Democracy at Work: Supporting Israel Regardless of its Government - Gatestone Institute - 09.12.12
Israeli governments come and go based on the results of elections; Israel has had five of them in the last four years. But one's support for Israel should not vary with whether one agrees or disagrees with the outcome of a particular election, any more than one's support for the United States depends on whether Democrats or Republican are in control at a given time.
One can be a patriotic American who stands and salutes the star-spangled banner even when one disagrees with policies of the government. One can work hard to change such policies. Sometimes they change. Sometimes they do not. That is democracy at work.
One can also be a fervent Zionist, which simply means that one strongly believes in the concept of a secure and democratic nation-state for the Jewish people. That is all Zionism means. It does not entail support for particular Israeli policies....
As then-President Bill Clinton once complained: "Israel is a democracy, damn it!" His point was that he could simply call the leader of a non-democratic ally and tell him what do. He could not do that to Israel, where the citizens decide what their government should do.
Democracy does not assure good outcomes. It only assures a fair process.
Those who understandably disagree with the outcome of the recent Israeli election should recognize that it is the product of factors that generally affect democratic elections: changing demography, economic considerations, external threats and numerous other variables.
So please, as Israel approaches its 75th birthday, look at the big picture: no country has contributed more to the world in its first three quarters of a century than has Israel; no country faced with dangers comparable to those faced by Israel has had a better record of human rights, compliance with the rule of law and concern for enemy civilians than Israel.
Governments and policies change. Support for the only democracy in the Middle East should remain constant.
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Alan M. Dershowitz is the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law, Emeritus at Harvard Law School, and the author most recently of The Price of Principle: Why Integrity Is Worth The Consequences. He is the Jack Roth Charitable Foundation Fellow at Gatestone Institute, and is also the host of "The Dershow" podcast.
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Pictured: A voting booth at a polling station in Israel on election day November 1, 2022. (Photo by Gil Cohen-Magen/AFP via Getty Images)