Israel’s Draft Nation-State Law Codifies Racism

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Israel’s Draft Nation-State Law Codifies Racism
by Stephen Lendman
The 1917 Balfour Declaration is its antecedent – “establish(ing) in Palestine a national home for the Jewish people,” at the expense of indigenous Arabs as things turned out.
In May 1948, the concept was adopted in the Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel. Knesset 1950 legislation granted every Jew “the right to come to this country as an oleh” – in 1970 modified to include non-Jews with a Jewish grandparent and their spouses.
The notion of a nation affording rights to its favored population at the expense of others is what apartheid is all about. Arabs aren’t welcome or wanted in Israel except as servants of Jews.
The notion of a Jewish state contradicts democratic governance. Institutionalized racism harms Israeli Arab citizens, 20% of the population. Occupied Palestinians have no rights whatever, horrifically oppressed, struggling to survive.
In 2011, legislation was introduced to enshrine Israel’s definition of a Jewish state into Basic Law. No constitution exists. Basic Laws substitute.
At the time, Netanyahu said the state lacked “adequate expression” of Israel’s “existence as the nation-state of the Jewish people” in its Basic Laws.
Then-attorney general Yehuda Weinstein called it “very problematic…that the government supports proposals that raise serious problems,” adding:
Draft legislation makes “significant changes (to) the founding principles of constitutional law as anchored in the Declaration of Independence and in the Basic Laws of the Knesset, which can” subvert democratic principles.
The measure went nowhere at the time, resurfacing in November 2014. Extremist cabinet ministers voted to draft a New Basic Law for consideration, saying:
“(D)efining the identity of the State of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people, and to anchor the values of the state of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state in the spirit of the principles of the Declaration of the Independence.”
Proposed legislation will declare “the right to express national self-determination within the State of Israel only to the Jewish people.”
Netanyahu outrageously claimed the law affirmed Israel’s democratic status – what never existed from inception to today.
Nation-state of the Jewish people failed to become Basic Law. Extremist Knesset members are trying again.
During a Sunday ministerial meeting, they approved a revised version of earlier draft legislation, declaring the “State of Israel is the national home of the Jewish people.”
Israel’s Justice Ministry will review it. If passed on for Knesset consideration, it must pass several readings to become law, perhaps taking months if successful.
Palestinians call legislation designating Israel a nation-state for Jews a huge obstacle preventing peace.
Its draft language declares the “right to self-determination…unique to the Jewish people,” codifying discrimination against Arab citizens if it’s enacted into Basic Law, making Israel more of a pariah state than already.
Hebrew alone is designated the official language. Arab MK Ayman Odeh sharply criticized the measure, calling it “tyranny by the majority, and legally turns us into second-class citizens.”
Moderate Israeli MKs argue a nation-state bill is unnecessary. The 1948 Declaration of Independence already proclaimed a Jewish state.
Enacting it as Basic Law hardens discrimination against Arab citizens.
Separately, extremist ministers Ayelet (“little snakes”) Shaked and Yariv Levin want Israeli law imposed on West Bank governance.
Their intent is clear, wanting Green Line separation erased, the West Bank incrementally annexed with Jerusalem as Israel’s exclusive capital, Occupied Palestinians denied all rights, a state of conflict perpetuated, resolution off the table.
As long as Zionist zealots, fascists and religious fundamentalists run Israel, Palestinians will be persecuted, exploited and brutalized. Neighboring states and other regional ones won’t be safe.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at
His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”
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Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman was born in 1934 in Boston, MA. In 1956, he received a BA from Harvard University. Two years of US Army service followed, then an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1960. After working seven years as a marketing research analyst, he joined the Lendman Group family business in 1967. He remained there until retiring at year end 1999. Writing on major world and national issues began in summer 2005. In early 2007, radio hosting followed. Lendman now hosts the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network three times weekly. Distinguished guests are featured. Listen live or archived. Major world and national issues are discussed. Lendman is a 2008 Project Censored winner and 2011 Mexican Journalists Club international journalism award recipient.