Democracy or Ethnocracy?

Yossi Schwartz, ISL, 08.02.2023

While the Zionist army kill every day at least one Palestinians and wounding tens of Palestinians for the fifth Saturday the supporters of the former government of Bennett and of Lapid demonstrated against Netanyahu government focusing on the legislative reform that will weaken the Supreme Court in favor of the Knesset (Zionist parliament) controlled by this government without one word on the war crimes of the apartheid state. The demonstrators waved with the Zionist flags and some carried posters saying: “soldier if the Supreme Court is weakened you may be arrested and brought to trial abroad”.

This time the demonstrations were held in various cities and were smaller.

Some 40,000 people attended the rallies in Tel Aviv, according to the Haaretz daily. Two weeks ago some 100,000 protesters in the coastal city.The newspaper estimated Saturday’s nationwide turnout at 60,000, with at least 10,000 rallying in Haifa, 2,000 in Jerusalem, 2,000 in Ra’anana, and another 2,000 in Kfar Saba. [1]

Opposition leader Yair Lapid attended the rally in Haifa, saying the protesters had come “to save the country. We will fight here in the streets, we will fight in the Knesset, we will fight in the courts, we will save our country, because we refuse to live in an undemocratic country,” Lapid said. [2]

In Tel Aviv, Mayor Ron Huldai told the crowd that “if words end, the actions will begin. We are fighting for our home… a Zionist, Jewish, and democratic state. We fight for our basic beliefs,” he said. [3]

Former police chief Roni Alsheich also addressed the protesters in Tel Aviv, strongly denouncing the proposals being advanced by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition to shake up the judiciary, which include severely curbing the High Court of Justice’s judicial review powers and cementing political control over the appointment of judges. “The proposal amounts to a coup d’etat, no less than that,” Alsheich said. “As an observant [Jew], I must say that there is also nothing Jewish in what is being proposed.” [4]

Professor Zies the vice Rector of Tel-Aviv University criticizes the Palestinians citizens of Israel for not taking part in the protests. He wrote:” Israeli Arabs – present-absent in the opposition. There is something deep and disturbing in the indifference and indifference that the Arab citizens convey regarding the debate going on within Israeli society. This is an unhealthy trend because it denies them the ability to influence, change and advance their status” [5]

But why should the Palestinians join one of the two Zionist camps when both camps support the killing of the Palestinians, and when both groups want democracy for Jews only. Even members of the right-centrist “socialist struggle” section of the ISA not only participated in the racist demonstration but prettified them.

To understand the real split among the Zionists we should examine the democracy that exists in Israel. Israel has never been a liberal democracy but an ethnocracy.

Following the war of 1948 Israel entered a radical stage of territorial restructuring of the Judaization (de-Arabization) program, which destroyed over 500 Palestinian villages. The removal of close to 900,000 Palestinians created large “gaps”’ in the geography of the land, which the authorities were quick to fill with Jewish migrants mostly from Arab states to be used as cheap labor. The frontier kibbutzim (collective rural villages) provided a model for Judaization. The common Zionist ideal were aliyah lakarka (literally “ascent to the land,” i.e., settlement), ge’ulat karka (land redemption), hityashvut, hitnahalut (positive biblical terms for Jewish settlement) Hebrew labor. These slogans were part of the phony claim that the Jews return to their promised land.

Thus, the Zionist settler society was made of three different populations: The Europeans founders of the state, the real winners from the Nakba who got the best Arab houses and the highest position in the economy, the leading positions in the army, medical and educational positions. The new Jewish immigrants from the Arab states who were in the bottom of the social pyramids of the Zionist society who replaced the Palestinians workers and villagers. The third group were the native Palestinians and the foreigners.

However, the gap between the founding generation and the “Sephardi” Jews began to disappear after the war of 1967. Today the gap between Ashkenazi women and Sephardi women is 5% among Ashkenazi men and Sephardi men is 5-10%.

The racist structure of Israel is presented as a liberal democracy because of the existing parliamentary elections and the separation of the legislation, the courts and the government. Ironically these mechanisms have allowed the Sephardi Jews to gain power by supporting the coalition of Netanyahu which irritates and scares the former Ashkenazi in power and who claim that the new ultra-right government is destroying the liberal democracy that never existed in Israel.

In reality what we see is the struggle between two capitalist groups competing for power. The one that won in the war of 1948 and the one who have gained from the war of 1967.

We cannot support any of these groups because they are in support of the ethnocracy based on an apartheid state, for the same reasons that revolutionary Marxists did not support Britain or Germany in WWII.



[2] Ibid

[3] Ibid

[4] Ibid


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