Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Netanyahu Fails the Litmus Test of Democracy

Bibi Attempts to Bar Moshe Feiglin from Likud MK List.

For all MK Netanyahu's "American" style, flair and excellent command of the English language, he totally fails the Litmus test of Democracy, by attempting to bar Moshe Feiglin from running as an MK on the Likud party list for the upcoming Knesset election.

In a pathetic attempt to rid Feiglin from the Likud, Channel Two news reported this evening that Netanyahu would try to modify Likud party bylaws to prevent any person convicted of a crime in the past 10 years, from party membership -- specifically to oust Feiglin from running.

Feiglin was convicted of sedition against the State of Israel in 1997, for organizing the passive civil disobedience movement "Zo Artzeinu" which demonstrated against the Oslo accords in 1995. He served a 6 month community service sentence.

Feiglin's support exists not only in the settlement communities, but throughout all Israel, and received 9% of the vote in Netanya, 17% in Haifa, and was second place in Jerusalem.

As head of the Manhigut Yehudit faction within the Likud, Feiglin's platform, was based on 4 major planks: preserving Judea and Samaria, family values, education and court reform.

For Netanyahu to attempt to oust Feiglin is as big a failure in democracy, as it was for Sharon to ignore the 67% vote of the Likud membership against the Disengagement.

You may not agree with Feiglin or Manhigut Yehudit, but since 1997, Feiglin has done everything by the book. He registered for the party, did the grunt work of signing up thousands of paying Likud members, had 130 central committee members elected, and ran in the Likud leadership race receiving close to 13%. I guess Bibi would rather use the Labor/Mapai method of getting rid of his political opponents, instead of respecting the rules of fair play and democracy.

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael


Tovya @ Zion Report said...

and moreover, he would destroy what little is left of the likud by succeeding in banning feiglin.

Irina Tsukerman said...

That's ridiculous! Don't they have any organizations interested in protecting democracy?

ifyouwillit said...

Democracy, in Israel? Well, yes, we can vote, but other than that, it's all a bit of a shambles.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Israel's democracy allows you to chose your own dictator every 4 years.

westbankmama said...

Gam Zu L'tova - At this point this will give Manhigut more publicity, and will get more people to sign up for the Likud. Jews are very stubborn people, and when you say to them, "you CAN'T do that", they go ahead anyway.

rockofgalilee said...

It is being done in a democratic fashion. You may disagree with it. But if he puts it on the ballot and the majority of the people in the party vote for it, you can't say it is not democratic.

Democracy does not equal morality.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Rock: You are correct in a literal sense.

The results of Israeli Democracy without a constitution mean that there is no legal protection for the minority. The Israeli Left and Supreme Court protect the Arabs, but there was no one to protect the Gush Katif people.

3 people in a boat, 2 vote to throw the 3rd overboard. His dissenting opnion is ignored since he has no constitutional rights...and he gets thrown to the dogs.

Thats why I'm pro-constitution in Israel...

rockofgalilee said...

A constitution won't help as long as people determine the laws.

That's why I'm pro monarchy based on the laws of the Torah.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Rock: I'm with you on the monarchy.

Till that works out, I'm looking for second best. I hope to post more about the constitution in the coming weeks (probably after Chanuka)

Anonymous said...

It's clearly a hatchet job on Feiglin, but as a matter of principle I think it's fair enough (not that that is what Bibi is doing). After the disgrace that was the 16th Kenesset, with some 10% of MK's embroiled in legal shenanigans of one sort of another to set some basic moral/legal standard for potential parlimentarians seems fair enough to me (especially for the Likud who seem to have more than their fair share of dodgyness about them). How long will it take though till this rule bites Bibi on the bottom?!?!

Yellow Boy

A Simple Jew said...

So now who are you going to vote for?

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

ASJ: Let's see if Bibi manages to pass his new proposed legislation on Sunday evening at the Central Committee meeting.

Josh said...

A monarchy doesn't guarantee things will go well either. It's as good or bad as the monarch. And we've had plenty of terrible ones in the past. I'm not sure why the Torah ever prescribed such a dangerous system.

As for a constitution, that seems like the kind of thing to be made up in good times (i.e., when the the lawmakers have a positive, idealistic, and fair outlook) for worse times ahead. I'm afraid it might be too late for Israel. Why would the same group of lawmakers that currently abuse the minority create a document to protect them?

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Josh: The Knesset has been trying to get a Constitution drawn up for a while. More on this after Chanuka :-)

Greg said...

"Jameel": I liked your description of Israeli democracy vis-a-vis the "boat incident". VERY ACCURATE SADLY.

As for a monarchy vs. democracy debate I feel heating up here I'm all for a monarchy. That's the basic advantage the Arabs have over us. Look at Jordan. They have a liberal yet very strong leader. As a consequence Jordanians are, or at least seem to be united, whatever the issue.

If the Jews would ever learn from history-no matter what political system-on the other hand, nothing and no one could stop us. And whenever war threatens seems just about the only time we unite and kick the preverbial Arab ass(sorry 'bout the language)

To sum things up, Jews lack three key ingredients: unity,knowledge of history, and a sense of loving oneself as one's neighbor.

Be'tikva, Eitan.

Josh said...

Hi Jameel, I'm aware of that, but it's only those MKs present at the end of the process who get to approve it or reject it, not all the previous ones. Anyway, I'll wait till after Chanukah for more.

rockofgalilee said...

I agree that you have the same potential for danger in a monarchy, but it can be a lot less corrupt. Since there is an absolute rule who doesn't need to "wheel and deal" in order to get things done, he is not held hostage by the system.
To get $10 for education, he does not have to compromise his stance on military spending.

Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

A constitution won't help as long as people determine the laws.
That's why I'm pro monarchy based on the laws of the Torah.

Uhm... the laws of the Torah don't come out fully-formed from the text itself; they're shaped by the rulings of individual halakhic decisors, who end up having very different ideas from each other as to what the halakha needs to be. Can you imagine all the bickering "gedolim" agreeing on one set version of the Laws of Kings halakha lema‘aseh? In order to get there, there sure would be just as much wheeling-and-dealing as you get in a parliamentary democracy.

Maybe the problem is the type of democracy. Get an American system, where the citizens actually have representatives accountable to them, and maybe it'd work better. (not that the USA system is perfect either, though)

I am exceedingly wary about instituting anything resembling a monarchy before a suitable mashiahh has been tried and proven by his own actions. If you look in the Tanakh, there were very very few actually good kings. And kings can do some very bad things to people... what if the king disagrees with your politics?

YMedad said...

(via the UK where I am at the Limmud Conference) I always thought Feiglin had a better chance of taking over Meretz. With the money and effort he mobilized, and with Meretz being such a smaller party, I thought for sure that would be a better target.

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