IS ISRAEL BECOMING A FASCIST STATE?

By Prof. Paul Eidelberg

February 5, 2005

What is to be done to stop Prime Minister 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 appeared in Israel last week.

On February 13 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 like Kach activist Itamar Ben-Gvir, who yell 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 Effi 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.

Also last week, Likud Transportation Minister Meir Shitreet (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 gifted Jerusalem Post columnist Caroline Glick remarked that in Shitreet's view it's 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, or 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 Yitzhak Rabin -- the truth about which 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 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 of terrorism.

Prof. Paul Eidelberg is a member of the Board of Directors of the Freeman Center For Strategic Studies.


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