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August 4, 2015 / 19 Av, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘democratic’

Exclusive: New Yorker Gideon Ariel Running Against Netanyahu for President of Likud Convention

Sunday, May 6th, 2012

UPDATE: About 100 Likud Central Committee members have been refused entrance into the hall where the vote on the next President of the Likud convention is to be held. Police say the the hall is too small for the number of committee members who are entitled to come in and vote.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will face off against veteran Likud Central Committee member Gideon Ariel for the position of President of the Likud Convention (the pre-central committee institution). The Likud Convention will determine how Likud MKs will be re-elected as well as make various changes in the Likud constitution. The vote is expected sometime tonight Israel time and only Likud Central Committee members will be able to cast a ballot.

Netanyahu’s previous challengers, Minister Michael Eitan and MK Danny Danon, have indicated earlier today that they would drop out, paving the way for a veteran Central Committee member to submit his candidacy. Ariel’s candidacy can be seen as the Likud Central Committee members attempt to keep the power with the Likud and challenge some of the Prime Minister’s policies with which they might not agree.

Knesset insider Jeremy Saltan told JewishPress.com that Ariel, who was backing Danon, is relying mainly on the support of the Danon camp, however, he has confirmed contacts with Michael Eitan’s people. Jewish Leadership Moshe Feiglin’s sizable camp is leaning heavily towards endorsing Ariel as well.

Saltan said, “It would seem that if Ariel can maintain the Danon camp support and add Eitan’s camp he actually has a decent shot at defeating the Prime Minister. There are many veteran Likud Central Committee members who are not happy with Netanyahu and don’t want him to block their amendments to the party constitution”.

The Jewish Press sat down with Gidon Ariel in an exclusive interview where he discussed his background and candidacy.

“I made aliyah from New York in High School and I have always had a strong commitment for the democratic tradition and values both the United States and Israel were founded on. That is the reason I joined the Likud because I am a believer in a two-party system. I am proud that I have become a key player in the political establishment in Israel after having signed hundreds and hundreds of Israeli citizens up for the Likud. I am a leader in the Likud branch of Ma’leh Adumim and I recently ran a slate that finished in first place in the internal Likud primaries”.

“The Likud convention is a complex body that is responsible for amending the Likud constitution within 90 days of it convening. There have already been a lot of motions floated and I am confident that with the 11-man presidium that will be elected with me, we will be able to empower the members of the central committee, the Likud itself and ultimately the state of Israel. We will work together hand and hand with the Prime Minister and Likud Chairman Benjamin Netanyahu to assure a party that is clean, democratic and strong for Israel.”

“I consulted with a great number of my friends from all of the Likud’s camps and all wished me luck in my bid and respected my decision to run. Many grassroots leaders and activists have promised me their support.”

“I am disappointed to hear that Danny Danon is withdrawing his candidacy and it would seem that Danon’s move will be very difficult to explain to key central committee members such as myself. However, I will gladly drop out if he stays in the race”.

“I think Netanyahu and his advisers might attempt to politically maneuver my candidacy out, but it is possible that Netanyahu will express his gratitude to me for having a democratic process in our democratic party. My chances are 100% that I will protect the honor of the Likud as the countries only center-right leadership democratic leadership party”.

A Year Later, ‘Arab Spring’ Ushering In an Islamist Egypt

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

It’s not as if no one in the West has been warning about it; and it’s not as if Egyptians, exposing themselves to violence while demonstrating gallantly in a relentless effort to topple a corrupt, repressive regime, weren’t aware of the possibility of it; nevertheless, the prospect of an imminent takeover—albeit using democratic means—by the radical Muslims is terrifying.

According to Al Ahram, Saturday, the Muslim Brotherhood, reneging on its former commitment not to participate in the presidential race—a commitment made largely to allay the fears of Egypt’s military, which is forever suspicious of just such an Islamist takeover—elected a religious conservative businessman named Khairat Shater, 62, who had been the architect of the movement’s economic empire, as its presidential candidate. This is the Brotherhood’s endgame, about which experts have been warning since the day the first massive demonstration disturbed the peaceful Tahrir Square.

For a self portrait of the Muslim Brotherhood’s presidential candidate, visit his profile on his own website, khairatshater.com. The text appears to have been processed via Google Translate (“Students began his public and political at the end of his secondary education in 1966″ and similar gems).

A week earlier, Egyptians discovered who were the 100-member of the post-revolution constituent assembly which will draft Egypt’s new constitution, divided equally between members of parliament and unelected public figures. Picked from 2,078 nominees, the final list is reported to be 70 percent Islamist. This guarantees that a future Egypt will not reflect the values of liberal Egyptians who were yearning to institute a Western democracy in their country, but will resemble instead the new Islamist regime in Tunisia.

The NY Times surmises that a presidential run had been part of Khairat Shater’s plans ever since he had been freed from prison following the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak: “With firm control of Egypt’s Parliament, the Brotherhood’s political arm is holding talks to form the next cabinet while Mr. Shater is grooming about 500 future officials to form a government-in-waiting.”

Al Ahram suggests the Brotherhood had not planned to break its word on avoiding a presidential bid for now. Believing in gradual change, the Brotherhood leadership even threatened members with expulsion if they ran for—or even supported anyone who run for—the Presidency.

Back in the summer of 2011, the Brotherhood actually expelled one of its most admired leaders, Abdel Moneim Abul-Fotouh, who disobeyed the party elders and announced he was running for President.

In the end, the Brotherhood appears to have been dragged into Presidential politics before it felt ready for the challenge. It was becoming worried about the growing success of two Islamist candidates, their own former brother Abul-Fotouh and a Salafist preacher named Hazem Salah Abu Ismail, who were both becoming too popular for comfort with the radical youth.

Ever eager to prevent a clash with the military, the Brotherhood is now facing the very situation it was seeking to avoid, by gaining too much too soon, only to have its new gains be thwarted by a military pushback which would suspend state institutions indefinitely.

Still, as the Times put it, “Egypt’s Brotherhood, the original Islamist movement at the center of the Arab world, has never flinched from demanding an Islamic government and opposing secular rule.”

Mohssen Arishie, writing in The Egyptian Gazette, suggests that “el-Shater the Conqueror should not expect that his ‘Battle of the Caliphate’ in May would be an easy task.” Besides his expelled former colleague in the Brotherhood Abul-Futuh, Shater will be facing the very colorful Sheikh Hazem Salah Abu-Ismail, an unusual candidate in any election, in Egypt and elsewhere.

Abu Ismail’s platform envisions 10 great national projects in every area of Egyptian society, topmost among them is doing away with the centralized presidential system, buolding instead an institutional democracy which is, nevertheless, run according to Muslim principles.

And, according to Arishie, Abu Ismail has expressed a deep interest in imitating Israel’s economic success story to stimulate Egypt’s ailing economy.

That won’t be easy to accomplish without a real, Western-style democracy.

Israel’s Dictatorship Of The Judiciary

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

Much of the Israeli Left – including cultural and political leaders, journalists and academics – has in recent months engaged in hyperbolic, defamatory claims that the government of Benjamin Netanyahu is trying to destroy Israel’s democracy through proposed legislation such as that aimed at modifying how Israeli Supreme Court justices are selected.

In fact, those arguments set truth on its head. Israel’s Supreme Court, and its judiciary more broadly, are the most anti-democratic elements of Israel’s governing bodies and perhaps the most anti-democratic court system in the Western democracies.

It was not some right-wing extremist who wrote in 2000, “I think that [then] Supreme Court President Aharon Barak has not, and does not, accept the rightful place that the court should have among the various authorities in our regime.… [Instead, he is seeking] to interject [into all areas of Israeli life] certain moral values as he deems appropriate. And this amounts to a kind of judicial dictatorship that I find completely inappropriate.” The words were those of former Supreme Court president Moshe Landau.

Barak’s appropriating to himself and his court extraordinary powers unique within Western democracies is illustrated by, for example, his declaring in 1992 that the new Basic Law established that same year conferred upon the Supreme Court the right to strike down any legislation it considers “unconstitutional.”

Israel has no formal constitution, meaning that Barak was essentially claiming for the Supreme Court the right to nullify any law it deems in violation of its own concept – more particularly, his own concept – of a proper Israeli constitution.

Barak proceeded to legislate from the bench under this appropriated power, and did so with a distinct leftist bias, very much in the post-Zionist mold then becoming the dominant fashion on Israel’s Left.

One illustration of this was his instructing Israeli jurists, in his Interpretation in Law (1994), that when confronted by what seems to them a conflict between “democratic” and particularist Jewish values, the judge “should act as the enlightened community would.” Barak then explains: “The metaphor of the ‘enlightened community’ focuses one’s attention on a part of the public. One’s attention is turned…to the educated and progressive part within it. What distinguished the enlightened community from the rest of the public?.… The enlightened community represents that community whose values are universalistic, and which is part of the family of enlightened nations.”

In effect – even putting aside the boldly elitist, anti-democratic thrust of the assertion that the views of only a particular segment of the population should shape legal interpretations – Barak is instructing jurists to be guided in their rulings by those Israelis who embrace the post-Zionist agenda and are eager to strip the nation and its institutions of all Jewish particularist meaning and content.

It is because of this leftist bias that any challenging of the Supreme Court’s abuse of democratic norms has outraged the Left and elicited twisted assertions of being an assault on democracy rather than an effort to rein in the judiciary’s overreaching.

Of course, whatever had been the Barak court’s particular political predilections, its arrogation of extraordinary powers to itself would have been equally anti-democratic, reprehensible and dangerous.

* * * * *

Barak’s successor, Dorit Beinisch, who just stepped down as Supreme Court president, shared Barak’s political views and his vision of the special powers of the Supreme Court. This is illustrated by, for example, her rulings last year relating to Peace Now activities in the West Bank.

Peace Now emerged in the late 1970s promoting the delusional claim that peace could be attained by Israel’s withdrawing, for all intents and purposes, to the pre-1967 armistice lines. Over the next decade and a half the organization drew many adherents among Israelis eager for peace and willing to embrace the fantasy that the source of the ongoing conflict with the Arab world was Israel’s presence in the territories. Peace Now and its followers provided the primary impetus to the Oslo debacle.

Even the unprecedented spike in terror that accompanied the initial years of the Oslo process did not awaken from its wishful reveries that half of Israel that supported Oslo. However, the terror war launched by Arafat in 2000, which claimed about 1,000 Israeli lives over the ensuing few years and horribly maimed thousands more, did rouse many from their delusions. Still others were led to rethink their fantasies by the rocket, mortar and missile assaults that have followed on the unilateral withdrawal from Gaza.

The great majority of Israelis now agree with the necessity of the nation’s retaining defensible borders and are supportive of settlements in strategically vital areas, and Peace Now’s following has dramatically diminished. One response by the true believers in the peace camp has been to shift their attack on the settlements from emphasis on their being obstacles to peace to claims of their having been built largely on privately owned Palestinian land – rather than exclusively on public, or state, land or Jewish-owned tracts – and are therefore illegal.

MK Tibi Rebuked by Knesset for Praising Terrorism

Monday, March 19th, 2012

A speech MK Tibi gave in Ramallah during the “Shahid Day” cost him a severe rebuke by the Knesset Ethics committee, which did not hold back in criticizing him. One of Tibi’s statements was: “Blessings to the thousands of Shahidim in the homeland and abroad; blessings to ours and yours Shahidim inside the Green Line – those who the occupier wanted to brand as terrorists, while we say that there is no one loftier then those who have died for the homeland”.

The committee stated that, “His words constitute an insult to the Knesset’s honor and the public trust in it,” thus accepting the Forum’s stance. The committee decided to penalize Tibi with a severe rebuke.

In his response to the committee, MK Tibi explained that the meaning of the words to a Jewish ear is not the same meaning to which he intended in his speech in front of a Palestinian crowd. Even so, the committee pointed out, his words are understood in their literal terms by the majority of Israeli citizens. His words constitute support by an MK for people who were killed while killing others in terrorist acts.

In its decision the committee stated that it goes to great lengths to safeguard the political right of expression of the MKs, even when it involves difficult and extreme statements, although the committee differentiated between “political statements and statements which are comprised of support and encouragement of violence.”

The committee chose to point out to MK Tibi that, “We will not accept in the future, as a justification of extreme and violent expressions, a claim of misunderstanding and double meaning. MK Tibi, as all other members of Knesset, must weigh his words and their understanding by the broad public, and decide if they constitute an insult to the Knesset and the breach of the ethical guidelines of the MKs.”

The Legal Forum lauded this decision. Hila Cohen, the Forum’s representative, stated that the severe rebuke is a worthy punishment, even though some may claim that it is a light punishment for such harsh words. “The fact that MK Tibi participated in such a heinous event is in itself a testimony to the fact the Tibi’s objective is the destruction of the State of Israel.”

This recent success of the Legal Forum is the result of four years of intensive work tracking statements by MKs who speak against the State of Israel as the Jewish People’s state. Similarly, the Forum has lodged a complaint with the Ethics Committee and the Attorney General against MK Hanin Zoabi’s participation in the Gaza Flotilla, a complaint against Arab MKs who traveled to Libya, MKs who participated in demonstrations against the Israeli state and more.

“An MK cannot take advantage of his status and fool u,s” stated Nachi Eyal, director of the Forum. “The Forum’s objective in its continued activities against these MKs, is to restore the democratic values to their proper place, together with the Jewish Zionist values on which the State of Israel was founded. In a democratic state, the democratic values do not tread upon the foundations of state itself, but rather walk hand in hand with them. This is the status the Forum is trying to achieve, and the Ethics committee’s latest decision proves that we are in the correct direction. This decision together with the previous ones has an accumulating affect.”

Cyber Warfront: Hacker Group Warns Israel of ‘Reign of Terror’

Friday, February 10th, 2012

The hacker group Anonymous released a video today warning Israel of an impending “reign of terror” for alleged “crimes against humanity”.

The group, who was responsible for exposing an email exchange in which Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad was coached on how to conduct himself in an interview, has decided to set its sights on the Jewish state.

“For too long, we have tolerated your crimes against humanity and allowed your sins to go unpunished,” their message said. “You claim to be democratic, yet in reality, this is far from the truth. In fact, your only goal is to better the lives of a select few while carelessly trampling the liberties of the masses.”

 

Central Elections Committee to Discuss Disqualifying Tibi From Next Knesset Election

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

The Central Elections Committee chairwoman and Supreme Court judge Miriam Naor said the Central Elections Committee is likely to discuss the possibility of disqualifying Raam-Ta’al MK Ahmed Tibi from running for re-election to the Knesset, due to an inflammatory speech he made praising martyrdom.

According to Basic Law: The Knesset, a candidate or party running for Knesset membership may be disqualified if it promotes “(1) negation of the existence of the State of Israel as the state of the Jewish people; (2) negation of the democratic character of the State; (3) incitement to racism.”

 

Human Rights Watch Urges West to Accepts Islamists’ Political Gains; Condemns Israel

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in its annual report that Western governments must accept the new reality that Islamists have emerged as a political force in the Arab world.

Being that Islamist parties are “genuinely popular” said HRW’s executive director, Kenneth Roth, “ignoring that popularity would violate democratic principles.”

In another section of the report, HRW accuses Israel of “serious human rights violations” in using “unnecessary lethal force” and “hindering the rebuilding of Gaza’s devastated economy.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/human-rights-watch-urges-west-to-accepts-islamists-political-gains-condemns-israel/2012/01/23/

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