Thursday, January 29, 2009

Democracy and its Application

Israel has decided to ban two Arab political parties from standing in the forthcoming elections.
Members of the the new Meretz alignment reacted angrily to the decision.

"Labor and Kadima's position is a declaration of war on Israel's Arab citizens," a party member said. "Do Barak and Livni really prefer blocking Israel's Arabs' right to parliamentary activity and driving them to street demonstrations?"

"Every time a clear statement to ensure basic civil rights of the Arab minority is required, Labor and Kadima choose to side with the radical right wing for populist motives, to deprive the Arabs of their fundamental democratic rights," party chairman Haim Oron said.

Arab lawmakers Ahmed Tibi and Zahalka, political rivals who head the two Arab blocs in the Knesset, joined together in condemning yesterday's decision.

"It was a political trial led by a group of fascists and racists who are willing to see the Knesset without Arabs and want to see the country without Arabs," said Tibi.
Isn't one of the marks of a democracy allowing any qualified person freedom to stand for election? Banning political parties that claim to represent a vital demographic of the country is anti-democratic and verges on the authoritarian. It's just a wrong thing to do.

*** UPDATE ***

The ban has now been overturned. There is more information here. But there will probably be appeals and counter appeals at least until the election.And that should be the end of the matter.

Thanks to Will.


Thanks to the commenter formerly SIAW.


Will said...

see here -- was overturned later,7340,L-3659935,00.html

Still -- the original decision doesn't say a lot for Israeli society seeing as the Commission produced such shit in the first place, and the fact that Likud, Labor and Kadima tacitly went along with Lieberman's shit is appalling.

Neil said...

Thanks for the update.

Must learn to check my sources!

News hot in: Queen Victoria is dead.

Anonymous said...

I don't know why you write that "there will probably be appeals and counter appeals at least until the election". The High Court of Justice is just the name for the Israeli Supreme Court when it's making decisions on constitutional issues like this one, so (AFAIK) there cannot be any appeals.
True, the right-wing nutters may try, as the ynet article says, to get the ban made into a law, but (fingers crossed) they may well lose seats in the election and lose the capacity to push it further.
It *was* appalling, and depressing, that the ban ever got as far as it did, but the fact that it has been struck down gives some grounds for optimism - at least about this issue, if not about much else in the region.
- Commenter Formerly Known as SIAW

Anonymous said...

If you truly believed in democracy you would also object to the banning of right-wing parties such as Kach.