Israel’s Dangerous Political System

PARIS – What is wrong with Israel? In the last few years, the Jewish state seems to have done more than all of its combined enemies to delegitimize itself in the eyes of the world. Its leaders’ apparent inability to think in strategic terms, and their indifference to the tribunal of global public opinion, is resulting in growing frustration among its citizens and, what may be more dangerous, deepening international isolation.

Where should one look for an explanation for this tragic evolution? Was it simply inevitable for a people who, deprived of a state for more than 2,000 years, may have lost the ability to act collectively in a “raison d’état” manner?

Or perhaps the weight of Holocaust remembrance has blinded Israel’s leaders and distorted their thinking – in ways that, at the time the State of Israel was created, the Holocaust itself almost miraculously did not.

Certainly, the failure of the peace process in the 1990’s, followed by the coming of the second Intifada, appears to have encouraged the radicalization of Israel’s extremes while discouraging moderates. And the revival of religious parties – in a country created by avowed secularists – opened the way for a more politically powerful but also more nationalistic and intolerant setting.