Is Israel a ‘democracy’? An editorial
For the past 13 weeks, Israel has been rocked with massive demonstrations in the hundreds of thousands, especially in Tel Aviv, targeting the far-right, neofascist government headed by the butcher Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
What prompted the protests was a proposed “reform package” that would curtail the judiciary branch of the government and would give Israeli politicians, viewed as being the “moderate” wing, more authority to pick judges. Netanyahu stated that such a change was necessary to balance the power between judges and parliamentarians. At the same time, Netanyahu continues to face charges of corruption.
The demonstrations have been so relentless that the “reform” changes have been suspended, at least for now. As of now only a small number of people who oppose Netanyahu’s reforms have questioned Israeli apartheid policies.
Netanyahu’s critics say that the proposed changes would be a threat to Israel’s “democracy,” which begs the questions: Is Israel a democracy now, and has it ever been a democracy since its founding? The answers are an emphatic Hell NO!!!
The state of Israel is an illegal formation founded on the blood, sweat and tears of the Palestinian people, who were the original inhabitants of the land for thousands of years. British imperialists passed the Balfour Declaration in 1917, declaring that Palestine would become a “national home for the Jewish people.” A small minority of Jewish people were then living in peaceful coexistence with Palestinians, before the declaration was codified.
As was written in a December 2022 WW editorial: “The official founding of the Israeli state in 1948 was accompanied by massacres and the forced removal through genocidal terror and intimidation of three-quarters of the population of Palestine at that time. Some 750 towns and villages were literally wiped from the face of the Earth, their remains bulldozed away, come to be known as Nakba, aka “the Disaster.”
“In violation of international law, not to mention the human rights of the Palestinians, the Israeli military occupied Arab homes and land, vowing never to allow the people they had cruelly uprooted and driven out to return to their homeland. In 1967, in another war of aggression, Israelis seized the West Bank, Gaza and the Golan Heights, where they still remain to control, blockade and terrorize.” (workers.org/2022/12/68147/)
Israel became a military garrison state for imperialist interests in this oil-rich region. For the Palestinian people, Israel is a colonial settler state ruled by the iron fist of white supremacy. Palestinians, including young workers and children, are ruthlessly beaten, murdered and uprooted from their homes, as Zionist settlements are expanded on a daily basis in the Occupied Territories.
Despite the brutal occupation of Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), armed to the teeth by the Pentagon, the Palestinian people continue to heroically resist and fight back against this repression with mass protests and strikes, armed with only rocks and bottles. This kind of resistance continues to inspire not only the oppressed masses throughout the Middle East but throughout the world, including the imperialist centers like the U.S.
A growing number of Jewish activists, many of them young, are defying Zionism and siding with the Palestinian people by joining the BDS ( Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) campaign and other militant campaigns to help politically weaken and isolate Israel. The resistance has also resulted in the IDF facing a mounting crisis from those forced into military conscription and facing prosecution for refusing to kill Palestinians.
Underneath the current Israeli instability is that despite committing terrorist acts, Israel has been unable to contain the Palestinian people’s quest for national liberation, especially winning back their rightful, ancient and stolen lands from their oppressors.
Instead of flying the despicable Israeli flag, thousands of Palestinian flags, outlawed by the Netanyahu government, should be proudly flown. Palestine will be free!