The Delusion of Democracy

September 17, 2012 12:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

It is an amazing fact that in most democracies the majority does not effectively rule.

The Israeli ‘New Historian’ Ilan Pappe, analysing the cultural constructs of post Zionist Israel, argues that, for example, the weekly publication Mezad Sheni (News from Within) speaks to ‘minorities’ such as Mizrachi Jews, feminist organisations, Palestinians in Israel, Palestinian opposition groups and so on.

I add these groups up and they make a distinct majority within Israel, and even more so if we include the Occupied Palestinian Territories as part of a bi-national secular state. Just by counting feminists alone, this would give these groups the majority, for it is the duty of every woman to be a feminist. Beware anyone who says otherwise for they are like those exclaiming “I don’t want to sound racist…” then proceed to do precisely that. That is why feminism’s worse enemies are usually us women colluding with our own servitude.

This is an interesting conundrum.

I remember a distressed student of mine asking me during the massacre of Muslims in Yugoslavia why all those who were angry did not get together and stop the criminals perpetrating these crimes against humanity.

I was speechless before her wonderful logic. It reminded me of Edmund Burke’s argument that if all the good people in the world got together they could undoubtedly stop the bad people persecuting the helpless (“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”)

Of course, years later I have a possible answer for my student. It is not the majority that rules. It is those with the power that do so. The power of arms. The power of money. The power of rewriting history. The power of racial supremacy. The power of masculine supremacy over women. The power of terror.

So, Israel’s minority, which is not a minority, must never give up. Each and every individual must have the moral courage to shout “Enough!” and keep shouting it even if his or hers is a voice in the wilderness.

And in so doing, perhaps the Biblical rationale will prevail for Palestinians cry unto Jerusalem “that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned…The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God” (Isaiah 40: 1-3).

And each and every solitary voice will be heard booming through the inequity of occupation, dispossession, land theft and persecution.

And peace will prevail.


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This post was written by Elizabeth Ellis

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