Chazan: Democracy is Not Majority Rule
Democracy used to be about the will of the majority. This was softened by constraining the will of the majority making it subservient to the rights of minority. What should be included in these rights are the subject of debate. Chazan goes much further making democracy synonymous with the status of these rights. For her, the more these rights are realized, the greater, the democracy. Put another way, she negates the will of the majority. For instance, it doesn’t matter if a dictator is in power. So long as he protects the minority rights his government is a democracy. The majority no longer has a say. Perhaps she only negates the right of the majority to rule only in matters of minority rights. For her, they are sacrosanct. But this is not so simple. The most important of these rights is the right to be treated equally i.e., not to be discriminated against. But if the Majority want the state to be a Jewish state, however this is defined, and a minority say that such a state violates its rights, should not the state have the right to make itself so. There are many similar examples. For instance should not the state have the right to defend itself by infringing on the rights of the minorities when warranted. Lets hear from my readers. Ted Belman
Naomi Chazan ends her term as New Israel Fund president, is replaced by Brian Lurie.
Naomi Chazan has ended a tumultuous term as president of New Israel Fund (NIF), which leads the ultra-leftist camp in Israel through the use of neo-Marxist tactics and public advocacy “rights groups,” and the promotion of “politically correct” Newspeak. The Fund has disbursed well over $200 million in its 23 years of existence.
In her farewell speech at the New Israel Fund’s 2012 Guardian of Democracy Dinner in San Francisco last week, Chazan used Newspeak to describe the current state of events in Israel as a “tug-of-war” between the “neo-nationalist” camp in Israel and the “democratic revival” of “civil society.”
Chazan made it clear that in her view, “democracy” does not refer to majority rule and that she sees Israel’s democratically elected government as ruling only “on the formal level.”
“When you ask Israelis today what is the best form of government in the world – it is democracy,” she said. “But when you ask Israelis what is democracy, over 50% say ‘majority rule.’ That should get you worried. Very much so. The democratic recession has led to a neo-nationalist upsurge in Israel, which is hegemonic. It rules on the formal level.”
“Neo-nationalist Israel is doing very well at the formal level,” she added, noting that the coalition has 94 MKs at present.
Chazan said: “There is a neo-nationalist crackdown now. It deals with settlements and women: women’s faces, women’s voices, women’s status, women’s prayers… It deals with incitement against foreigners and against minorities within Israel. And this neo-nationalist crackdown is trying to silence the media. It is very difficult. Just this past weekend, protesters were harassed on social change issues, and they were carrying banners – ‘we want democracy.’”
She then explained what true democracy means, in her eyes. “The struggle against racism is a struggle for democracy. The struggle against xenophobia is a struggle for democracy. The struggle against gender discrimination is a struggle for democracy. The struggle against homophobia is a struggle for democracy.”
Chazan was the focus of an aggressive nationalist campaign in 2010 by grassroots Zionist group Im Tirtzu, which blamed the NIF for assisting the Goldstone Commission in libeling Israel over the Cast Lead counter-terror operation.
Chazan is replaced as NIF president by Brian Lurie, who was CEO of the San Francisco Jewish Federation for 17 years and has been involved in advancing Arab-Jewish relations.