Re “The Ideal of Democracy in Israel Is in Jeopardy” (editorial, Dec. 18):
As the editor of a progressive Jewish magazine that closely covers Israel and Palestine, I was deeply dismayed by the editorial.
Though the editorial is critical of the Biden administration for failing to push back more strongly against Israeli extremism, it doesn’t urge any specific actions. Mr. Biden has many forms of leverage at his fingertips: He could place human rights conditions on the $3.8 billion in military aid that the U.S. sends Israel annually, or halt the sale of U.S. weapons that are used against Palestinian civilians, or end our country’s decades-old policy of shielding Israel from accountability at the U.N. The editorial presses for none of these.
Instead, it echoes the president in emphasizing the inviolability of the U.S.–Israel alliance — a bromide that assures Israel that its blank check is guaranteed.
Israel is indeed on a dangerous path, but the contention that its “democracy” is “in jeopardy” as a result of this election obscures the state’s undemocratic 55-year military occupation of the Palestinian territories, which denies Palestinians their basic human rights.
This new extremist coalition has substantial domestic support, which means that international pressure, especially by the U.S., is crucial to ending Israel’s rule over Palestinians. The Times has meanwhile offered a master class in how to offer nothing but hand-wringing.
The writer is editor in chief of Jewish Currents.
To the Editor:
Perhaps your editorial headline should have read “The Era of Gaslighting in Israel Is Over.” A nation that has deprived an indigenous population of the right to vote for the past half-century is not a democracy.