One-handed applause for the NY Times’ ‘Israel Picks Identity Over Democracy’

Today’s NY Times carries an interesting column by Max Fisher written in the wake of Israel’s new nationality law. For this flawed column it is very clear that the editors of the NY Times wrote the headline not the writer, as it is so blatantly anti Israel, while the column itself is decidedly more nuanced.

Nevertheless what is important are some facts in the column that are either totally distorted or, at best, discernible only between the lines:

  1. Ben Gurion and his cronies were hardly democrats. They were repressive socialists who stifled Israel’s economy, favored the kibbutzim to the tune of billions, and thwarted the ambitions of anyone who did not carry a red (Histadrut) membership card and vote for one of the leftist coalition parties. What’s more he and his Mapai party severely limited the freedom of Israeli Arabs and treated them like third-class citizens. All of this changed, paradoxically with the advent of so-called right wing government.
  2. The whole notion of what democracy is, as interpreted — and forcefully imposed — by elitist westerners in Berlin, Brussels, Britain and the US, is an intolerable arrogance. This is especially so as their definition of democracy is elastic and evolving, moving more and more towards extreme leftism and denying people everywhere the right to self-determination, ie. to decide who they are especially as connected to the lands in which they live.  Theirs is an imposed globalism that only makes the very rich very richer while denying most people the right to be themselves and to maintain their traditions of flag, currency, religion, language, food, music, art, architecture, lifestyle etc.
  3. This elitist and ever-changing notion of democracy presumes that all cultures are equal and all cultures can be emulsified. The first premise is patently false and offends everyone (even, if not especially, the invaders). The second is empirically (if not a priori) false as evidenced by the (predictably) colossal failure to assimilate Muslims into European societies.

In truth, democracy should mean whatever a given society wants it to mean. For Israel, as now for Italy and the V4 and Romania, and Austria and Russia and Greece it means there is a primary society and a primary religion that defines the nation state, while providing civil liberties to minorities legally living within that society.

For most nation states, this traditional concept of democracy is simply a preference and an understandable preference. For Israel, however, it is an existential necessity, particularly as the bulk of its minority citizens are definitively hostile to the State, and have greater allegiance to Israel’s avowed enemies. Moreover, Israel is surrounded by enemy states that define themselves as Islamic and make no pretense even at democracy, let alone tolerance of any kind for Jews.

Indeed, Israel is the only nation state on the planet whose very existence is not universally accepted, and whose continued existence is being threatened in real time by powerful adversaries.  And the problem is compounded by the reality that not only is Israel under threat, but that the arrogant globalist democrats are very happy to be in bed with the very parties that threaten Israel’s existence as well international security. For such is the nature of globalist business which is so integral to the EU’s imposed idea of democracy.

But back to the original issue, that a handful of self-selected, know-it-all elitists can “dictate” (I know this is absurdly ironic, but oh so true) what “democracy” means is an outrage. Hence there should be no surprise at the rise of populism and the reflexive rejection of this imposed definition. It is why Trump is US president. It is why Putin is a far more effective global leader than Angela Merkel. It is why the V4, Italy and so many other EU members states are rejecting the dictates of Brussels which is merely the puppet of Germany. It is why hundreds of millions of people throughout the US and Europe are rising to reject the new world order despite lacking any media ownership, despite not controlling the universities, despite not having a Hollywood echo chamber to give them a voice. This is truly amazing. THIS IS GENUINE DEMOCRACY — The vox populi making itself heard everywhere to reject an imposed pseudo-democracy that serves no one’s interests other than that a small self-serving and self-anointed elite.

Yes, read Max Fisher’s article in the Times. But read it critically, and bear in mind the points I raise. Because the global populist backlash is not a flash in the pan. It is best to understand it and, indeed, even to celebrate it.

About the Author
J.J Gross is a veteran creative director and copywriter, who made aliyah in 2007 from New York. He is a graduate of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and a lifelong student of Bible and Talmud. He is also the son of Holocaust survivors from Hungary and Slovakia.
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