In our world governments and politicians think twice before acknowledging any wrong-doing. I can’t help but be sceptical about any justice for the Palestinians resulting from these revelations, but once again, I desperately ask the democracy pundits who keep insisting that the rest of the world needs to follow their model to show me a practical and just way where they can use their democratic processes to bring the Israeli government to account.
‘An Israeli military college has printed soldiers’ accounts of the killing of civilians and vandalism during recent operations in Gaza.
One account tells of a sniper killing a mother and children at close range whom troops had told to leave their home. In another cited case, a commander ordered troops to kill an elderly woman walking on a road, even though she was easily identifiable and clearly not a threat.
The soldiers’ testimonies also reportedly told of an unusually high intervention by military and non-military rabbis, who circulated pamphlets describing the war in religious terminology.
“All the articles had one clear message,” one soldier said. “We are the people of Israel, we arrived in the country almost by miracle, now we need to fight to uproot the gentiles who interfere with re-conquering the Holy Land.”’ (taken from the BBC).
Will Barak Obama go against his financiers and members of his administration and demand an independent enquiry, or consider imposing sanctions on Israel until the truth be discovered?
Will the Labour Party Members in the UK go against the wishes of the Labour Friends of Israel and demand justice or investigation?
Will David Cameron, the opposition leader that keeps the democratic government in check, go against the wishes of the Conservative Friends of Israel and demand the Labour Party takes action against Israel?
Will the Obama administration or any other western government that supported Israel’s actions ‘in defending itself’ provide compensation and accept responsibility for ‘aiding and abetting or encouraging’ the Israeli actions?
Will American citizens who stood by their Zionist brethren now consider this to be Semitic fundamentalism and a belief of the sword?
Or will the western politicians accept the bias of self-interest as the foundation of their democratic values?
To kick-start the honest debate I thought I’d put some of the newcomers to this site to a brief test:
1. Which one of the following do you think is most important?
- Human Rights
- Low taxes
2. Hypothetically speaking, there are elections in your home country and there are two main leading parties, Party A and Party B.
Party A states that if it wins it will reduce taxes.
Party B states that if it wins it will raise taxes.
a. Who would you vote for Party A or Party B?
You then learn, after some investigation that:
Party A will reduce taxes but it will do so by initiating trade deals with some of the world’s worst dictators.
Party B will raise taxes but it will give all of the extra money to the poor in another country.
b. Who would you vote for now?
c. Who do you think the majority of fellow citizens would vote for?
I tried this test with a group of students of many different backgrounds and nationalities. The overwhelming majority admitted they would vote for Party A even after knowing that they would be encouraging relations with dictatorships. This was despite the fact that a majority of them considered ‘human rights’ and ‘freedom’ as most important.
In a sense, the low taxes in this test can be replaced with the concept of ‘self-interest’. The reality is that when people go to the ballot box, they aren’t really concerned with human rights or freedoms, the only thing that really matters is if the next government will be beneficial to them or not.
There is a possibility that people would be willing to sacrifice their interests and pay taxes for the poor in their own countries, but the harsh reality is that we are rarely willing to sacrifice for those in another country.
Is this ‘human rights’ or is it the rights of fellow nationals?
The second question to consider is that if we give absolute freedom to people how do people decide between right and wrong, or who to vote for or not? Self interest is an inevitable consequence of freedom. What’s worrying about this reality is that one man’s freedom is more often than not another man’s slavery. And one man’s gain is almost always another man’s loss. One country’s interest is not necessarily the interest of another. Are we to remain in this constant cycle of conflict stemming from a clash of self-interest?
There are obvious flaws with this model of democracy. Whilst many governments are claiming to spread democracy to the rest of the world and assuming that it is the best system for man, have we stopped considering the problems it brings?
If you’d like to be part of this debate, please write in to email@example.com All views are welcome so long as they comply with the rules stated in the About Honest Debate page.