Friday, January 23, 2009

Lessons in open-mindedness

So, I've clearly been on a "see the other side/don't be a fanatic" kick in my thinking (and blogging). But I just read about a recent decision by the Israeli Supreme Court.

First, the background. Recently, the Central Election Committee of the Knesset (the Israeli Parliament) voted to ban two Arab parties from the upcoming elections. The reason? These two parties refuse to recognize Israel's right to exist. Yes, it's a strange world, indeed, when a party can refuse to recognize the government of which it wants to be a part. Only in Israel.

But, what's really interesting is that there are also Ultra-Orthodox Jewish parties which don't recognize Israel as a State, and no one is trying to ban them from the elections. The Arab parties cried "racism" and sued, and took their grievances to the Supreme Court. Which supported their complaint. Unanimously. They are now back in the election.

Imagine. A government which acts to defend the right to hold and express views, even if those views are that that government shouldn't exist. And, a government which will fight to give those views a public forum.

Americans are fond of the quote "I may disapprove of what you say, but I will defend with my life your right to say it." The Israeli Supreme Court just showed us how far we can take that. Israel may not be perfect, but it just gave us all a wonderful lesson in open-mindedness and tolerance.

Shabbat Shalom!

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