🤥 Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East.

Answer 1

Yes, Israel has all the trappings of a democracy – elections, separation of powers and political parties – but Israeli democracy completely ignores the spirit of the term. A fundamental tenet of democracy is equality. But Israeli law distinguishes between Israeli nationals – a term applicable to Jews only – and Israeli citizens, the latter encompassing Arabs and Druze. There are many rights, including those of self-determination and return, that are exclusively reserved for nationals, but not citizens. That is not democracy. That is apartheid.

Answer 2

Israel is the only sovereign power between “the river and the sea”, ruling over 14 million or so people – half of whom are Palestinian. Yet over 5 million Palestinians live under a separate legal regime from Jewish Israelis. These Palestinians are systematically denied their basic rights such as the right to vote, to education, to fair trial and due process, and freedom of movement. In other words, Palestinians have no say in a system explicitly designed to deny or curtail their freedom and self-determination, if not their existence.In what universe is that a democracy?

Answer 3

Israel has been cracking down on its citizens, both Palestinian and Jewish, for speaking out against the recent genocide in the Gaza Strip, the occupation and apartheid. The “only” democracy in the Middle East is accusing many of its own citizens of treason for voicing criticism against the genocide. Being anti-occupation is now deemed synonymous with being anti-Israel and anti-Jewish, considered the treasonous stance of an enemy of the state.

Answer 4

As Israeli historian Ilan Pappe argues, “the litmus test of any democracy is the level of tolerance it is willing to extend towards the minorities living in it.” Nothing exemplifies Israel’s failure to pass this test better than the Nation State Law passed in 2018, which reserves the right to self-determination in Israel exclusively to its Jewish population, downgrades Arabic to a “special status” from an official language and establishes Jewish settlement – an act illegal under international law – as a “national value.”

Answer 5

The Law of Return, an Israeli law passed in 1950 and repeatedly amended since, guarantees Jews, their children, grandchildren and their respective spouses’ citizenship. Not only does this law not extend to non-Jewish Israeli citizens, but it stands in stark contrast to the internationally recognized Right of Return, which states that Palestinian refugees should be allowed to return to their homeland and compensated for losses incurred during their forced displacement. But tell me again about Israel’s “democratic” values.

Answer 6

Israeli democracy is akin to the one that existed among whites in apartheid South Africa and the U.S. before women and black people were afforded the right to vote than what we have come to accept as a true democracy today. There are millions of Palestinians under Israel’s effective control shut out of the political process. Palestinians residing in the illegally annexed East Jerusalem are “residents”, not citizens, and can only vote in local and municipal elections but not national ones.