Israel should embrace democratic movements sweeping across Arab nations while helping ensure they adhere to democratic principles, Tzipi Livni writes in the Washington Post.
The democratic process in Europe in the 1930s was divorced of commitment to democratic values with devastating consequences,the former Israeli vice prime minister and minister of foreign affairs says.
She adds that the Middle East has paid a similar price, giving political legitimacy to movements such as Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon that don’t adhere to democratic principles and pose a danger to their neighbors and their own people.
Recent developments in the Middle East have underscored the need for adopting a universal code for participating in democratic elections that would require political parties running for office to accept a set of core democratic principles, renounce violence and accept the pursuit of objectives by peaceful means, commit to the rule of law, and adhere to international agreements, Livni says.
Without such a code, the movement toward democracy risks becoming subverted by those who want to use the democratic process to advance anti-democratic agendas and by weak regimes that feel compelled to appease extremists, Livni says.