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Letters to the Editor

Sun., Feb. 1, 2009

Different style of democracy

Joseph Harari (“More on war between Israel, Gaza,” letters, Jan. 24) says Israel has “a democratic government.” Israeli democracy is different from ours.

As a thought experiment, imagine that the U.S. had decided after World War II that it would no longer strive to be the state of all its citizens. Instead, it would become the state of all the white people in the world.

We’d cleanse most red, yellow and black people from the land and concentrate them in camps. God didn’t intend for the red people to live here, we’d say, and the yellow and black people were lured simply by economic opportunity and never belonged either.

We’d give inferior citizenship to a token number of nonwhite people, intending to marginalize them in perpetuity. Although our definition of “whiteness” would be primarily racial, we’d accord special status to some forms of Christianity, creating different classes of whiteness.

We would have passed three stages of Raul Hilberg’s “structure of destruction,” first, defining nonwhites out of our polity; second, expropriating their possessions and land; third, concentrating them. Stage four is annihilation.

We wouldn’t have elected Barack Obama.

But instead we strove to overcome racism and become a multiethnic democracy of all our citizens.

Wayne B. Kraft


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