Haaretz has released an article concerning the pro-Palestinian fly-in activists who have been blocked from travelling to Israel. Another article, published by Maan News Agency, mentioned that Israel sent a letter to those pro-Palestinian activists who have been denied entry in Israel on their way to Palestine. Here is what it says according to them:
You could have chosen to protest the Syrian regime’s daily savagery against its own people, which has claimed thousands of lives,” the letter read. “You could have chosen to protest the Iranian regime’s brutal crackdown on dissent and support of terrorism throughout the world.”
“But instead you chose to protest against Israel, the Middle East’s sole democracy … We therefore suggest that you first solve the real problems of the region, and then come back and share with us your experience. Have a nice flight.
Now let us say, for purely argument’s sake, that Israel is a fully functioning democracy. I am not even going to dispute that here, but there is something that is very worrying about this kind of attitude.
Firstly, it reminds me of Europe during the colonial times. “We are civilized, they are not, we are showing them the way and we have a right to”, this way of thinking has not really changed as you can see from this letter, as it has a very similar angle. So I would like to ask a few questions…
1. So if it is wrong for Syria to take thousands of lives, what about you Israel? Can you remind us what happened from before your creation until now? What of Qibya, Deir Yasin, Haifa and Tantura? What of the King David Hotel bombing and the Lavon Affair? Can you remind us of the casualties in the 1982 invasion of Lebanon and the Sabra and Shatila massacre as your minister of defence stood and watched? What about the first and second Intifada, followed by operation Cast Lead in Gaza? These are only from the top of my head, Israel, but I would love an answer.
2. If it is wrong to crack down on dissenters, can you tell me why you won’t let professors like Norman Finklestein and Noam Chomsky into Israel? If Israel is meant to be a Jewish democracy and a safe haven for Jews, then why can’t Norman Finklestein, whose parents were holocaust survivors, come back? Is it because you have a larger Zionist political agenda? Don’t you remember how in the first Intifada, you would sent little children to military court just for carrying a Palestinian flag? What about the peaceful protests in Palestinian villages and the 180 deaths committed by your forces in the past year? Can you tell us about your treatment of Arab members of your Knesset/parliament?
There are a lot of questions, I know, but I genuinely want to know the answer. But I noticed how many people who use the argument of Israel being the only democracy don’t deny the atrocities I mentioned among others, atrocities that are historical fact. It seems that people are placing democracy on a pedestal, something to sacrifice everything for unquestionably, something infallible…it kind of begins to sound very similar to the concept of a partisan God.
But here is the thing. We despise dictatorships because people can’t make any decisions, it is just down to one man or one political party taking every single matter into their own hands. However, if people are fooled by straight up lies , then what happens? A dictator is a person or a group of people, and the common people are people too. What use is democracy if you lie to the average voter, make them irrationally fear something or is completely misinformed or deceived by a certain policy? If the government was willing to lie to us about something, how can we ever trust them again, as voters, and how can we function properly?
Am I asking for a total reform of democracy? Maybe I am. Am I saying I have an amazing solution? No I am not. But what I definitely want is the worship of “democracy” to be taken down a notch. If you pride yourself on being a liberal democracy, then you should not close your ears to this article and be open minded about it, lest you be a hypocrite.