Soft bigotry of low expectations: The Times excuses Mohammed Morsy
The New York Times is giving Egyptian dictator for life Mohammed Morsy a pass
over his seizing dictatorial authority over his country on Friday
(Hat Tip: Memeorandum
The scale of the backlash against the decree appeared to catch Mr.
Morsi’s government by surprise. “In his head, the president thought that
this would push us forward, but then it was met with all this
inflammation,” Mr. Mekki said. He faulted the president for failing to
consult with his opponents before issuing it, but he also faulted the
opponents for their own unwillingness to come to the table: “I blame all
of Egypt, because they do not know how to talk to each other.”
Government and party officials maintained that Mr. Morsi was forced to
claim the expansive new powers to protect the process of writing the
country’s new constitution, and that the decree would be in effect only
until the charter was in place. A court of judges appointed under the
Mubarak government was widely rumored to be about to dissolve the
elected constitutional assembly, dominated by Mr. Morsi’s Islamist
allies — just as the same court had previously cast out the newly
elected Islamist-led Parliament — and the decree issued by Mr. Morsi on
Thursday gave him the power to stop it.
“I see with all of you, clearly, that the court verdict is announced two
or three weeks before the court session,” Mr. Morsi told his supporters
on Friday, referring to the pervasive rumors about the court’s
impending action in a fiery speech defending his decree. “We will
dissolve the entire homeland, as it seems! How is that? How? Those
waywards must be held accountable."
He said that corrupt Mubarak loyalists were “hiding under the cover of
the judiciary” and declared, “I will uncover them!”
But instead of rallying the public to his side and speeding the
country’s political transition, as Mr. Morsi evidently hoped, his decree
has unleashed new instability across the country. On Sunday, the first
day of business here since the decree was issued, the Egyptian stock
market fell by about 9.5 percent, erasing more than $4 billion of value.
Can you imagine what the Times' reaction would have been if Binyamin Netanyahu were to arrogate to himself the power to overrule Israel's Supreme Court and sent the police out to enforce it? Well, you don't have to imagine it. When it was proposed that the government enact the Levy report a few months ago, which would have legally overruled certain Supreme Court decisions in this country, the Times reacted with fury
The Times goes on to make its 'bad policy' argument.
recommendations would annul a number of past Israeli Supreme Court
rulings and orders, including a 1979 decision forbidding the
expropriation of land for “military needs” when the real goal is
settlement construction. It is alarming to see this latest attack on the
court, which has tried to temper government excesses, ruling that
several outposts and buildings constructed on private Palestinian land
should be dismantled. Thirty families were evicted from five such
buildings last month.
In other words, the Times is arguing
that Israel's Supreme Court ought to reign supreme rather than being a
co-equal branch of government, and that the Knesset - the closest thing
we have to a democratically elected polity in in this country - ought to
have no say. Were the Times to adopt that standard for the United
States, there would be no income tax today. There would have been no New
Deal in the 1930's (some people might argue that the US would be better
off that way...). Clearly, declaring an unelected Supreme Court
infallible and more equal (to use George Orwell's term) does not comport
with democratic values. The Times ought to know better.
So why does Morsy get a pass? Why is it okay to annul Egyptian Supreme Court rulings illegally but not okay to legally annul Israeli Supreme Court rulings?
Labels: Egyptian democracy, Mohammed Morsy, Muslim Brotherhood, New York Times