Trying to identify the biggest myth is a little like trying to decide which size circle is the most round. But you can’t identify Israel without myths.
Among the list is: A land without a people for a people without a land. Neither side of that is true. More Jews were living outside Israel, with success and respect, than have ever lived in Israel, before or after the establishment of the state. Nor was Palestine a land without people. In fact, Israel brags about ethnically cleansing over 700,000 Palestinians from their homes during the first year of establishing their state of Israel. Without doubt, A land without a people for a people without a land was a big one. But, probably the most significant myth of our day is the claim that Israel is the “only democracy in the Middle East.”
When I think of a democracy, warm feelings come to mind of a nation seeking the best education, health care and well-being of all its citizens. That has certainly been my experience. However, this is not true in Israel and it is even less true for those trapped in the occupied territories of the West Bank and Gaza.
When I think of a democracy I think of a land where every man or woman has the right to vote, where anyone is free to live in any community, buy any home they can afford, to send their children to a school of their choice, to drive on the public highways, use the public library and be cared for in a hospital in case of an emergency.
When I think of a democracy, I do not think of Israel where none of these freedoms are respected. In Israel, half of the people living under its military rule cannot vote,
I can imagine two major parties in Israel’s democracy; The Zionist, the party in power, and the Palestinian “party”. However, in Israel’s democracy, only one of these is privileged. The other, well:
The (privileged) regime allows even the lowest-ranking soldier in the IDF to rule, and ruin their lives. They are helpless if such a soldier, or his unit commander, decides to demolish their homes, or hold them for hours at a checkpoint, or incarcerate them without trial. There is nothing they can do.
Some would say that a democracy has a responsibility to care for the weakest and most needy among them. Ilan Pappe says, “the ‘only democracy in the Middle East’ behaves as a dictatorship of the worst kind.”
Of course, Israel says that all these undemocratic measures are temporary. But, it has been temporary for fifty years, and more. In the meantime, this only democracy in the Middle East continues to brutalize the people under its control, including children, confining them to ghettoes, killing and torturing them in Israeli jails, confiscating their land and stealing their water.
June 20, 2017