A TALE OF TWO “RIGHTS”

The state of Israel was born in an era when Jewish leaders believed creation of a nation which would be home to Jews throughout the world finally would offer a center of liberalism and democracy. They regarded the state of Israel as a model of democracy that could be emulated by other new nations. During the decades following its creation, Israel was repulsed by Arab leaders who refused to negotiate, let alone recognize the new country. A lightening victory in 1967 failed to arouse in Arab leaders desire for peace or an end to violence against the new nation. Somewhere in the ensuing years, right wing fanatics gained control of Israel and used newly acquired areas in the West Bank as an opportunity to extend Jewish control of their desires land of Israel that extended from the Mediterranean to — wherever Israel could extend its power.

But, something more nefarious gained control of the Israel people. Religious fanatics used fear and hate to erode rights of Palestinians and refuse to negotiate with Palestinian leaders. Today, new legislation in Israel even denies freedom of speech to utter words in support of Palestinians. Naturally, this erosion of democracy is cited as necessary in order to protect democracy. Right wingers have triumphed in Israel and its people have become sheep like in accepting the end of their democracy.

We Americans also have l lived through a similar experience. The New Deal ushered in decades of social democracy in order to protect the rights of those who were poor and helpless. However, during the past decades our right wing fanatics used the media, fear, and hate in order to persuade Americans their freedom was the cause of losing their freedom. Vicious attacks on welfare, the lazy elderly and the criminal unions were justified as reasons to reduce taxes on the wealthy and cut social services. America, like Israel, is headed toward a destiny in which original values of social democracy must cease in order to protect the powerful or protect religious fanatics.

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