Majorities Have Rights, Too

While liberal democracy, especially in its American form, is designed to follow the will of the majority while protecting the rights of minorities, Liav Orgad’s book The Cultural Defense of Nations argues that majorities themselves have particular rights that need protection—especially when immigration and demographic change threaten to undermine or replace national culture and values. Anna Su writes in her review:

[In shaping the U.S. Constitution, James] Madison assumed that . . . the majority can take care of itself, while the structure of government would ensure . . . that minority rights are not disregarded. In his timely and erudite [book], the Israeli legal scholar Liav Orgad flips that idea on its head and argues that majority groups under certain conditions also need protection. Their identity, history, government, and way of life need defending. And this need is most pressing when immigration renders their numerical superiority less salient. . . . Provocatively, Orgad justifies [his argument] on the same liberal grounds of the right to self-determination and right to culture [and] identity [on which minority rights are founded].

Why [the need to] play defense now? The first three chapters of Cultural Defense survey the landscape of changing migration patterns and chronicle the corresponding demographic as well as cultural anxieties . . . besetting countries in Western Europe, the United States, and Israel. . . .

Read more at New Rambler Review

More about: Democracy, History & Ideas, Immigration, Israel, Liberalism, Nationalism, U.S. Constitution


Hamas Wants a Renewed Ceasefire, but Doesn’t Understand Israel’s Changed Attitude

Yohanan Tzoreff, writing yesterday, believes that Hamas still wishes to return to the truce that it ended Friday morning with renewed rocket attacks on Israel, but hopes it can do so on better terms—raising the price, so to speak, of each hostage released. Examining recent statements from the terrorist group’s leaders, he tries to make sense of what it is thinking:

These [Hamas] senior officials do not reflect any awareness of the changed attitude in Israel toward Hamas following the October 7 massacre carried out by the organization in the western Negev communities. They continue to estimate that as before, Israel will be willing to pay high prices for its people and that time is working in their favor. In their opinion, Israel’s interest in the release of its people, the pressure of the hostages’ families, and the public’s broad support for these families will ultimately be decisive in favor of a deal that will meet the new conditions set by Hamas.

In other words, the culture of summud (steadfastness), still guides Hamas. Its [rhetoric] does not show at all that it has internalized or recognized the change in the attitude of the Israeli public toward it—which makes it clear that Israel still has a lot of work to do.

Read more at Institute for National Security Studies

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Israeli Security