Netanyahu’s Jewish Nation State Law – enshrining discrimination in Israel’s constitution

A lot of fuss is being made about what one can and cannot say about the state of Israel. Especially virulent is the campaign against Jeremy Corbyn’s so-called “anti-semitism” in Britain. In reality this is a blatant attempt to silence any criticism of Israel and its discriminatory policies against the Palestinian people.

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Netanyahu’s Jewish Nation State Law – enshrining discrimination in Israel’s constitution

On 19 July, with 62 in favour and 55 against, the Knesset approved the Jewish Nation State Law backed by Israeli premier, Netanyahu. The approval of such a law has constitutional value and means that the daily oppression of and discrimination against the Israeli Arab minority (about 20 percent of Israel’s population) has officially become a constituent part of Israel’s legal foundations as a state.

Netanyahu’s aims

Gaza border protest 2018Netanyahu’s foreign policy is based on a very simplistic appraisal of the situation, exemplified by his remarks during the renaming ceremony for the Shimon Peres Negev Nuclear Research Center on 29 August:

On the internal front, his tune is not changing. It is clear that Netanyahu is pushing for a legitimisation of the unofficial status of non-Jewish Israelis as second-class citizens. By doing so, however, he is openly breaking the fiction of Israel as a democracy, thus pushing Israel’s liberal supporters within the country and throughout the world into disarray.

If the message was not clear enough, the Knesset presidium had just previously rejected a counter-proposal to the Jewish Nation-State Law: the “State of All its Citizens” law, submitted by the Joint List party. The promoters’ idea was that of establishing the “principle of equality for every citizen, while recognizing the existence and rights of two national groups, Jews and Arabs, who live within the state’s internationally recognised borders.”

However, this move just provides a stronger legal back-up to an established fact, rooted in the seven decades of Israel’s history. Israel as a state is inherently based on the systematic discrimination against the rights of the Arab minority of Israeli citizens, as well as on the oppression of the Palestinian population in the territories under effective Israeli occupation in the West Bank and Gaza.

Israel’s “Jewish Nation State” law approved – what changes?

TrumpNetanyahuThe new law defines Israel as “the national home of the Jewish people,” with Hebrew as its official language and Jerusalem as its capital. It also states that “the right to exercise national self-determination in the State of Israel is unique to the Jewish people,” thereby denying to Palestinians any national rights or existence.

Significantly, it declares “Jewish settlement as a national value” and that the state will “encourage and promote its establishment and consolidation”.


The meaning of this provision is very clear: it is a green light to further colonisation of Palestinian lands in all the territories occupied or controlled by Israel, including the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. To add insult to injury, Arabic is stripped of its status as an official language and downgraded to one with “special status.”

The provisions of this new law fly in the face of the most elementary international standards of what democracy – bourgeois democracy – should look like, by setting double citizenship standards and recognising the colonisation of what are regarded as illegally occupied territories by the United Nations.

In passing, Trump and Netanyahu are also dealing a final blow to the already dead “two-states solution” to the Palestinian question, firmly backed until yesterday by the previous US administration and the European Union.

One would expect a barrage of criticism from the very “liberal and democratic” European Union, but apparently once again they seem to value “democracy” only as long as it doesn’t get in the way of their fundamental interests. After a passing incident in which the EU’s ambassador in Tel Aviv, Emanuele Giaufret was publicly reprimanded by Netanyahu for protesting against the discriminatory law, the EU has retreated by stating “How Israel chooses to define itself is an internal issue for Israel to decide” and “We value Israel’s commitment to the shared values of democracy and human rights, which has characterized our longstanding and fruitful relations”.

The new law in fact is not introducing, but recognising and backing up discriminatory laws already in place. Just to provide a few examples, as already recognised by a UN special rapporteur 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 denounced “the enactment of a number of discriminatory laws on land issues which disproportionately affect non-Jewish communities.”

The issue of segregation and Jewish-only communities should also be considered on the grounds that Israel already has hundreds of such segregated communities, thanks to the role of “admission committees” that enforce the exclusion of Arabs.

Palestinians, whether Muslim, Christian, Bedouin or Druze, whether they are regarded by the Israeli ruling class as ‘loyal’ or ‘disloyal’, are officially disenfranchised and relegated to a position of second-class citizens.

The Druze betrayed

Netanyahu forcing through the approval of this law has triggered shockwaves within Israel, with unprecedented protests and mobilisation of the Druze Palestinian minority who have traditionally been loyal allies of the Zionist leadership and now rightly feel let down by Netanyahu and the Israeli state.

Zionists have traditionally used the example of the Druze men serving in the Israeli army as proof that non-Jews can prosper inside a self-declared Jewish state. Many Druze (who constitute about 2 percent of the population) have served as soldiers and officers in the IDF (Israeli Defence Force), even in positions of important responsibility. They have been disproportionately serving in the occupied territories and in the highest-risk areas. The Druze are regarded even by right-wing Zionists as reliable and ‘loyal’ to Israel.

Their reaction has been that of loyal subjects betrayed. As Druze scholar, Rabah Halabi, put it to Middle East Eye:

“Much of the Druze community are in a state of shock. They thought that by proving their loyalty, they would be treated as equals. But now they are being forced to re-evaluate, to accept that this view was mistaken.”

He added: “Their illusions are being shattered. It looks like a process of awakening has begun that will leave both sides bruised.”

Retired, Druze, IDF general, Amal Asad led demonstrations of tens of thousands, supported by Jewish sympathisers, including quite a few former Israeli security senior officials. Netanyahu met them with a contemptuous attitude, offering them secondary concessions, to which the Druze leaders replied: “We can’t be bought off with benefits and rhetoric on closing gaps.”

The Druze question is at the heart of decades of successful application of the tactic of ‘divide and rule’ by the Zionist ruling class. The collaboration of the Druze elite was useful to divide the Palestinian national movement, but they were never really accepted into the Israeli ruling class. In fact, ‘loyalty’ to Israel has never helped the Druze (or the Bedouin) population, which was subject to the same systematic mistreatment the majority of the Palestinian Israeli citizens faced.

Druze communities are generally as overcrowded and poorly resourced as other Palestinian communities in Israel. According to Dalia Halabi: “Some 70 percent of Druze lands were confiscated by the state, despite our communities’ ‘loyalty’. They did not get a better deal than other Palestinian communities.”

The limitations of the Druze leadership are evident. What they aim to achieve is a return to the past, but the trust between the Druze population and the Israeli ruling class has been profoundly damaged. Dozens of resignations of high-ranking officials are just the tip of the iceberg of a more fundamental break taking place among the mass of the Druze population, who are disproportionately represented in Israel’s state and private security industry.

The liberal Zionists’ attitude exposes their weaknesses. Not by chance they initially supported the Druze protests, but dropped out as they became more radical.

In an unprecedented move for a Druze leader, Asad warned on social media that the Basic Law risked laying the foundations for “apartheid”. He called the measure “evil and racist”.

As in the movement against the deportation of the African asylum seekers earlier this year, failure to connect the demands of the movement to the burning questions of the Palestinian rights prevents the cementing of a broad movement of the oppressed.

Demolition of Khan al-Ahmar

Meanwhile, the colonisation process in the West Bank is continuing and the Jewish settlers’ movement (numbering several hundreds of thousands between the West Bank and East Jerusalem) will be emboldened by the new law, as the following example shows.

On 4 September, the Israeli High Court finally rejected petitions filed against the demolition of Khan al-Ahmar, paving the way for Israel to demolish the entire village after 12 September. For years, the Israeli government has been pursuing the demolition of this tiny village in order to unify a continuous block of illegal Israeli settlements in the area, which will cut the territorial continuity of Palestinian land, severing the West Bank in two parts.

Khan al-Ahmar Bedouins have already been deported twice. First in the 1950s when they were pushed out of the Negev into the West Bank, and again in 1967, when the lands they had resettled in were seized to build the Kfar Adumim Jewish settlement. Deprived of their land, homes and livelihoods, they were pushed into “illegality”. Unfortunately for them, they are now again in the way of the Israeli ruling class’s expansion plans. After their eviction they will be forced to resettle next to a waste dump, near Abu Dis.

Trump lobbying for UNRWA’s liquidation

Trump NetanyahuThe historical pressure by Israel on the Palestinians has been strengthened since Trump’s election as US president. The US has abandoned any pretence of neutrality. Israel-Saudi relations have never been closer, given the need to make a common front against the rising Iranian influence in the region. Over the past 18 months, Trump has backed Netanyahu in all possible ways.

The recent decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem, coinciding with the celebrations for the 70th anniversary of Israel, was not just symbolic. Trump’s strategy is based on the assumption that the Palestinian leadership will buckle under stronger pressure and capitulate.

In typical Trumpian fashion, the US State Department announced two weeks ago that it was slashing $200m of US contributions to Palestinian aid programmes. This was soon followed by the announcement that the US would no longer continue its $360m annual contributions to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), depriving it of a third of its budget. This is a first step towards the declared US-Israeli aim of liquidating the UNRWA altogether.

These are extremely serious attacks, cutting whatever existing safety net exists for about 5 million Palestinian refugees spread out for decades in camps throughout the Middle East, and relying on the UNRWA for basic health care, food and education. By taking these measures, Trump is jeopardising the uneasy equilibrium in the whole region, with important, immediate consequences for the stability of Lebanon and Jordan above all, as will become evident in the near future. “Humanitarian aid” by UNRWA and other agencies represented an essential imperialist tool for regional stability, which for decades prevented the explosion of the pent-up anger of millions of Palestinian refugees.

Trump’s intentions were stated quite clearly in a leaked email (recently reported by Foreign Policy magazine) by Jared Kushner. Trump’s son-in-law, who is also the president’s special envoy to the Middle East, wrote that it was time to “disrupt UNRWA” and added that “sometimes you have to strategically risk breaking things in order to get there”.

This is clearly designed to blackmail the Palestinian leadership into further selling out the rights of the Palestinian refugees, after the already scandalous position taken by the Palestinian Authority President, Mahmoud Abbas, of renouncing their Right of Return.

Trump’s calculations may be based on a fair assessment of the real standing of the Hamas and Fatah leaderships, but don’t fully take into account the resilience and iron determination of the Palestinian youth to confront and overcome the unbearable oppression they are subject to. What we saw a few months ago with the defiant movement of the youth at the so-called Gaza border will just be the first act of a much broader revolt that will inflame the whole region. This will represent an opportunity for the movement to unify all the oppressed layers even within the ever-more-entrenched Israeli state and provide the possibility of ending the present imperialist and capitalist nightmare.
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6 COMMENTS

  1. ” …. and in it’s final days Israel will stand alone…” Ezekiel 38-39.
    So when you think about it, aiding Israel is actually disobeying the Bible.
    Washington Bible Thumpers/Politicians should do what the Bible says, and leave them alone.
    Besides, the USA is 22 Trillion dollars in debt how much longer can we afford to shower Israel’s Zionists with Trillions of dollars?
    Our military budget is nearly 900 Billion, how much of that budget goes to defending Israel’s Empire?

  2. “the national home of the Jewish people,”

    Hey great!!

    So I can look forward to England being ”the national home of white anglo saxon protestants”?

    I thought not

  3. Israel lover liar con artist cheater draft dodger, race discriminator in rental housing, … all documented by the late Wayne Barrett formerly in the Village Voice, recently disbanded, has sold what semblance there may be of a soul in his body, to the gangsters in Israel. He is very likely a Jew from birth or a converted Jew but he carefully kept this information hidden during the campaign. Our worst fears have been realized. All speculations about him have now been confirmed. He has sustained all the lies about Sandy Hook, all the lies about 9/11/01, all the lies about an agreement between the thugs in Israel and the Palestinians, and on and on and on. He may even be a dual citizen with Israel himself: actions speak louder than words don’t they? America is going down very quickly now. It is as if they have an agenda to see how soon they can bring it to its knees. Russia may have to do a dirty job of reducing a few major U.S. cities to ashes in order to knock some sense into the fools in America who place getting the car washed or poisoning the lawn to keep it green at a higher priority than allowing the despicable pieces of garbage in Israel to hi jack this country without a shot being fired. Shame, shame shame on everyone involved in this sell out of America; especially traitors Bush, Cheney and the four star generals who should all be sitting in a jail cell for life, not retired on lavish pensions some with SS protection as well to rub a little salt into the wound

  4. A majority of this disgusting so called “country” is nothing but criminals and liars and con artists who steal neighbor’s lands but then wonder why the neighbor hates them. The U.S. must end all aid and relations with this bunch of criminal thieves who think they are better than everyone else. All dual citizens in Congress must be forced out by our Justice Dept. If that fails ordinary citizens must step in and do the dirty job for them. This bunch of criminal thugs also did 9/11/01 while traitors Bush, Cheney and the four star generals stood idly by and did exactly NOTHING. With “friends” like these, who needs enemies? Congress must pass a law banning all dual citizenships. No one can serve two masters. There is always a conflict of interest.
    https://wikispooks.com/wiki/9-11/Israel_did_it

    • Top intellect and industrialist Henry Ford was totally 100% correct about these international gangsters and criminals in 1921: http://www.biblebelievers.org.au/intern_jew.htm
      THE INTERNATIONAL JEW,
      THE WORLD’S FOREMOST PROBLEM
      Abridged from the original as published by the world renowned industrial leader,
      HENRY FORD, SR.

      Appearing originally in the periodical published by the Ford Motor Co.
      “The Dearborn Independent.”
      https://www.shutterstock.com/video/clip-4294304-stock-footage–s-the-funeral-of-henry-ford-in.html Look at this very long line of people, on a cold winter day in Detroit in 1947, waiting to say good bye to the single man who did so much to improve their lives. Henry Ford was a genius with little formal education born on a Farm in Michigan in 1863. Pray for more Henry Ford’s to come along and save America from the selfish thieves he sought to expose in his great newspaper the Dearborn Independent.

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