LA Times to Israel: “Tossing Democracy Out the Window Is Not the Solution”

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A Los Angeles Times staff-ed worries about Israeli-Arab voters being disenfranchised from a national referendum on any final peace agreement.

Still, tossing democracy out the window is not the solution any more than it was for the United States when it interned American citizens of Japanese descent during World War II.

Why the worry? Because an Israel Democracy Institute poll found that 49 percent of Jewish Israelis believe the country’s Arab citizens should not be allowed to participate in such a referendum.

Here are four reasons the LA Times should’ve taken a deep breath and counted to 10 before writing this poorly thought-out commentary:

  1. If there’s a national vote on anything, all of Israel’s citizens will be able to vote on it. Period.
  2. If anyone tried to bar any sector of society from exercising its right to vote, it would never pass muster in the courts.
  3. If more Israeli Arabs exercised their right to vote, they’d control 20 percent of the Knesset’s seats. In January’s national elections, the 56 percent Arab turnout exceeded expectations.
  4. If Israelis and Palestinians make peace — well, that’s the biggest if of all.

It’s okay to be disturbed at the thought of disenfranchising people of their right to vote.

But a staff editorial represents the views of the newspaper. Both the topics chosen and the opinions expressed offer a window into the paper’s thinking.

This survey reflects the views of the survey’s 602 respondents, not any government policy to exclude Arab voters. So what we have is a survey question with no practical bearing, and the LA Times thinking it’s really, really important.

Was this really the most important thing for the LA Times to weigh in on?

(Image via Flickr/The Israel Project)


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