Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Abandoned principles, and fascism as democracy

by Lurker

Today, Defense Minister Ehud Barak made good on his threat to punish R. Eliezer Melemed, head of the Har Bracha Hesder Yeshiva. R. Melamed had previously expressed support for soldiers who dared to protest against the use of the army to evict Jews and destroy their homes. After Barak threatened to retaliate by revoking the status of R. Melamed's institution as a Hesder Yeshiva, R. Melamed flip-flopped, and signed a statement along with all the other heads of Hesder yeshivot, condemning such protests by soldiers.

Apparently, however, that statement didn't make much of an impression on Barak. In a speech today in Petah Tikva, Barak ignored the statement, and announced that he was ending the Hesder status of Yeshivat Har Bracha.

A few reflections:
  • Barak's actions here should not come as a surprise to anyone.

  • R. Melamed deserves this. He abandoned his principles by signing a statement in which he obviously doesn't believe -- something that is almost always a misguided course of action, ethically -- and often practically, as well.

    R. Melamed tried to save the status of his yeshiva by sacrificing his integrity. As a result, he now has neither.

    He still has a small chance to salvage the former, and a few shreds of the latter, if he resigns.

  • It is simply incredible to read Barak's description of what he calls "the foundations of a democratic state":

    • "a monopoly on the use of force"
    • "the state's authority over the citizens" [yes, really]

    It can hardly be gainsaid that these two points are actually the foundations of a fascist state. In fact, the second point -- the state's authority over the citizens -- is the very core essence of fascism.

    Old-fashioned, naive people such as myself once believed that democracy was the citizens' authority over the state. But apparently, we had it all backwards.

  • Best of all is Barak's amazing description of what he calls "the true basis of democracy":

    "When a state reaches the place in which it needs to enforce the law on citizens, it has no choice but to use its army. This instruction must also be carried out and obeyed, this is the true basis of democracy."

    There you have it: The use of the army against a state's own citizens, and the resulting imperative to obey orders, constitute -- according to Ehud Barak -- "the true basis of democracy".

    Taken as a whole, Barak's points describe fascism to a tee:

    1. The supremacy of the state over the individual
    2. The usage of the military against the state's own citizens
    3. The absolute imperative to obey the state's orders, even at the expense of obeying one's conscience

    Barak has not only outlined the core principles of fascism as his model for how our state should be run -- he also has the shameless, unmitigated gall to label it "democracy".


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19 comments:

NormanF said...

Israeli citizens should resist Barak's edict. A government that seeks to strip of them of their rights has lost its legitimacy and is owed neither their consent nor their obedience.

ProfK said...

Might we consider that Barak is exhibiting early signs of senile dementia/alzheimers? A failure to connect words to their true definitions, a failure to use words correctly is one of the symptoms. Such clearly discombobulated thinking and speaking definitely points to a pathology being present.

Menashe said...

Remind you of the Democratic Republic of Congo or the Democratic Republic of Korea (NK) or the Democratic Socialists (Germany until 1945)?

Not that I'm drawing comparisons..

LI Reader said...

You said exactly what had to be said. Thank you!

nana said...

Oh my gosh - incredible. And let me guess. . .the leftists are okay with this? I realize that Israel is a unique country with different needs, but come on. How can the use of the army against its citizenry be considered democratic?

JoeSettler said...

Barak the dictator has given Har Bracha students given 60 days to find new Yeshiva or serve 3 years with no Yeshiva. I wonder what will happen within the next 60 days.

Mikewind Dale said...

Barak's fascist definition of democracy is nothing new; this is old news for the Left.

See Re'aya Epstein's appendix to Feiglin's Where There are No Men / Bimqom She'ein Anashim, where she discusses this misuse of democracy at length. See my lengthy quotation of her <a href = "http://www.jewcy.com/post/why_i_wont_serve_idf</a>here</a>

Mikewind Dale said...

Grrr.

here

Anonymous said...

Regarding Rav Melamed's so-called "flip-flop", when the banner-hanging began Rav Melamed said that had the soldiers first consulted with him he would have advised them not to do it. The army is not a place for demonstrations. Also, the soldiers should not be put into a situation where they are given orders to expel Jews. So being that the soldiers already went ahead and did it, he supports their message. These statements are consistent with what the document that he and the other Hesder rabbis signed. So, please, let's have more respect for Rav Melamed!

jonathan becker said...

terrific post. it reflects many of my own thoughts upon seing the headlines this morning and reading barak's words. you're right, we shouldn't be surprised, we know barak's character. but i'm still shocked.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Lurker: Remember another labor party hack who said: "We will crush them!"

(referring to passive disobedient demonstrators who dared to criticize the Oslo process)

Lurker said...

ProfK: Might we consider that Barak is exhibiting early signs of senile dementia/alzheimers?

No, not really. As Mikewind Dale correctly pointed out, Israeli leftists have been mischaracterizing authoritarian and fascist policies as "democracy" for years now. Barak's statements here are merely a particularly egregious example of this.

Lurker said...

Anonymous @ 10:38 AM: Regarding Rav Melamed's so-called "flip-flop", when the banner-hanging began Rav Melamed said that had the soldiers first consulted with him he would have advised them not to do it. The army is not a place for demonstrations.

This is not consistent with the information I have seen. See, for example, R. Melamed's comments cited here: He implicitly acknowledges that he had supported the banner-hanging protests, and claims that he signed the document contradicting that position because he has "taken into account the majority opinion amongst the Hesder rabbis". If he had actually opposed the protests from the start, as you say, then he would have no need to offer such an excuse, since his opinion would then be identical to "the majority opinion amongst the Hesder rabbis".

ProfK said...

Lurker,
The senile dementia comment was meant sarcastically.

Anonymous said...

Lurker,
Rav Melamed's comments upon which I based my post may be read here:
http://www.inn.co.il/Besheva/Article.aspx/8828/1
(see 2nd page, "Hasipur Ha Maleh")

Lurker said...

To Anonymous: Thank you for bringing that to my attention. This leaves a dilemma, of course, since I certainly don't see how R. Melamed's statments in that article can reconciled with the ones attributed to him in the item I cited earlier. I will continue looking into this.

Anonymous said...

As Mikewind Dale correctly pointed out, Israeli leftists have been mischaracterizing authoritarian and fascist policies as "democracy" for years now.

It's like a cornerstone of liberal belief, to be all-accepting, open-minded, interested in sharing ideas.... except with someone who isn't a liberal. Yet don't dare call them closed-minded because of it.

Sounds like playground bullies to me.

RZ said...

Rabbi Eliezer Melamed responds to accusations:
http://groups.google.com/group/YHBN/browse_thread/thread/6dc29aca9d674ceb?hl=en#

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