One of Israel's constant talking points for U.S. support is that it's "the only democracy in the Middle East."

That lie was put to rest this week, when Israel's Central Elections Committee banned the two main Arab parties in the Knesset, Balad and United Arab List-Ta'al, from running in the February elections. Sitting Arab members of the Knesset will now not be allowed to run for re-election, effectively removing Arab representation from Israel's ruling body.

The reason given: the parties don't recognize Israel as a Jewish State, and they call for armed conflict against it.

Sadly, Israel's "commitment" to democracy is about as deep and sincere as America's, given that the Hamas government in Gaza, which Israel is now trying to overthrow with U.S. support, was democratically elected.

I guess in Israel & America's definition of "democracy," it only means "elected people we like."

This does not bode well for the Israeli Arabs, who up until now have had representation in the Knesset.

It also does not bode well for peace in the region.
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Does Israel have the right to exist?

Yes.

Is Israel a good idea?

Probably not.

I do not deny Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state, but I'm not convinced a Jewish state is a good idea in the first place.

I think that the idea of ANY state, based on religion, is a bad idea, and ultimately is going to work against the cause of peace. In a theocracy -- which Israel clearly is -- anyone not "of the faith" will end up being marginalized.

That's what's happening to the native Arabs of Israel right now, under Israeli colonialism.

I am of the minority position that peace is not possible in the Middle East without a one-state solution.

That's right, I said one state: secular, neither Jewish nor Muslim. Two official languages (Hebrew and Arabic). No Star of David on the flag. Dunno what to call the state, but Israel-Palestine works for now.

Israel-Palestine needs to be a shared homeland, with Jerusalem as the shared focus of three major world religions: Judaism, Islam, and Christianity. Where people of all three faiths could find sanctuary from persecution.

Israel could have peace, could lead the way for the world in peaceful relations... if it simply gave up the idea that Israel is the Jewish homeland alone. Because it's clearly not.

Sharing is a basic human way of avoiding conflict.

Why can't Israel share?

Do my Jewish friends find this idea offensive? What about my Muslim and Christian friends?
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