29. No Arab state has democracy

Recently, this newspaper has printed several letters stating the Arab viewpoint of Israeli democracy, each one of course very critical and condemning Israel.

No doubt it has its flaws, but taken from the perspective of the entire gulf region, it takes on a different coloring. Within that region, there are Arab states that cut off hands of criminals caught stealing. There are still countries where women haven't any rights at all, where any form of dissent is not permitted, countries where the press cannot criticize the government.

Israel, as it is, has about a dozen newspapers, each with its own viewpoint. It has about nine political parties, each with its own agenda.

A country where every citizen can speak his mind--that is a democracy, flawed as it may be.

These freedoms do not exist in any Arab country. There is no democracy in any Arab state.

Where they permit free speech to be muzzled, they do not deserve a democracy.

In a democracy, the political parties range from extreme left to extreme right, with moderates in between. They all voice opinions, some offering change, some wanting to retain the status quo. That's a democracy. And that's what Israel is.

Fuller Jackson, N. White Plains

May 24, 1991

For a reply see [30]