Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Column: More Democracy, Please!

I was approached earlier this week by an activist in Tzfat who is putting together a petition calling for unity between all elements within the national and religious camp. He is planning a huge “Unity Concert” in Tzfat and seeks to get many leaders and rabbis to brainstorm on how to stop the assault on Israel that seems to have as its goal the principles laid out in the Geneva Accords – national suicide in exchange for snuggly European relations.

The next day I read about Benny Elon’s call for a nationalist bloc and it sounded like a good idea – it started to look like everyone was finally beginning to realize that the fate of Israel is at stake and that differences need to be set aside. Consciously or unconsciously, it seemed to me the threat of Geneva was being felt.

Those accords were drawn up without visible government participation (much as the Oslo Accords were) between far left former Justice Minister, Yossi Beilin and Abed Rabbo, long time close associate of Yasser Arafat and co-founder of DFLP -- which carried out a number of terrorist attacks against Israel in the 1970’s.

You may remember Rabbo from back in 2000, when during the negotiations between Ehud Barak and Yasser Arafat at Camp David, Rabbo, then the Information Minister of the PA, made this statement: .

"Israelis will be naïve to think that Palestinians will accept establishing a state on the lands under full control by the PNA up till now in return for an open delay of final-status issues, especially the issues of Jerusalem, settlements and refugees. This belief is ridiculous; I don't know how they can think this way and believe that we can accept such a compromise; we made it clear that the state does not come until full withdrawal."

Geneva cured all of those problems and more for Rabbo. It’s Beilin’s dream; Javier Solano nurtured, endorses, and promotes it; and normal Israelis think it is dead and forgotten when it is not. In fact, it seems that it is very much alive as Sharon drags the country towards assisted suicide while at the same time greeting Solana in Jerusalem this week – the first visit following the expulsion by any foreign dignitary.

That’s life in Israel. You get to vote in an election and then wonder what the government, and not even the government, but ousted left wing politicians are cooking up with terrorists in a “peace plan” someplace in Europe. In the face of EU funding, endorsement and political leverage your vote and the vote of all your countrymen is worth zilch.

The Jewish Establishment even seems to endorse it. How else can one explain how Harold Tanner, the mysteriously selected new chair of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, had Solana give a keynote speech at the Transatlantic Institute -- a project of the American Jewish Committee where Tanner resided as president?

Further questions about the compass that guides the Jewish Establishment today are raised regarding the manner of Tanner’s selection to his new chair. While the Conference of Presidents vote to approve the nominating committee’s recommendation on Tanner found no dissenters, numerous members of the conference simply chose not to vote.

“Why should I vote?” Morton Klein, of the ZOA, asked. “I don’t know Harold Tanner, he never spoke to us, we never had a chance to review his qualifications. There’s something wrong with this process.”

It’s all a big mystery.

Strange that we have such problems all over in doing things democratically, which brings us back to Benny Elon and his call for unity in the national camp.

Paul Eidelberg bashed Elon in the August 29 edition of “The Eidelberg Report.”

“Please consider carefully. If “Disengagement”—I mean the expulsion of Jews from Gaza and northern Samaria—if Disengagement proved anything, it proved that MKs must be individually elected by the voters in regional elections. Just remember, two-thirds of the Likud MKs, who campaigned against Disengagement in 2003 voted for it in 2004!!!

Now, as my colleague Prof. Israel Hanukoglu has pointed out, if you commit a serious traffic violation, you may lose your drivers license for a year. Well, by signing the Sharon-designed coalition agreement after the 2003 election, and by remaining in the Sharon government, Elon—like Effie Eitam and other self-styled nationalists—committed a misdeed far worse than a serious traffic offense.

MKs like Elon should lose their political drivers license. We need new blood in the Knesset, and we need new political traffic laws, by which I mean new parliamentary electoral laws that make MKs and cabinet Ministers ACCOUNTABLE—I repeat, ACCOUNTABLE.”

More democracy, please!


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