Israel: Are democracy and despotic racism compatible?

Davidson, Lawrence

Publisher:  Redress Information & Analysis
Date Written:  12/04/2019
Year Published:  2019  
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX23669

A criticism of Zionism as a "melding of an elitist pseudo-democracy with racist despotism."




Considering that Israel and its supporters often proclaim that it is a Western-style democracy, and given the bit of history laid out above, we can ask if democracy and racist despotism can in fact be compatible. And, while the example of Israel serves as our backdrop for this query, we can consider the question generically. Can any democracy prove compatible with racist despotism?

Historically, the answer is an obvious yes. All that needs to happen is that a powerful group within the nation identifies itself as a privileged elite and reserves democratic procedures and privileges for itself, while condemning others to discrimination, segregation or worse. Again, this posture has nothing to do with Jewishness. Any ethnicity or self-identified group can adopt it – based on colour, religion, gender or something else. The much-idealised ancient democracy of Athens did it based on gender and citizenship linked to birth.
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