Save 75% - Only $49.99 for 1 full year! digitalPLUS subscription offer ends 12/1
NewsOpinionReaders Respond

Yes, Israel is a democracy [Letter]


William Cooper completely misstated the rules of Israeli citizenship in a recent letter to the editor ("Israel is not a 'democracy,'" Feb. 4).

Jewishness is not a prerequisite for citizenship here, as attested to by the 21 percent of Israeli citizens who are non-Jewish Arabs, as well as others who are neither Jewish nor Arab but citizens of Israel, nonetheless. Moreover, all citizens of Israel have the same rights under the law — and they vote. Just ask any of the Arab Members of the Knesset who rely on those Arab votes to get elected.

Mr. Cooper's suggestion that Arabs have been living in the Holy Land for thousands of years defies the historical record. While there have always been small numbers of non-Jews in Israel, the large influx of Arabs from surrounding areas seeking work among the growing Jewish population a century ago created the "Palestinian" nation of today. Arabs then, as now, were unable to establish a functioning economy that could support their own growing population. Arabs from all over the Middle East migrate to other lands today for precisely the same reason. This doesn't make them indigenous to Europe, Australia, etc.

The boycotts that Mr. Cooper seems to be so fond of have the prime intention of damaging Israel, without regard for the welfare of the Palestinians. The current SodaStream case is an excellent example of this. There are many excellent reasons for denouncing these boycotts, as well.

While Israel's democracy is certainly flawed and imperfect, precisely the same could be said about America's as well. Mr. Cooper's argument against Israeli democracy is unfounded and not supported by the facts. His willingness to ignore the crimes of regimes in the rest of the Middle East while inventing unfounded criticisms against Israel speaks volumes about his true interests.

Finally, pointing out that anti-Semitism exists isn't "name-calling." It is instead taking bigots to task for their obvious bigotry. Had such people truly been interested in human rights, freedom and democracy, at least for the Palestinian people, they would have made a fuss about the lack of such rights and freedoms for people living under Arab control both in the territories and elsewhere in the region.

The truth is in Israel that Arabs have more rights, freedoms, protections and privileges under the law — both in theory and in practice — than anywhere else in the Middle East. Mr. Cooper's arguments against Israel simply don't square with the facts.

Jake Livni, Jerusalem, Israel

To respond to this letter, send an email to Please include your name and contact information.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
Related Content
  • Hopkins is hypocritical on academic freedom
    Hopkins is hypocritical on academic freedom

    On Sept. 26, an interdisciplinary cohort of students, faculty and staff at Johns Hopkins University answered President Ronald Daniel's call to join the conversation on academic freedom, which he wrote, "deserves dialogue and debate" ("Hopkins welcomes debate on academic freedom," Feb. 26)....

  • Israel's reaction to Jerusalem killings is measured, Palestinians' is disgraceful
    Israel's reaction to Jerusalem killings is measured, Palestinians' is disgraceful

    The Sun's editorial, "Tragedy in Jerusalem" (Nov. 20) about the murders of four rabbis and a policeman by Palestinian terrorists starts well: "This was an act of pure nihilism and murderous hatred that deserves the world's unequivocal condemnation and scorn..." But then comes "that said," and...

  • Why Israel isn't rushing to fight ISIS
    Why Israel isn't rushing to fight ISIS

    Letter writer Fred Lebert asks why Israel hasn't joined the fight against ISIS ("Why isn't Israel joining the fight against ISIS?" Oct. 21).

  • Why African-Americans don't support Israel
    Why African-Americans don't support Israel

    Unfortunately, many African Americans as well as the general population do not support Israel because of a lack of knowledge about the origins and the history of the conflict between Israel and its Arab neighbors ("Why aren't more African Americans supporting Israel?" Oct. 20).

  • Act of terrorism ignored
    Act of terrorism ignored

    It is deplorable that The Sun, which was so out front depicting the casualties and damage this summer in Gaza during the war started by Hamas, decided to bury news of the murder of a Jewish baby (and American citizen) by a Palestinian terrorist in Jerusalem at the bottom of Page 8 ("Baby killed...

  • Tragedy in Jerusalem
    Tragedy in Jerusalem

    There can be no excuse, no explanation, no reasoned or even plausible justification for the horrific attack on a Jerusalem synagogue Tuesday that left four rabbis and an Israeli police officer dead. The assailants, two Palestinian militants armed with axes, meat cleavers and a gun who entered...

  • Sun hits a moral low in editorial on Jerusalem attack
    Sun hits a moral low in editorial on Jerusalem attack

    The recent editorial in The Sun regarding the attack in Jerusalem set a new low in moral equivalency ("Tragedy in Jerusalem," Nov. 20). The editorial board spent all of two sentences stating that there is no justification for such an attack and then went on to explain how both sides have been...

  • No statehood for murderers
    No statehood for murderers

    The cold-blooded and planned murder of four rabbis, three American and one British, in West Jerusalem by Palestinian Arabs was celebrated both in Gaza and the West Bank ("Tragedy in Jerusalem," Nov. 19). This demonstrates that there can be no permanent nor true peace between Israelis and...