243. Israel is not a democracy


Ralph Krainin (Sep 13), Joe Levy and Laura Lewis (Sep 14) seem to be singing in their letters the same theme and variations: Israel is a democracy; Israel is the only democracy in a region…; Israel is the only true democracy in that region; Israel is a democracy, (the only one in the Middle East). Apologists of Israel in this country obviously have a standing order to repeat ad nauseam that Israel is a democracy, lest anybody forgets this "fact."

A country that discriminates against its own citizens because they do not belong to the state religion is not a democracy. Laura Lewis contends that Israel "has opened its doors to millions of `tired, poor and huddled masses.'" This is true only if they are Jews. If it were true, Israel would have opened its doors to the Palestinians that have been forcibly driven out of their homeland. The few non-Jews who made it to Israel are the exception and are in the hundreds, not millions.

Contrary to what Laura Lewis stated, Israel does not have a constitution and Ms. Lewis is either lying to herself or to the reader. Israel has a set of Basic Laws crafted in a way that it can legally discriminate against its non-Jewish citizens. Even if Israel had a constitution, it doesn't necessary make it a democracy. Many countries have constitutions and are not democracies. Israel would have been one of them

September 19, 2002