It turns out the “only democracy in the Middle East” has a very limited notion of “open”, considering its political critics are routinely, and as a matter of state policy, silenced.
Things are getting worse very quickly, as fascist ideology is settling into Israeli psychology, insinuating itself against imagined dark-skinned and left-wing enemies, making itself comfortable.
An op-ed by a sitting parliamentarian, MK Arieh Eldad, makes the case perfectly:
Quite a few freedom of speech fans, champions of democracy, and other people detached from the realities of our life and convinced that Birzeit University is located in Switzerland stood up to fight on behalf of Professor Noam Chomsky, who was prevented from entering Israel.
You see? Democracy is something that only some prosperous countries can afford, but not those with the realities of country ______, or our country for that matter. This is the standard trope of fascists since they first weaseled their way onto this planet. And it remains so today.
In fact, the fascists are even proud of this achievement, which they wear as a “badge of honor”:
Had Israel allowed him to enter, this would have been interpreted in Ramallah, Gaza, Damascus, and Tehran as yet another sign that Israel is no longer able to produce antibodies against the internal erosion wrought upon us by the Left and threatening to rot the Center as well. The “entry banned” seal stamped in his passport is a badge of honor for Israel. It’s proof that there are some people among us who still hold on to their survival instincts.
Yes, Arieh, I have no doubt that Tehran and Damascus are watching and learning exactly how to produce such “antibodies to internal erosion wrought upon us by the Left and threatening to rot the Center as well.” I think the world knows exactly what that looks like.