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New York Times on Israel's Democracy

by Stephen Lendman Sunday, Jul. 29, 2012 at 8:58 PM


New York Times on Israel's Democracy

by Stephen Lendman

The Times is a longtime imperial apologist. It's no different on Israel. On July 21, its editorial headlined "Israel's Embattled Democracy."

Instead of discussing the real Israel, it did more to defend than criticize it. The Likud/Kadima divorce occasioned it.

In early May, unity was announced. Ten weeks later it dissolved. Collusion between Israel's two major parties dealt another blow to its faux democracy.

Netanyahu was called "a disappointing, risk-averse leader." Saying so conceals his real faults. He's Israel's worst ever prime minister. He's a world class thug.

He heads a racist, repressive government. He contemptuously ignores the needs of his own people. Moshe Silman self-immolated in protest.

Others followed his lead. Rage across Israel demands social justice. Jews are increasingly marginalized and denied. Arab citizens are treated like fifth column threats.

For decades, Palestinians have been militarily occupied. They're denied all rights. More on what's wrong with Israel below. Its "embattled democracy" conceals it.

The Times focused on Likud/Kadima unity giving Netanyahu "unprecedented authority to get things done." True enough, but it's only the tip of many disturbing faults.

Kadima's Shaul Mofaz "outlined an encouraging agenda," said the Times. Saying so is in the eyes of the beholder. Israel's disturbing dark side matters most. Mofaz, like Netanyahu and other Israeli officials, reflects it.

The Times barely touched on issues mattering most. Ticking off some falls flat without detail explaining them and why they're important.

For example, concern about "aggressive settlement building" omits decades of illegal occupation, militarized rule, land theft, dispossessions, and brutal repression enforcing despotic authority.

Mentioning hardline Israeli elements "resist(ing) serious peace talks" leaves unsaid decades of peace process hypocrisy.

Saying Palestinians haven't "shown enough commitment to a solution" is patently false. From inception, Israel manipulated talks to fail. They're a sham.

America led negotiations from the mid-1970s. Calling them a "process" masks one of the greatest modern deceptions. Palestinians never had a legitimate partner.

"Territorial compromise" and "land for peace" bought time without accomplishing anything. Genuine talks aren't possible unless both sides work together as equal partners.

Israel rejected PLO legitimacy. Yasser Arafat's November 13, 1974 General Assembly comments were ignored, saying:

"The difference between the revolutionary and the terrorist lies in the reason for which each fights. Whoever stands by a just cause and fights for liberation from invaders and colonists cannot be called a terrorist."

"Those who wage war to occupy, colonize and oppress other people are the terrorists."

"The PLO dreams and hopes for one democratic state where Christian, Jew and Muslim live in justice, equality, fraternity and progress."

"I have come bearing an olive branch and a freedom fighter’s gun. Do not let the olive branch fall from my hand."

Washington and Israel opposed his UN presence. Both countries remain hardline against Palestinian self-determination and peace.

Instead they support lawless occupation, institutionalized racism, stealing all valued parts of Judea and Samaria, and Jerusalem as Israel's capital alone.

The Times claimed Kadima represents moderation. It matches Likud extremism. All major Israeli parties march in lockstep on issues mattering most. Likudnik Ariel Sharon broke away in November 2005 and formed Kadima.

Before Netanyahu became prime minister in 2009, it waged war on Lebanon in 2006 and Cast Lead on Gaza from December 2008 to January 2009. Each conflict caused mass deaths and destruction.

Since 1967, all Israeli parties supported "aggressive settlement building."

Policies of major ones erode democratic freedoms. The Times ticked off a list without explanation. Instead of denouncing lost rights it said "activists say" they're endangered.

It hailed Israel's strength "as a democratic state committed to liberal values and human rights." It called them "basic truths." It worries about them "being lost."

How can it lose what it never had. Israel Shahak's "Jewish History, Jewish Religion" and "Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel" presented what Edward Said called a "devastating portrait of prejudice, hypocrisy and religious intolerance...."

Shahak explained it's pervasiveness in Israeli politics, the military and society. He said substituting Aryan for Jewish and non-Jews for Jews reveals a similar superiority doctrine.

He decried Israeli racism, discrimination, and xenophobia, adding:

"The support of democracy and human rights is....meaningless or even harmful and deceitful when it does not begin with self-critique and with support of human rights when they are violated by one's own group."

"Any support of human rights for non-Jews whose rights are being violated by the 'Jewish state' is as deceitful as the support of human rights by a Stalinist...."

Extremist Israeli rabbis claim historic Palestine belongs to Jews alone. Non-believers are infidels. In 2007, former chief rabbi Mordechai Elyahu called for mass-murdering Palestinians. Do "whatever it takes " against them, he urged.

Chief Sephardic Rabbi Shlomo Amar called Cast Lead "a holy mission....waged in the name of the entire Jewish people."

Though a minority, Israel's religious community wields enormous influence politically, in the military, and society overall.

Political Zionism is hardline, belligerent and repressive. Negotiating from strength is stressed. Confrontation, not diplomacy is policy. Peace is deplored. Aggression is called self-defense.

Major objectives are longstanding. At issue is colonizing Palestine, exploiting its people, dispossessing and dispersing them, replacing them with Jews, legitimizing ethnic cleansing, and removing Palestinians entirely from their land, history and heritage.

Rule of law principles, human rights, and other democratic values are deplored. "Israel's embattled democracy" never existed.

How can it lose what it never had. Even Jews are marginalized, deprived, and exploited. Privileged elites only prosper.

Nations governed by these "basic truths" aren't fit to live in. Times writers can't see the forest through the trees.

It views Israel solely through the prism of Jewishness. Zionism long ago corrupted it. Israel was founded on its principles. Peace and democratic freedoms never had a chance throughout its existence.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at

His new book is titled "How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War"

Visit his blog site at and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

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