Zuckerman are also on the list.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/bipartisan-letter-to-obama-urging-action-on-erdogan/2014/02/21/

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