Friday, January 13, 2012

The Only (Russian) Democracy in the Middle East

Russian MK Michaeli pouring a glass of water over MK Majadele is by now 'old' news (I first saw it at 972mag). Here’s the incident again:

Magnes Zionist has some interesting comments (H/T Jews sans Frontieres):

The Ethics Knesset sanctioned MK Michaeli by banned her from the Knesset for a month. After she expressed pride over the incident, she formally apologized last night. What got her so riled? If you look at tape, you see it was MK Majadele shouting "You shut up!" when she interrupted him. This deeply offended her, and she responded by saying that one doesn't talk in this manner to a female MK, and that she would take it up with Ethics Committee -- the same Ethics committee that subsequently banned her. Of course Majadele yelled, "You shut up!" because he was deeply offended; he saw her remarks not simply as a typical Knesset interruption, but as an affront to all Israeli Arabs, who have been silenced, or not listened to.

How true Maimonides' statement, "One should be offended rather than give offense."

This incident today in the Knesset parliamentary Education Committee probably won't make the mainstream media outside of Israel, or hasn't yet. Will it be shown in America? Sometimes MSNBC's nightly line-up needs some relief from talking heads on Mitt Romney, and they show parliaments from the Far East, or the Former Soviet Union, engaging in fist-fights. It's cute, and it reminds us in America how far we are from that.

So we have MK Anastasia Michaeli, a blond Russian-born settler in Israel, a gentile who became eligible to become a citizen of a modern state after a religious conversion, and is now a member of the ultra-nationalist Russian Jewish party, Yisrael Beitienu, who stands up, calmly pours a glass or water, and then throws it at Palestinian Israeli MK Raleb Majadele, a member of Labor, no less. There had been the usual heated words before that, as the Russian settler kept on interrupting the Palestinian Israeli's speach, while the chairperson of the Parliamentary committee, a fellow Russian-born ultra-nationalist, Alex Miller, looked on.

Folks, this is Israel today. Were there to be a two-state solution next week, were there to be a viable Palestinian state tomorrow, were the problems of the Palestinian refugees solved, the fundamental problem of Israel would not be solved. And what is that problem?

Simply put: A religio-ethnic-exclusivist Zionism that privileges, inter alia, ultra-Russian nationalist religious converts to Judaism, with automatic rights to citizenship, over native Palestinians. And it was always like this. Look at the first four prime ministers of the State of Israel: David Grun, Moshe Shertock, Levi Shkolnik, and Golda Meyerson -- all natives of the Russian Empire. They certainly had better manners than some of the Yisrael Beiteinu members of parliament today -- but the former weren't any less Russian and ultra-nationalistic than the latter.

Ah, the beauty of Israeli democracy,,,the indigenous natives are given the vote, and the political power to have water thrown at them.


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