“israel effectively declares itself an apartheid state”, but still claims to be a democracy

“Israel effectively declares itself an apartheid state”

Palestinian civil society reacts to Israel’s “Jewish Nation-State Law​” which unambiguously defines Israel as a state that belongs exclusively to the “Jewish people.” This is despite the fact that one in five citizens of Israel is an indigenous, non-Jewish Palestinian.

Umm al Hiran demolition.jpg

(A Palestinian family in front of the ruins of their home in Umm al-Hiran, a Palestinian community that the Israeli government is destroying so it can build a town for Israeli Jews only in its place. Residents of Umm al-Hiran are Israeli citizens.)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: media@bdsmovement.net

July 19, 2018 — Today, Israeli lawmakers gave their final approval to the “Basic Law: Israel as the Nation State of the Jewish People” bill that unambiguously defines Israel as a state that belongs exclusively to the “Jewish people.” This is despite the fact that one in five citizens of Israel is an indigenous, non-Jewish Palestinian.

Palestinian members of the Israeli Knesset condemned the law, which enjoys constitutional power, as an “apartheid law.”

Adalah, a leading Palestinian human rights organization in Israel, describes how the law “affirms the principle of apartheid in housing, land and citizenship.” It concludes that “this law constitutionally sanctions institutionalized discrimination.”

Najwan Berekdar, a Palestinian citizen of Israel, reacted:

As a Palestinian citizen of this state, this bill entrenches my third-class citizenship on the land where generations of my family have lived since long before the state of Israel even existed.

The Jewish-Israeli majority is loudly reminding us indigenous Palestinian citizens of Israel that we are not welcome in our own ancestral homeland. My people have always suffered from legalized racism by the state of Israel and its institutions, but this law makes our apartheid reality the law of the land like never before.

As “non-Jews” we are already not allowed to buy or rent land on 93% of the area controlled by the Israeli state, and many of our communities are declared to be “unrecognized” and bulldozed out of existence by Israeli forces. I received a racially segregated and inferior education in a school system that conspicuously privileges Jewish-Israelis.

Israel is now stripping us of any semblance of equal rights based solely on our ethno-religious identity. It’s even demoting our language from one of the state’s two official languages.

Omar Barghouti from the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) commented:

Israel has dozens of racist laws, including some which strikingly fit the UN definition of apartheid. But with the constitutional power of this Basic Law, Israel is effectively declaring itself an apartheid state and dropping its worn-out mask of democracy.

From now on, it will not just be legal to racially discriminate against the indigenous Palestinian citizens of the state. It will be constitutionally mandated and required. This should stir people, institutions and governments to take effective action to hold Israel accountable.

Omar Barghouti concluded:

If ever there was a time for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel’s system of oppression, it is now. Israel’s official adoption of apartheid opens the door for the Palestinian people, Arab nations and our allies around the world to pressure the UN to activate its anti-apartheid laws and impose serious sanctions on Israel like those imposed on apartheid South Africa.

We shall double our efforts to further grow the BDS movement for Palestinian rights to hold Israel accountable for all its crimes against our people. No Israeli law will erase our right to self-determination in our homeland or the right of our refugees to return home. No Israeli far-right government, with all the blind support it receives from xenophobic and outright fascist forces in the United States and Europe, will ever extinguish our aspiration for freedom, justice and equality.

The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) is the largest coalition in Palestinian civil society. It leads and supports the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement for Palestinian rights

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‘Jewish nation state’: How israel enshrines apartheid into law

‘Jewish nation state’: How Israel enshrines apartheid into law

The law is only the latest attempt to legislate discrimination against Palestinians

Ben White's picture

On Thursday, the Israeli government formally passed the “Jewish nation state”law. With the Knesset’s summer recess on the horizon, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu managed to pass the law ahead of the break.

“This is a defining moment in the annals of Zionism and the history of the state of Israel,” Netanyahu told the Knesset after the vote.

The initiative has risen to the top of the news agenda in Israel, with high-profile interventions from opponents and supporters. Last Tuesday, President Reuven Rivlin warned in a public letter of what he believes are the dangers inherent in the law – especially an article designed to protect and promote the existence of Jewish-only communities.

Lobbying efforts

Ahead of the vote, a number of Jewish American leaders have strongly urged Netanyahu to reconsider, intensifying their lobbying efforts to prevent the bill’s passage.

These responses have, regrettably but predictably, been characterised by a failure to understand or take sufficiently into account how Israel’s status as a “Jewish state” has always been reflected in legislation and practice, and, crucially, how this has impacted on Palestinians since 1948.

The omission of the experience of Palestinian citizens in this ‘Jewish and democratic’ state is compounded by an analysis that fails to look deeper into why this legislation is being proposed at all

Many discriminatory laws are already on the books, and legal ways to create segregated communities in Israel already exist. There is no right to equality, and Israel is not a state of all its citizens. The much-heralded Declaration of Independence is not a constitutional law, and the Basic Law already privileges the protection of a “Jewish state” over equality for non-Jewish citizens. 

As a UN special rapporteur put it in 2012, Israeli authorities already pursue “a land development model that excludes, discriminates against and displaces minorities”. The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination has similarly noted “the enactment of a number of discriminatory laws on land issues which disproportionately affect non-Jewish communities”.

Indeed, the issue of Jewish-only communities, which has dominated recent criticism over the law passed on Thursday, is often debated without reference to the fact that Israel already has hundreds of such segregated communities, thanks to the role of “admission committees”.

Traced back to the Nakba

A decade ago, Human Rights Watch reported on how these committees “are made up of government and community representatives as well as a senior official in the Jewish Agency or the Zionist Organisation, and have notoriously been used to exclude Arabs from living in rural Jewish communities”.

Such decades-old institutionalised discrimination, which can be traced all the way back to the Nakba, makes a mockery of the claim by the Israel Democracy Institute’s Mordechai Kremnitzer that the new law would somehow constitute “the end of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state”.



Palestinians gather at the site of a tent protest on 8 April 2018 in Gaza (AFP)

The new law does, however, represent an innovation, both legally and politically, as analysed by legal rights centre Adalah in a new position paper published on Sunday; enjoying the status of a Basic Law, the Jewish nation state law would anchor racist practices in the constitution.

Coverage by Western media has, on the whole, reproduced the lacuna of the law’s Israeli critics. Yet, the omission of the experience of Palestinian citizens in this “Jewish and democratic” state is compounded by an analysis that fails to look deeper into why this legislation is being proposed at all.

The “Jewish nation state” law is not the product of a right-wing tussle between Likud and Jewish Home, or Netanyahu and Naftali Bennett. Rather, tracing the origins of this proposed legislation reveals that it is, in essence, pushback against the efforts by Palestinian citizens over the last two decades to affirm their national identity and demand a state of all its citizens.

Doubling down

Not long after former Shin Bet head Avi Dichter began efforts to pass a “Jewish nation state” bill in 2011, Israeli journalist Lahav Harkov – now news editor of the Jerusalem Post – praised the initiative by citing “campaigns to delegitimise Israel on the rise both inside and outside the country”.

Thus, the response from the Israeli political establishment to a mobilised Palestinian citizenry demanding genuine equality has been to double-down on discrimination, and to defiantly and ever-more explicitly assert and legally protect the existence of a “Jewish state”.

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At 70, Israel more than ever deserves a cultural and academic boycott

But this is not without its advantages, as highlighted by the furore over the new law. For what the draft legislation threatens is not the existence of a “democratic” Israel, but rather critics’ idea of a “Jewish and democratic” state (or at least the plausibility of maintaining this idea).

Through its crudeness, the law threatens Israel’s ability to continue long-standing, institutionalised discrimination with no international cost, a prospect flagged through the warnings of Israel’s attorney general and Jewish American leader Rabbi Rick Jacobs.

Demographic war

“The true face of Zionism in Israel,” wrote Orly Noy in +972 magazine last week, is “an inherent, perpetual demographic war against its Palestinian citizens. If Israel seeks to be Jewish and democratic, it needs to actively ensure a Jewish majority.”

The “Jewish nation state” law is part of this historic and ongoing demographic war – one that is testimony to the activism of Palestinian citizens and an effort to stifle it.

As Israel consolidates the de facto single state between the river and the sea, this won’t be the last attempt to see the apartheid reality on the ground further reflected in legislation.

Ben White is the author of the new book Cracks in the Wall: Beyond Apartheid in Palestine/Israel. He is a freelance journalist and writer and his articles have been published by Al Jazeera, al-Araby, Huffington Post, the Electronic Intifada, the Guardian’s Comment is Free and more.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye.

Photo: Israeli flags fly near the Dome of the Rock in the al-Aqsa Mosque compound on 5 December 2017 (AFP)

Hamas: Nation-State bill officially defines israel as apartheid entity

Hamas: Nation-State bill officially defines Israel as apartheid entity

Palestine Information Center – July 19, 2018

GAZA – Hamas strongly denounced on Thursday the adoption by the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, of the new Nation-State Basic Law, charging Israel of officially adopting an apartheid system of rule.

Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said “such a racist law” has seen the day thanks to the US unconditional support for the Israeli occupation and its apartheid regime.

“Such a law will not change the defacto situation. The Palestinians are and will forever remain the real sovereigns in Palestine”, said Barhoum.

He called on the Palestinians to opt for a unified national strategy so as to defend Palestinians’ rights and land against such schemes.

Hamas urged the international community to work on reining in the unabated flow of Israel’s apartheid policies and prosecute the Israeli occupation for its flagrant breaches of international resolutions.

The Israeli Knesset voted 62 to 55 early Thursday to approve the Jewish Nation-State Basic Law that constitutionally enshrines the identity of the State of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people.

It guarantees the ethnic-religious character of Israel as exclusively Jewish and entrenches the privileges enjoyed by Jewish citizens, while simultaneously anchoring discrimination against Palestinian citizens and legitimizing exclusion, racism, and systemic inequality. It is considered as the “law of laws” capable of overriding any ordinary legislation.

The danger of the law lies in the fact that it denies the Palestinian citizens their right to self-determination to instead be determined by the Jewish population. The Jewish Nation-State bill officially legalizes apartheid, in what observers dubbed one of the most dangerous laws adopted in recent decades to legalize discrimination against Arabs.

israeli parliament passes controversial ‘nation-state’ law. Apartheid now official policy

Knesset approves apartheid ‘Israel for Jews’ law

Arab lawmakers tear the nation-state bill in protest after it passes in the Israeli parliament on July 19, 2018.Arab lawmakers tear the nation-state bill in protest after it passes in the Israeli parliament on July 19, 2018.

Israel’s parliament (Knesset) has adopted a controversial bill that declares the occupying entity “the nation-state of the Jewish people,” in what is widely criticized as an apartheid measure that could lead to discrimination against its own Arab population.

The law was passed by a vote of 62-55 after a long and stormy debate early on Thursday.

The law prioritizes “Jewish” values over democratic ones in the occupied territories, declares Jerusalem al-Quds the “capital” of Israel, allows Jewish-only communities, sets Hebrew as the official language of Israel and relegates Arabic from an official language to one with “special status.”

Speaking moments after the bill passed into law, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed the vote as a “defining moment in the annals of Zionism.”

Immediately after the bill passed, Arab lawmakers tore it in protest, calling it an instance of “apartheid.”

The bill has been compared to South African apartheid by Israeli lawmakers, but Netanyahu had repeatedly said its passage is one of his top priorities.

Arab members of the Knesset Ahmed Tibi and Ayeda Touma-Souliman yelled at Netanyahu, “You passed an apartheid law, a racist law.”

“Why are you afraid of the Arabic language?” Tibi lashed out at Netanyahu.

The picture taken on July 18, 2018 shows Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with cabinet ministers at the Knesset plenum.

Members of the Arab minority in the Israeli-occupied territories also condemned the bill as racist and verging on apartheid.

“I think this is racist legislation by a radical right-wing government that is creating radical laws, and is planting the seeds to create an apartheid state,” said physician Bassam Bisharah, 71.

“The purpose of this law is discrimination. They want to get rid of the Arabs totally,” said Yousef Faraj, 53, from the Druze village of Yanuh. “The Israelis want to destroy all the religions of the Arabs.”

Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, described the law as a bid to advance “ethnic superiority by promoting racist policies.”

As part of the protest campaign against the bill, activists from Peace Now, an Israeli anti-settlement group that monitors settlement activity in the West Bank, waved a black flag in the Knesset balcony during the debate on Wednesday and early Thursday.

Ayman Odeh, the head of the Joint List alliance in the Israeli parliament, also raised a black flag during the debate against the legislation.

The law had drawn criticism by a wide range of NGOs and rights groups as a racist bill that would divide the society. Arabs in the occupied territories form about 20 percent of the population.

The bill would “remove the mask so as to reveal the ugly face of ultranationalist Israel in all its repugnance,” Mordechai Kremnitzer, from the faculty of law at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, wrote in Israel’s Haaretz newspaper last week.

Apartheid regime Air Strikes Kill Two Children, Injure 25 Palestinians, In Gaza

Israeli Air Strikes Kill Two Children, Injure 25 Palestinians, In Gaza

IMEMC News – July 15, 2018

 

 

15 Jul
12:56 AM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Israeli Airforce carried out, on Saturday evening, several airstrikes targeting Gaza, killing two children and wounding at least twenty-five Palestinians in Gaza city, when the missiles struck a  building next to a public green park, filled with people.

The Health Ministry in Gaza said the Israeli missiles killed Amir an-Nimra, 15, and his friend Luay Kahil, 16, in addition to causing injuries to at least 25 other Palestinians.

It added that the Israeli missiles also targeted ambulances, the Central Medical Emergency building, and several mobile clinics.

The targeted public square, known as al-Kateeba, is near al-Azhar and the Islamic Universities, and is surrounded by several government ministries and facilities. It is also used by Palestinian factions when they celebrate certain events, such as the anniversaries of their establishment.

Being one of the few green and public squares in Gaza, it has a public park, slides and swings for the children, and is usually overcrowded with people, especially in the evenings after dark, due to the heat.

According to eyewitnesses, Israel F-16 warplanes fired at least five missiles into the park and a building next to the park, in addition to firing missiles into another area, west of Gaza city, and Palestinian lands in al-Jala’ area, in northern Gaza.

Besides killing the two children, and wounding at least 25 other Palestinians, the Israeli missiles destroyed one ambulance, damaged nine other ambulances, partially damaged three trucks used for transporting medicine and medical supplies, severely damaged a number of administrative offices for medical emergency and transportation, in addition to causing damage to two civilian transporting vehicles.

Late on Saturday, Reuters news agency reported that Egyptian officials had negotiated a ceasefire between Palestinian fighting groups and Israeli authorities, but Israeli officials did not corroborate this claim. According to Reuters, an unnamed Palestinian official told them, “Egyptian and international efforts succeeded in ending the current round of escalation”.

A Palestinian driving near the park captured the moment that one of the bombs hit the park and posted it on Twitter:

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fwww.amwaj.co.il%2Fvideos%2F1684078335024037%2F&show_text=0&width=268

Israeli media claimed that 4 Israelis in Sderot were injured when the sound from a Palestinian shell near their house shattered their fish tank, and the glass from the fish tank cut them.

The Palestinian shells have been described as little more than fireworks, which are fired across the border with Israel and usually hit farmland. Occasionally they hit a building, and leave holes of two to three inches, but seldom do they cause damage beyond that.

25 Palestinians were wounded by the Israeli bombing, many of them critically wounded with severe injuries from the missiles dropped by F16 jets on the civilian population. A number of those injured are children and women who were out walking in the park when the bombs were dropped, according to Ashraf al-Qedra of the Palestinian Ministry of Health.

The latest escalation in violence by Israeli forces follows a three month period in which Israeli forces repeatedly attacked non-violent protests with live ammunition, massacring  137 Palestinians, and wounding more than 15,000 others, since the outbreak of the protests, on March 30th 2018.

On Monday July 9th, as the tactic of massacring non-violent demonstrators failed to provoke any type of violent response from Palestinian resistance fighters, Israeli authorities escalated their economic siege of Gaza by completely sealing the Kerem Shalom commercial crossing, which was the only way that food and medical supplies had been able to enter Gaza apart from underground tunnels.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu stated this week in a meeting with legislators from the Likud party, “In agreement with the defense minister, we will act with a heavy hand against the Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip … I have no intention to prematurely announce all of the steps we are taking. There will be other steps which I won’t detail.”

Apartheid In Action: The data show that for every household size, the net income of Arabs is less than half that of Jews

Income disparity between Arabs and Jews in Israel

Marginal income

לפני שנה הלמ”ס הוציאו את פרסום 1677, שעניינו הכנסות והוצאות של משקי בית לפי סקר משנת 2015. מתוכו בחרתי להסתכל על נתוני ההכנסה של מגזרים בשוליים של החברה הישראלית — הערבים והחרדים. צריך לעשות את זה מדי פעם כדי להיזכר שממוצעים לא בהכרח משקפים את כולם. יש הרבה שונוּת / אי-שוויון. A year ago, the Central Bureau of Statistics removed publication 1677, which deals with income and expenditure of households according to a survey from 2015. From this I chose to look at the income data of sectors in the margins of Israeli society – the Arabs and the ultra-Orthodox. Everyone has a lot of variance / inequality.

נתחיל עם הערבים. Let’s start with the Arabs. הגרף הבא מציג את רמת ההכנסה נטו של משקי בית ערבים לעומת יהודים. The following graph shows the net income level of Arab versus Jewish households. הציר האופקי הוא הגודל של משק הבית (מספר נפשות; הנקודה האחרונה משקפת את הגודל הממוצע של משקי בית עם 6 נפשות או יותר). The horizontal axis is the size of the household (number of persons, the last point reflects the average size of households with 6 persons or more). מהנתונים רואים שעבור כל גודל של משק בית, ההכנסה נטו של ערבים היא פחות מחצי מזו של יהודים. The data show that for every household size, the net income of Arabs is less than half that of Jews. החריג היחיד הוא משקי הבית הגדולים ביותר, שאצל יהודים הם בעיקר משקי בית חרדים, אבל אפילו במקרה הזה ההכנסה של יהודים גבוהה פי 1.76. The only exception is the largest households, where Jews are mainly Haredi households, but even in this case, the income of Jews is 1.76 times higher. הפער הזה הוא בחלקו בגלל רמת תעסוקה נמוכה יותר , ובחלקו בגלל שכר ממוצע נמוך יותר. This gap is partly due to a lower level of employment , partly due to lower average wages.

sz-income

שטחי העיגולים משקפים את מספר משקי הבית מכל גודל. The area of ​​the circles reflects the number of households of all sizes. זה מצביע על הבדל מעניין נוסף: אצל יהודים מספר משקי הבית קטֵן ככל שיש בהם יותר נפשות, ואצל ערבים ההיפך – משקי בית גדולים הם הנפוצים יותר. This indicates another interesting difference: among Jews, the number of households is smaller as they have more people, and among Arabs the opposite is true – large households are more common. ובמשקי בית גדולים ההכנסה לנפש נמוכה יותר. And in large households the per capita income is lower. משקי הבית הקטנים (1-2 נפשות) הם בעיקר של קשישים. The small households (1-2 persons) are mainly of the elderly.

ועכשיו לחרדים. And now to the ultra-Orthodox. הגרף הבא משווה את הרכב ההכנסות של חרדים עם זה של מגזרים יהודים אחרים בשנת 2015. משק בית חרדי מכניס בערך חצי ממה שמשק בית יהודי אחר מכניס מעבודה. The following graph compares the income of Haredim with that of other Jewish sectors in 2015. An ultra-Orthodox household puts in about half of what another Jewish household brings in from work. בנוסף, לחרדים אין הכנסות משמעותיות מהון, פנסיות, וקופות גמל. In addition, the ultra-Orthodox do not have significant income from capital, pensions, and provident funds. לעומת זאת יש להם הכנסות גבוהות משל מגזרים אחרים מהקצבות ותמיכות יחודיות (בניגוד לקצבאות הביטוח הלאומי, שדומות עבור כל המגזרים). On the other hand, they have higher income than other sectors from allowances and special support (unlike National Insurance benefits, which are similar for all sectors).

income-sources

מקורות Sources

הכנסות והוצאות משק הבית: נתונים מסקר הוצאות משק הבית 2015 . Household Income and Expenditure: Data from the Household Expenditure Survey, 2015 . פרסום 1677 של הלמ”ס, 13.7.2017. הנתונים על משקי הבית בגדלים השונים של ערבים לעומת יהודים מלוח 6. הנתונים על הרכב ההכנסות של משקי בית יהודים ברמת דתיות שונה מלוח ב’ במבוא. Publication No. 1677 of the Central Bureau of Statistics, July 13, 2017. Data on households of different sizes of Arabs versus Jews Table 6. Data on the composition of income of Jewish households on a religious level differs from Table B in the Introduction.

It’s official, israel is only a democracy if you are Jewish and that of course is no democracy at all

Knesset Officially Declares That Israeli Democracy Is for Jews Only

Flags at Peace Now rally, May 27, 2017, Rabin Square, Tel Aviv. Photo by Phil Weiss.

As the names hints, the bill would have declared that Israel belongs not to its Jews but to all its residents. The Knesset Presidency decided the bill was too dangerous to come to a vote.

The bill was put forward by the Joint List, a mega-party composed of three Israeli-Palestinian parties, forced to run together because the Zionist majority hiked the percentage of votes needed for a seat in the Knesset to 4%, which none of the parties would pass on its own, in an explicit attempt to ban them.

The chances of the bill passing even a preliminary reading was slim: similar to the chance that a baked pig, an apple in its mouth, would spread its wings and fly. The following parties supported the Presidency decision: Likud, Labor, Yesh Atid, Kulanu, Israel Beteinu and Torah Judaism. A member of another party, Betzalel Smotrich of the Jewish Home (Naftali Bennett’s party), abstained, saying that even though he thought the decision was justified, he did not think the Presidency had the authority to disqualify a bill.

Together with the eight Members of Knesset of the Jewish Home, the Presidency could field 95 MKs out of 120 to vote the bill down. And yet, it was considered too dangerous to debate.

Just what was so problematic in the bill? The Knesset legal counsel, Eyal Yanon, said it clearly:

“[The bill] contains several articles which are meant to change the character of Israel from the national state of the Jewish People into a state which grants equal status, from the national point of view, to the Jewish nation and the Arab nation.”

That is, the very debate about the bill would have raised troubling questions, proving yet again that a Jewish state and a democratic one cannot co-exist. They’re a contradiction in terms. A democratic country allows for a peaceful change of its form of regime. Capitalistic Great Britain lived under a socialist government. Almost every democratic country (sorry, Switzerland!) granted women the vote in the 1910’s or 1920’s. The franchise in the US today does not resemble what it was in 1791 or even 1871. Western countries have changed – not without blood and fire, true – from a regime controlled by the upper and bourgeois classes to one that, through gritted teeth, was forced to give rights to the working classes. This came about as a result of a stubborn struggle, which often had a grassroots wing, but always had a parliamentary one.

This wasn’t so long ago: As Obama noted in his Selma March speech, the marchers were “called Communists, half-breeds, outside agitators, sexual and moral degenerates, and worse – everything but the name their parents gave them.” The Selma march was the grassroots wing; the violence used by the white regime – violence which is essential, without which, without the “grave downhill” which is necessary for “taking the top” – forced the parliamentary wing, always more hesitant and “decent”, always a few steps behind the activist wing, to accept the Civil Rights Acts.

Even though relatively passive, the parliamentary wing is critical. No peaceful change can come without it.

Now the Zionist parts of the Knesset struck down the option of parliamentary change. There can be only one regime in Israel: a Jewish one. Democracy is a surplus: in Hebrew we say “medina Yehudit ve’democratit.” A state Jewish and democratic. But the “ve” meaning “and” precedes democratic. The state’s Jewishness is essential; democracy, less so.

But what is this “Jewish state” all about? Embarrassingly, the parties which disqualified the bill can’t seem to agree on that. It’s not easy, nowadays, to know the Likud’s position; as part of its metamorphosis into the monarchical party of the House of Netanyahu, it did not publish a platform in the last two elections. But there are sharp disagreements between Lapid’s party, Yesh Atid, between Labor and the Jewish Brotherhood, and even between the placeholders MKs in Lieberman and Kachlon’s parties there are endless divisions on just what “Jewish state” means.

But on one point, all these parties can agree: Be the Jewish state what it will, whatever face it will wear, it will not be the state of the Israeli Palestinians, and its features will never reflect theirs.

Liberal Zionists have been fond, for the past 50 years, of wasting precious oxygen and time on the question whether there can be a Jewish state which is also democratic. However, in reality as it is lived, not in some ideal, Platonic plane: that is, in the reality as it is shaped by the representatives of the vast majority of Israel’s Jews, 20% of the country’s citizens may not express, in the highest forum of the body politic that calls itself Israel, their views as to the ways the country should be governed and how it would express itself to its citizens.

They can vote, yes; they can even be voted into office; but they cannot have any influence. And we allow them to be elected, more and more, because we desperately need to pretend to the world we’re not Russia, not yet anyway.

The diminishing of the rights of the Palestinians MKs is a slow, slippery process. During the two earlier Knessets, no bills were disqualified. The last time this power was used, in the 18th Knesset (elected in 2009), it was used – you guessed it – to quash two bills authored by a Palestinian MK, Ahmed Tibi. Prior to this case, no use of this power was made.

At the same time, the Knesset and its homo sovieticus chairman, Yuli Edelstein, are busy promoting the Nationality Bill, which will delimit the space allowed Palestinian Israelis even more. The Knesset has made its choice; now let it live with it.

Update: ‘Adala, a human rights organization dealing with protecting the rights of Israeli Palestinians, has petitioned the High Court of Justice, demanding it will declare the Presidency decision illegal.

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