Is Israel Becoming a Fascist State? - Part I

Consider how the ugly head of fascism has appeared in Israel.

Prof. Paul Eidelberg,

Paul Eidelberg
Paul Eidelberg
What is to be done to stop Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's suppression of freedom of expression and the individual liberty of those who oppose his Disengagement/Expulsion Plan? Consider how the ugly head of fascism has appeared in Israel.

On February 13, 2005, Sharon told his cabinet, "Anyone who speaks or writes against the Disengagement Plan is guilty of incitement." The prime minister of Israel thus went on record saying that the expression of even the slightest opposition to his highly controversial plan is a criminal offense.

The next day Likud Minister of Internal Security Gideon Ezra, in a live interview on Israel Radio, said that people who shout at ministers should be placed under administrative detention - which means imprisoned without trial. Yet, the same Ezra supports releasing Arab terrorists convicted of murdering Israelis.

Moreover, Knesset member Effie Eitam was expelled from the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee by its Likud chairman, Yuval Shteinitz, when Eitam argued with Sharon for accusing parliamentarians of incitement because they opposed his disengagement/expulsion plan.

The same week, Likud Transportation Minister Meir Shetreet (a former justice minister) told Israel Radio that Likud party members are guilty of incitement when they write letters to Likud MKs informing them that future political support for these politicians is dependent on their voting against the withdrawal/expulsion plan.

The Jerusalem Post's star political analyst, Caroline Glick, remarked that in Shetreet's view, it is incitement for constituents to base their support for politicians on the extent to which those politicians advance their interests while in office.

Unfortunately, Ms. Glick failed to point out that, under Israel's parliamentary system, Knesset members - and that means cabinet ministers - are not individually elected by, nor accountable to, any constituency. They are candidates on a party slate and they do not owe their position to the voters in a constituency election. Which means that Israel, unlike almost all countries having democratic elections for the lower or only branch of the legislature, is not, and never has been, a truly representative democracy.

This "incitement craze", and all this talk about assassins, are simply intended to intimidate and silence the national-religious camp, as the Left did before and after the assassination of Yitzchak Rabin - about which the truth has been hidden from the public.

In any event, Sharon is so obsessed with his Disengagement Plan that he denied Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Moshe Ya'alon a one-year extension of his appointment, contrary to precedent and to the utter surprise of the Knesset. Shin Bet (General Security Services) Director Avi Dichter is also being replaced. The reason? Both men testified before the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that the Disengagement Plan would lead to an increase in terrorism.

Sharon's stifling of professional criticism of Disengagement cannot but undermine Israel's security. Sharon wants only yes-men, and that means men of mediocrity or moral cowards. That's why Sharon dismissed ministers from the cabinet who disagreed with him on Disengagement. This is unheard of, especially in a parliamentary form of government in which the prime minister is only first among equals.

Sharon is transforming Israel into a fascist state. The Gush Katif area will be declared a military zone on May 15, which means its 8,000 Jewish residents will be under martial law.

Listen to what Effie Eitam said in the Knesset a few weeks ago: "I must tell you, Mr. Prime Minister - and though you are not honoring us with your presence, the words will certainly reach you - that I have served the country for many years on the battlefield, and during difficult and tense moments, but I have never heard from government elements in the State of Israel such unrestrained incitement as that which was heard from your confidantes and coalition partners this week. 'Break their bones!' your confidantes whispered, and the headlines blared it. Whose bones precisely do you intend to break, Mr. Prime Minister? Those of little children? Pregnant women? Civilian protestors?"

Eitam also referred to an article by Labor MK and former minister Ephraim Sneh, a doctor bound by the Hippocratic Oath. Sneh wrote that "it won't be so bad if we have a little civil war and some blood will be spilt." Eitam accused Sharon of wanting a second Altalena.

So, what can be done to stop the fascist dictatorship descending on Israel?

[Part 1of 2]

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