Democracy à la Livni

There’s unquestionably more to democracy than the holding of sporadic elections, but Israeli opposition leader Tzipi Livni’s effort to offer a more robust conception seems to me to badly misfire:

Current events in the Middle East highlight the urgency of adopting at the global level what true democracies apply at the national level — a universal code for participation in democratic elections. This would include requiring every party running for office to embrace, in word and deed, a set of core democratic principles: the renunciation of violence and the acceptance of state monopoly over the use of force, the pursuit of aims by peaceful means, commitment to the rule of law and to equality before the law, and adherence to international agreements to which their country is bound.

By this standard, Israel doesn’t come close to qualifying as a democracy. The Netanyahu government doesn’t respect previous agreements on settlements, no Israeli government has ever renounced violence as a tool of policy, and Jews and non-Jews aren’t really equal before the law. What’s more, to actually bad participation of political parties that didn’t accept these principles would, itself, be a serious contravention of democratic principles. Questions about which kind of rules for linguistic and religious minorities are compatible with equality before the law (Christmas is a federal holiday in the US, but Yom Kippur isn’t) don’t admit of unambiguous answers.