Still, the question remains: Why no “regime change” in Israel? The reason is this: the relationship between the rulers and the ruled, or between the elected and their electors, has never changed.The present writer, an American-born and American-educated political scientist, has yet to meet an Israeli political analyst that has or had a clear, concise, and convincing understanding of “regime change,” a concept bandied about by people from all walks of life.
Stated in the most concise way, “regime change” means changing the ruler-ruled relationship of a regime. Since this does not necessarily entail violent revolution, I will define the concept in democratic terms. Regime change means changing the basic relationship between the elected and their electors. Regime change is much more than changing the party in power—although such change may have regime implications. For example, there was no regime change when Democrat Bill Clinton was replaced by Republican George W. Bush, as U.S. President. But the ground for regime change was prepared when Democrat Barack Obama became president of the United States.
Obama was committed to regime change from the outset of his presidential campaign of 2008 as I had warned. As was evident, Obama, in various ways, rejected America’s two foundational documents, the Declaration of Independence and the United States Federal Constitution, both of which prescribed limited government on the one hand, and the primacy of individual freedom on the other.
Anyone who has studied The Federalist Papers will understand that America’s Founding Fathers fully understood how regime change could occur in America without any violent revolution—and the revolution has occurred! It began with the expanded role of government under the Woodrow Wilson administration of 1913. Wilson, influenced by British thought, rejected the constitutional system of checks and balances. He advocated “presidential government.” The First World War enabled him to greatly expand the power of the Presidency. But what is not well known is that Wilson revolutionized the political rhetoric of the regime. As I have shown in A Discourse on Statesmanship, Wilson replaced what I call the “the politics of magnanimity,” which transcends class divisions, with a “politics of compassion,” identified primarily the poor vis-à-vis the middle class (and of course the rich). Government would thereafter enact laws most conducive to the lower class, the masses.
The next stage in this regime change (or bloodless revolution) came with the “New Deal” of the Franklin Roosevelt administration of 1933, which witnessed another great expansion of the power of the central government vis-à-vis the states. And now, with the election of Barack Obama, an outright socialist, regime change in America has reached its climax.
The Fixation of Israel’s Elites on ‘Land for Peace’: Five Interpretations.
Notice, too, that no Likud-led or Labor-led government has ever been toppled by a Knesset vote of no-confidence. (I avoid the “stinking maneuver” of 1990 when Labor “persuaded” the Shas party to quit the coalition government under PM Yitzhak Shamir, which nonetheless failed to change the party in power—an indication that the Knesset is a rubber stamp for the government—and you will soon see why.)
Still, the question remains: Why no “regime change” in Israel? The reason is this: the relationship between the rulers and the ruled, or between the elected and their electors, has never changed. It has never changed because the mode of electing members of the Knesset has never changed. From the outset of the regime, Members of the Knesset (MKs) have never been individually elected by the voters in geographic-constituency elections. And of course most MKs have a vested interest in preventing any basic change in this mode of election.
It all began with short-term pragmatism and long-term folly. The founders of the state made the entire country a single electoral district where parties compete for seats in the Knesset on the basis of Proportional Representation (PR). In other words, the number of seats parties win is proportional to the number of votes they receive in a national election—a seemingly democratic system. The trouble is that the candidate who wins a seat in the Knesset depends on his place on the party’s list. Thus, Shimon Peres, who was usually the first or second name on the Labor Party’s list was elected and re-elected for five decades without ever competing against a rival candidate! He never had to defend his political position or policies against a rival who would happily expose the flaws and misdeeds of MK Shimon Peres.
But this means—and what hardly any political commentator emphasizes—is that the System disempowers or virtually disenfranchises the voters! Brainwashed by their “educators,” people believe that periodic, multiparty elections are sufficient to qualify a country as a democracy. Unfortunately, political scientists and journalists in Israel have been reluctant to explode this myth. Indeed, Israel’s ruling elites—politicians and judges, academics and journalists—prefer to remain silent, for it is Israel’s reputation as a democracy that endows these elites with legitimacy and prestige in Israel as well as on the lecture circuit in America.
It’s really amazing how the System disenfranchises the voters without their knowing it! The System actually enabled Likud leader Ariel Sharon to nullify the 2003 election by adopting Labor’s policy of disengagement from Gaza, even though this policy was rejected by at least 70 percent of the voters in that election! (Interested readers need only go on line for detailed information on the subject, and see especially my book, The Myth of Israeli Democracy.)
We know why there has been no regime change in Israel despite the disastrous policies of its various governments. The myth serves partisan and personal interests. Never mind the fact that Israel’s reputation as a democracy has not saved this country from Israel-bashing and anti-Semitism. Of course Israel is a democracy compared to its despotic Arab neighbors—but is that the banner Israelis should proudly wave to the world?