Saturday, November 15, 2008

Contrast and Compare:

Arab Racism and Israel's against-all-the-odds democracy, as described by Prof. Ira Sharkansky, of Shark Blog:

One of the questions that bother political scientists is, "Why is Israel a democracy?"

We can put aside the minority of tendentious scholars who insist that Israel is not a democracy, due to how it treats its minorities, or due to its treatment of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. Such scholars do not compare Israeli Arabs with American minorities, or those of Western Europe; and they do not compare Israel's policies toward the West Bank and Gaza with Americans' behavior toward Iraq and Afghanistan.

Israel scores high on scales of democracy that measure the incidence of free and critical media, political competition, peaceful transition between those who lose and those who win elections, and the access of minorities to the voting booth and parliament.

On the basis of international comparisons, Israel should not have developed as a democracy.

And one likely explanation suggested is:

".. a theme in Jewish culture and religion: the support for criticism. The theme is prominent in the Biblical prophets, who were less concerned with predicting the future than with criticizing the kings, priests, other elites, and one another. Jews view those critics as messengers from the Almighty, worthy of inclusion in religious ritual.

[...] Jesus followed the prophetic tradition with his shrill criticism of established elites. He resembled countless generations of Jewish nudniks who have not tolerated existing practices, and have made life difficult for their teachers and other contemporaries. If Jesus' disciples had not taken his lessons as the basis of a competing religion after his death, and given him the flavor of anti-Jewishness, he might have been enshrined in the Hebrew Bible as yet another prophet who expressed the ideals of those who came before him.

.... Among the explanations of Israeli democracy, however, may be traits of Jews that others have found difficult. We are quarrelsome and critical, and do not lightly accept authority or established conventions. Success in business, science, and the arts may also derive from the same characteristics.


At 4:51 PM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The synagogue is also an important inculcator of democratic conciousness. It is there that Jews learn that disputes are resolved by judicial means. It is there that Jews learn that disagreements are engaged by debate and persuasion. And it is there that Jews learn that acquiring authority and positions of power is done by campaigning and mobilising support.

Of course, not all synagogues and religious streams adhere to all these ideals (or even any of them!).

At 1:32 PM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Obama is a loose cannon, and unknown quantity, that wasnt properly vetted by the press in the 2 year election cycle who has changed his position a myriad of times, disavowed America hating pastors of 20 years that 2 weeks prior he said he could never disown, and paling around with far Left terrorists which launched his political carreer.

Looks like he is going to keep much of Bush's intelligence directives(harsh interogation, secret prisons), and now he is flip flopping on Israel once again.

Obama will back Saudi peace plan

Enjoy the spectacle.

At 3:33 PM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you are the one to derive rich enjoyment if anything truly bad should happen to Israel.

And so you should, considering your opinion which you expressed in a recent comment you left on that other message board which you frequent:

"Its sad that Israeli Jews didnt learn from their experience as a minority, and now treat minorities in their country like shit, and have racist policies designed to disempower the other.
Sad sacks."


At 5:57 PM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jeremiah Wright explained in a recent interview how his preaching has been misrepresented.

In one sermon, he explained the meaning of Psalm 137 - "By the river of Babylon we sat and wept..." - and pointed out that the Psalm ends with a violent curse - "I shall rejoice when their (the Babylonians) infants' skulls are pulverized...". The ending, according to Wright, is a lesson for all the oppressed, to avoid the temptation to exact revenge and to hate.

I think the whole Wright question deserves reexamination.

At 7:12 PM EST, Blogger The Contentious Centrist said...

I don't see how your comment relates to the subject of this post. Is this the beginning of the rehabilitation Reverend Wright?

How soon after January 20, can we expect Reverend Wright to be received as an honoured guest at the White House?

At 5:07 PM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was just taking digs at "the other poster."

But the actual point is more clever than the comment on its face...pretty surprising from a sloped forehead knuckle-dragger from the American South.



I suppose you "got it," from the smiley face.


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