Israel discriminates against Israeli citizens who are not members of the privileged religion and it brutalizes and kills (see these 4 posts for examples:
- What an Israeli soldier testified
- Physicians for Human Rights USA, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the Israeli human rights group B'Tselem all confirm the Israeli policy of targeting civilians
- Zionist Jews killed OTHER JEWS
- Israel Does Target Civilians and Always Has)
"Whenever I hear the statement that Israel is 'the only democracy in the Middle East' I marvel yet again at the power of mythology and miseducation ... Israel is, by definition, a Jewish State. As such, it cannot be simultaneously democratic. It is not a state "ruled by the people" since one fifth of its population is not Jewish and therefore prevented by law from acquiring full citizenship. There is the additional fact that Israel rules over four million Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and annexed East Jerusalem. That these people are denied even the superficial vestiges of democratic government is undeniable.
There are numerous concrete examples of the undemocratic nature of Israeli laws, including the prohibition on land ownership for non-Jews, or of running for political office if you espouse certain views such as that Israel should become truly democratic by being the state of all its citizens. There is the sobering and little known fact that 700 Arab villages in Israel (not the Occupied Territories) are unrecognized by the government. As a result, the inhabitants of these villages have no municipal services, are not included in government censuses, and crucially, are not allowed to vote. They must, however, pay taxes. That these villages are among the poorest and most backward areas in the country (in terms of literacy and birth/death rates, etc.) can be easily surmised.
Widespread discrimination against Arabs exists in all of the professions and at all levels of society. Arabs are underrepresented in academia, in medicine, law, politics, and business. Arab Israelis are among the poorest of the country's population. They are denied key benefits, such as a "retirement" equivalent because they do not serve in the country's military services --indeed are prevented from doing so.
Social and economic discrimination is, of course, anti-democratic, but is in one respect the least of the problems. We know from our own history how Black Americans were --and to a great extent are-- treated, not to mention other ethnic, religious, and political groups within our society. The fact is though, that there are and were mechanisms for internal change. Civil Disobedience is possible in Israel, to an extent. An Affirmative-Action-type program also exists in Israel for Arab Israelis, and yet, as long as the state remains "Jewish" the successes of such a program will be limited. What will happen when, as current demographic trends suggest, the Arab population --not only in Israel but in the Occupied Territories-- begins to outnumber the Jewish population? If the prevailing Israeli state ideology continues, the consequences for Arab Israelis and Palestinians of this natural population shift could be catastrophic. Some might say that such a comment is alarmist; those familiar with current and long-term policies both in the Territories and within Israel understand too well that programs such as "Transfer" in which the Arab populations are forcibly expelled from the region altogether are neither extreme nor unrealizable.
The idea of turning Israel into a single, binational, democratic state has been virtually abandoned by everyone. In part this is because of the unwillingness to accept a truly democratic state, and in part this is because of the unwillingness to accept a secular state. Israel, as has already been noted, is a Jewish state. For some, this is still at least partly a religious term. For most, however, it is an ethnic-ideological term precluding the admission of a Palestinian "co-culture" and, more importantly, of joint Jewish-Palestinian rule.
... the Occupied Territories: the bombings, the shootings, the destruction of civilian homes and businesses, the indiscriminate murder of children and adults, the ubiquitous checkpoints arbitrarily restricting all movement, the walls of "separation", the electric-wire fences, the nightly war outside the windows of people's homes, the 24-hour curfews, the endless power-cuts, the water-shortages, the food shortages, the growing dependence on international food aid as the economies disintegrate, as poverty reaches the 80% mark and unemployment rivals that." - Jennifer Loewenstein, Znet article: Jenin, Lebanon, and the only democracy in the Middle East
This is another good article: Israeli Repression and the Language of Liars: "I’m sorry, but I am over it. As a Jew, I am over it. And if my language seems too harsh here, that’s tough. Because it’s nothing compared to the sickening things said by Israeli leaders throughout the years. [see article for examples] ... democracy? the term is repeatedly used to describe Israel -- as in 'the only democracy in the Middle East.' This, despite the fact that Israel has no constitution; despite the fact that Israel is defined as the state of the Jewish people, providing special rights and privileges to anyone in the world who is Jewish and seeks to live there, over and above longtime Arab residents. This, despite the fact that Israel bars any candidate from holding office who thinks the country should be a secular, democratic state with equal rights for all. This, despite the fact that non-Jews are restricted in terms of how much land they can own, and in which places they can own land at all, thanks to laws granting preferential treatment to Jewish residents." - Tim Wise
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