Wednesday, November 05, 2014

  • Wednesday, November 05, 2014
  • Elder of Ziyon
Our weekly column from the humor site PreOccupied Territory

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Tel Aviv, November 5 - Leading proponents of Israeli democracy are beginning to have second thoughts about the inclusion of democracy in their matrix of core ideological values, a new paper from a left-wing think-tank argued this week.

In an analysis published in its quarterly journal, the organization Social Theorists And Leaders In Navelgazing (STALIN) observes that an increasing number of otherwise committed Liberals are finding it difficult to square their love for democracy with their absolute knowledge that they know better than hoi polloi what is good for the country and the world. As a consequence, many of those who have hitherto supported a robust democracy in Israel no longer find it as appealing as they once did. STALIN claims to represent 99% of Israeli leftists.

The development, says the STALIN article, has long been an undercurrent in leftist circles, but only in recent years have the political implications become so fraught, and the consequences for Israeli democracy so stark. With the political Right more or less in control of the government since the early years of last decade, STALIN's target audience finds itself more and more on the sidelines of legislation and policymaking, a consequence of processes with their roots in democratic principles. The People, whose rights STALIN claims to represent, have consistently and democratically rejected the policies advocated by the Left, a phenomenon that now raises doubts among STALIN adherents as to the value of democracy if it does not dovetail with what might be more important values such as erasing any notion of national identity, or providing the country's sworn enemies with rhetorical or political ammunition. As in one prominent case from the 1990's, the ammunition has sometimes been literal.

The arenas in which leftist ambitions have been thwarted by erstwhile leftist values are not restricted to defense or national security. "Our constituency expresses no reservations when politicking, horse-trading, and backroom deals take place in the context of legislation or policy development," notes the article, "but when the identical activities are conducted by political opponents, the phenomenon suddenly becomes dangerous." It cited myriad examples of religious parties such as Shas promoting the interests of its voters through thoroughly democratic means, thus sparking the ire of STALIN members over religious coercion. Foisting the ideological preferences of the Left on Israeli society, however, can only be seen as beneficial - but the majority of voters have repeatedly thwarted those noble attempts by choosing representatives from the Right.

The cumulative disillusionment has many STALINists arguing in favor of jettisoning democracy unless and until it better serves their purposes, which appears unlikely in the short or medium term, a utilitarian approach with precedent in 1933 Germany.

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