Published by The Freeman Center
The Maccabean Online
Political Analysis and Commentary
Trivial Demonstrations versus Political Revolution*
Prof. Paul Eidelberg
The December 9 protest demonstration against the Government’s 10-month freeze on Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria lacks a positive revolutionary goal. Admittedly, to speak of a political revolution in Israel is like tilting at windmills.
The mentality of most Israelis, including opponents of the government, is thoroughly bourgeois and democratic. Because bourgeois democrats are primarily motivated by the desire for comfort and security, they are politically moderate on the one hand, and constitutionally opposed to the hazards of revolution on the other.
Moreover, a large percentage of these democrats are Jewish humanists, the most anti-revolutionary species imaginable. They practice what Christians preach: "love your enemies," "turn the other cheek," "do not resist evil." Of course they are terribly fearful of “world opinion.”
Some ten thousand Jews have been murdered or maimed by Arab terrorists since Oslo 1993—thanks to the government’s policy of “self-restraint.” Nevertheless, Jews look upon the government’s complicity in murder with bewilderment and resignation. To expect revolution from such Jews is to expect lambs to metamorphose into lions.
Besides, the government controls all the levers of power: military, economic, the media, etc. When to all this you add the “legitimacy” accorded the government by its undeserved reputation as a “democracy,” talk of revolution in this country appears futile.
Not that most Israelis support the government’s policy of territory for peace or its 10-month freeze on Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria. But few know what to do about these cowardly policies. Since Oslo, amateurs have squandered hundreds of thousands of dollars on demonstrations, full-page ads, law suits, and other efforts against the government’s treachery.
The leaders of these demonstrations have learned nothing from these negative and politically uninspiring demonstrations. On the other hand, notice how they foreswear “violence” and thereby inform the repressive forces of government they will not cross the lines of what is deemed “legitimate” in a “democracy.” Why say anything? Why not let the government worry about the scope of your intentions?
Besides, isn’t there a vast disproportion between the placid character of Israeli demonstrations and the suicidal consequences of the government’s territorial policies? These demonstrations trivialize the government’s semi-fascist character.
Contrast the revolutionary protests against the Iranian government when Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stole the presidential election of June 12 of this year. Why wasn’t there an equivalent revolutionary protest against the Likud government when Ariel Sharon adopted Labor’s policy of unilateral disengagement, a policy rejected by no less than 70 percent of the public in the January 2003 election?
True, Iran is not a reputed democracy. But this suggests that Israel’s democratic reputation underlies the futility or political vacuity of demonstrations against the government’s defeatist policies.
There was not even a milk-and-toast demonstration against Netanyahu’s June 14 speech at Bar-IlanUniversity, when, without public or Knesset debate, he endorsed the establishment of an Arab-Islamic state in Judea and Samaria. Six months later, it required his 10-month freeze on Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria to produce another futile demonstration, which makes Israelis look anemic compared to the Iranians risking their lives still protesting against Ahmadinejad’s purloined election.
It seems that countless Jews in this country have been emasculated by the myth of Israeli democracy. They do not see that Israel has a “prime ministerial” form of government virtually equivalent to a democratically elected dictatorship.
Israeli prime ministers can betray the nation with impunity, without fear of impeachment or removal by the Knesset. In fact, no Israeli prime minister, or no Likud-led, or Labor-led, or Kadima-led government has ever been toppled by a Knesset vote of no confidence! The Knesset is a cipher. Thus, if the SYSTEM is so designed as to render the Knesset as well as the cabinet immune to public opinion, protest demonstrations in this country are laughable: they even foster the myth of Israeli democracy!
Still, people wonder why there has been no revolution in Israel. They see that one government after another has betrayed the country, has yielded or offered Jewish land to Israel’s implacable enemies who openly proclaim their commitment to wiping Israel off the map.
This genocidal objective is conspicuous not only in the maledictions of Ahmadinejad. It is not only conspicuous in the Charter of the PLO-Palestinian Authority, which calls for “the complete liberation of Palestine.” It is not only conspicuous in the Hamas Charter, which states: "Israel will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it." No, this Islamic commitment, rooted in the Quran, is also conspicuous in the tourist maps of Egypt which, despite that country’s 1979 peace treaty with Israel, continue to depict the Land of Israel as “Palestine.”
So people wonder why Israelis tolerate governments which, since Oslo, have illegally released and armed more than 7,000 Arab terrorists, many of whom have gone on to murder and maim more Jewish men, women, and children! They wonder why the people of Israel did not even demonstrate against Netanyahu’s endorsement of an Arab-Islamic state in Israel’s heartland, a state that would require the expulsion of 300,000 Jews from Judea and Samaria!
Of course, public apathy precludes revolution. But something more subtle is at work here. What precludes revolution in this country is not only the myth of democracy. Also operative is the deliberate obfuscation of the enormity of evil confronting Israel—the evil inherent Islam’s 1,400-year “Culture of Hate”—as Bat Ye’or has put it. Islam’s clash with Western civilization has been obscured or trivialized not only by Israeli prime ministers. Countless academics and journalists are ignorant of the pathological aspects of Islamic culture courageously exposed by Syrian-born psychiatrist Dr. Wafa Sultan.
Binyamin Netanyahu is a prime example of obscurantism. When he addressed a joint session of the American Congress in 1996, he gratuitously denied a clash of civilizations in the Middle East. But how can any candid and sensible person write about Arab terrorism, as Netanyahu has, and fail to discern its primary cause, namely Islamic education. One does not have to be as learned as Bat Ye’or to know that Islam’s Culture of Hate dominates the Middle East. (Ignore Barack Obama—Muslim or not—because his anti-American agenda precludes his being candid about Islam.)
It’s reasonable to assume that Netanyahu agrees with the assessment of former head of Israel Intelligence Professor Y. Harkabi, who not only described Islam as an expansionist creed animated by jihad, but also documented the mendacity and murderous Jew-hatred engrained in Arab culture.
Since this must be known to Netanyahu, what induced him to support the establishment of an Arab-Islamic state in Israel’s heartland? That he laid down the condition that such a state must be demilitarized indicates he is at least aware of the militant and expansionist nature of Islam. But he disregards or minimizes what Wafa Sultan sees in Islam: how its education dehumanizes women and brutalizes men; how it exults in death, and how the Quran’s commandment to hate Jews has ever been the daily diet of Muslim children. Hence, Netanyahu’s wish to negotiate with the Palestinians is senseless or an effort to mollify Barack Obama as well as an exercise in mendacity.
These derogatory remarks may also be applied to other Israeli prime ministers and cabinet ministers. Is it any wonder that the people of Israel are confused having so many liars and lemmings making the policies of their government? Is it not obvious that mere demonstrations will not remedy Israel’s malaise? Is it not obvious that nothing less than regime change or a constitutional revolution will be necessary to save Israel?
The first stage in this revolution is to demonstrate that the people of Israel have been disempowered by their system of governance. You must expose the impotence of the Knesset vis-a-vis the government. You must reveal the pernicious consequences of a Knesset whose members are not individually accountable to the voters in constituency elections. You must state that this lack of accountability enabled 29 MKs to hop over to rival parties in the 1999 election. You must show how this lack of accountability produced Oslo and the disengagement from Gaza—yes, and how it will facilitate the expulsion of 300,000 Jews from Judea and Samaria. You must also show that multiparty cabinet government is the seedbed of corruption in Israel.
Therefore, you must form a team of talented and courageous individuals who have not been part of the Establishment, a team that will drive this message home to the people. Arouse the people to stand up and demand a government based on the primacy of Jewish ideas and on classical republican principles. Only this positive goal can make a demonstration against the government more than a tempest in a teapot.
*Edited transcript of the Eidelberg Report, Israel National Radio, December 14, 2009.