Friday, February 17, 2006


Joe Sacco on the Danish Cartoon Controversy

From the Nation:
Frankly, I don't give a damn about these Danish cartoons. In the end, yes, there is a principle about the freedom of expression that concerns me, but I'm always sorry to have to rush to the defense of idiots.

Thursday, February 16, 2006


Democracy in action?

According to today's Ha'aretz, the Likud party is pushing to ban the United Arab List from participating in the upcoming Israeli elections. And why? Because they are the wrong religion. You see, while any Jewish party can run on a religious platform, the Israeli right-wing can't possibly allow Muslims in Israel to do the same. And of course the excuse is that it is antithetical to Israel's "democratic Jewish nature." But of course, that's misleading. Because it's certainly not antithetical to Israel's democratic nature. What's antithetical to Israel's democratic nature (although it seems pretty ridiculous to talk about the "nature" of a government, but leaving this aside for now) would be banning parties because they talk about the wrong religion. Now perhaps you could argue that it undermines the Jewishness of the Israeli state. But of course, this isn't exactly an open and shut case, considering the very small number of seats that the UAL is going to win in the elections; they won 5 seats in the 1999 election and 2 in the 2003 election out of a total of 120, hardly enough to be considered a credible threat to the "Jewishness" of Israel. So though not at all a threat to the "democratic" part, and barely a threat to the "Jewish" part, the right-wing in Israel (and their supporters in the U.S.) feel that they are justified under the slogan of "Jewish and democratic" to try to eliminate any means of democratic expression available to the Palestinians inside Israel (as the article mentions, "in the last Knesset elections, the [central elections] committee voted to disqualify the Arab party Balad under the leadership of MK Azmi Bashara, but the High Court ruled against this decision). Three cheers for democracy!

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