Commentary by Francois Crépeau : « The “Us and Them” narrative is gaining political ground, to the detriment of human rights, the Rule of Law and electoral representation, which constitute the essence of democracy. Nationalist populist leaders would have us believe that they alone have any legitimacy to rule, since they represent the will of the majority, dubbed “the will of the people”. The Thirties have taught us that majoritarian rule, without checks and balances, is recipe for disaster, as it then lead to fascist dictatorships, exclusion, pogroms and the Shoah. Ben-Gurion remembered that and we all need to heed this lesson, however distant in the past it is becoming. The more we wait, the more people will have been hurt, mostly minorities and migrants. »
By : Max Fisher
Amid a moment of national euphoria, Israel’s founding prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, emerged from retirement in July 1967 to warn Israelis they had sown the seeds of self-destruction.
Israel had just won a stunning military victory against its neighbors, elating Israelis with a sense that the grand experiment of a Jewish state might really work.
But Ben-Gurion insisted that Israel give up the territories it had conquered. If it did not, he said, occupation would distort the young state, which had been founded to protect not just the Jewish people but their ideals of democracy and pluralism.
Now, a half century and one year later, Israel has formally declared the right of national self-determination, once envisioned to include all within its borders, as “unique to the Jewish people.”
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