"Recently I received an e-mail from the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI): ‘On the 40th anniversary of 1967, the association asks citizens this question: Can the State of Israel, which for 40 years has been ruling over millions of people who are deprived of the basic human rights that are the condition for democracy, still be considered a democratic country?’

Attached to the e-mail was a position paper headed ‘Is This Really Democracy,’ together with a comment by the organization’s director general, Rachel Benziman, in which she expresses her belief that ‘the attached document contains an opinion that is worthy and essential for you, as a leading academic, to examine in depth, with no connection to and independent of your political stance or your worldview.’

Benziman’s compliment did its job. I read the document and I even examined it in depth. In the introduction, the organization challenges the State of Israel’s definition of itself as a democracy and the claim that ‘it is perceived as such by the Western world.’ The organization sums up its position thus: ‘The 40 years of the occupation are casting a heavy shadow on the democratic values of Israeli society, posing a large and threatening question with respect to Israel’s definition as a democratic society. It appears that the moment has come – and perhaps it has already passed – when we will have to decide what we are giving up: the occupation or democracy, because the two cannot coexist.’ " Click here for full article