Marc Lynch has his usual concise take on events off the shores of Gaza. The funny thing is that I was just in the midst of writing a paper which asserts that democracies have some advantages when coming to grips with the problem of deterring violence while restraining themselves. Israel is a democracy (sort of) but lacks restraint. It lacks a sense of proportionality between threat and response. Apparently, Israeli leaders seem to think they have alienated all those who can be alienated and will not alienate those who have not been--the US. Guess again. Israel is moving from strategic asset to strategic liability, with no sense or concern that it is making it very difficult for American leaders to stand by.
No good can come from actions like these. Just as we have seen again and again over the past few years. Some things can be justified, but few of these actions can be, and many of them make no sense in a strict cost-benefit calculus either.
So, either my understanding of democracy is deficient (and that may well be the case) or it might be that Israeli democracy is deficient. I vote for the latter since my ego is less at stake. Democracy only does what it is supposed to do when the system is functioning--but if people are not adequately represented, if competition is imperfect, if social power tilts things too much to an extreme end of the spectrum, then democracy can screw things up just as or more effectively than an authoritarian regime. Long ago, there was much forecasting that in the future Israel could be either democratic or Jewish, but not both. Demographics would not allow this to be finessed. I think we are there--the choices are already being made and they are not bending towards democracy.
Sure, the other folks involved have a "vote" so that the Palestinians have not been the best of negotiating partners and some of the neighbors have been less than helpful. But Israel's increased isolation and its trajectory have much do with Israeli domestic politics and those who have been empowered. No wonder that the young North American Jews [non-Orthodox ones, that is] no longer see Israel as the infallible state to be defended regardless of the circumstance.