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‘Nothing changed with this law’ — Palestinians respond to ‘Nation-state of Jewish people’ law

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As the international community expressed shock over Israel’s declaration that its Jewish citizens hold the “exclusive right to national self-determination” in the state, some 20% of the population saw only an affirmation of an already bleak reality.

“I think the bill has only officialized what has already been a kind of unofficial policy of discrimination by the state of Israel towards its Palestinian minority,” 24-year-old Amran Abu Houf, a Palestinian citizen of Israel from the northern Galilee region, told Mondoweiss.

“So, I’m not really shocked that it passed,” he said.

Abu Houf, an activist with Mossawa, a Palestinian advocacy NGO inside Israel, is one of more than 1.6 million Palestinian citizens of Israel.

For him, and many others like him, the nation-state bill did not bring anything new to the table.

“In my experience, nothing really changed with this law. The discrimination has always been evident since the inception of the state,” Abu Houf said.

Some Palestinians, like university student Mohammed Khalaf, 25, called on Palestinian politicians in the Israeli parliament to boycott work in protest.

“This nation-state law is the most dangerous law in years, its saying that Arabs have no say in what happens in this country,” Khalaf told Mondoweiss.

“The least we can do is refuse to participate in the very system that seeks to deny us our basic human rights,” he said.

As Palestinian leaders, rights groups, and international officials came out in condemnation of the law, saying it would pave the way for the discrimination of Palestinian citizens of Israel, Abu Houf and Khalaf are among the majority who say that the groundwork for a full apartheid state was laid down long ago.

For them, the “only democracy in the Middle East,” was never a democracy to begin with.

Government did not provide services in Arabic

As he spoke about the new law, which demoted Arabic from an official language to “special status,” and declared Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel, Abu Houf noted several cases in which Palestinian citizens of Israel have suffered under discriminatory laws and practices for years.

“Before this law, for example, Arabic was an official language of the state, along with Hebrew. But in practice, the government has never provided services in Arabic,” Abu Houf said. “If you go to the Knesset, you won’t find the government offering Arabic translations of anything.”

“Take a look at the lack of residency rights,” he said, “there hasn’t been a single new Arab locality that has been built since 1948, in comparison to hundreds of Jewish communities.”

Highlighting the case of the Palestinian communities in the southern Israeli Negev desert, Abu Houf criticized the attempts of Israeli authorities to demolish Bedouin villages and forcibly transfer its residents, in order to make way for new Jewish towns.

“The idea of advancing the development of only Jewish communities has been going on long before the Jewish nation-state bill,” he said. “Look at the town of Afula in the north. It’s a traditionally ‘mixed’ town, but Jewish residents have been demonstrating against the sale of homes in the community to Arabs.”

“This sort of racism and discrimination has been going on before the Jewish nation-state bill, the law just enshrined it and legalized it and drives these policies to continue.”

Police brutality and job discrimination

For Abu Houf and Khalaf, one of the prime examples of racially-charged discrimination in Israel is the heavy policing of Palestinian communities and the disproportionate use of violent police force against Palestinians compared to Jews.

“Just two months ago we staged peaceful demonstrations in Haifa in solidarity with Gaza, and we were attacked and beaten by Israeli police, who violently arrested several people, including the director of Mossawa,” he said.

Khalaf compared the experience of Palestinian citizens of Israel to the experience of Black Americans, drawing upon stories of racial profiling, frequent police stops and searches, and excessive use of force against Palestinians.

“They don’t treat us as a citizens, they treat us as second-class, the difference between how we are treated by the state versus how Jews are is evident,” he said. “Racism has been the law of the land since Israel was created in 1948.”

In his personal experiences with discrimination, Khalifa’s education and work experience has taken the hardest hit.

Living as what he describes as a second-class citizen, means discrimination in the education sector and job market.

“My friends and I have tried so many times getting jobs in marketing or tech, but most places don’t hire Arabs,” Khalaf said.

“Either they blatantly won’t hire you because you are Arab, or they will say they only hire people who have done the Israeli national service, which many of us Palestinians refuse to participate in,” he said.

Khalaf told Mondoweiss that after finishing his associate’s degree in an Israeli university, he was finding it difficult to get into a Bachelor’s program, despite being one of the top in his class.

“All of the scholarships from Israeli universities go to the Israeli students, not to the Palestinians. Less than 10% of the Arabs in my school were accepted to other Israeli universities, while almost all Jewish students were,” he said, expressing frustration.

With little options for him inside Israel, Khalaf is now completing his Bachelor’s degree at the Al-Najah University in the occupied West Bank city of Nablus.

Effects on rights groups

While speaking to Mondoweiss, Abu Houf pointed out the sinister reality that with the new nation-state law, the work of Mossawa and others like it who advocate on behalf of the Palestinian minority in Israel will likely become much more difficult.

“Discrimination against Palestinian citizens of Israel is now state-sanctioned,” Abu Houf said. “Now it will be much harder for us to do this advocacy work on behalf of the Palestinian minority, because now it is part of the constitutional law.”

Attorney Suhad Bishara, of the Adalah Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, echoed Abu Houf’s sentiments, telling Mondoweiss that the main effects of the law will be felt in residency, land, and planning issues.

“All of the court decisions in the past, over 20 years, have stressed the principle of equality in land allocations, and for example, have resulted in a ban on the establishment of exclusive Jewish settlements,” Bishara said.

“All of these wins were mainly achieved by human rights organizations. With this new law, all of that work is being reversed. It will make it much harder for us to challenge any cases of discrimination against Palestinians, because this racist notion of Judaization will become a constitutional norm,” she said.

Bishara highlighted the fact that over the years, between 40-60% of historically Palestinian-owned land has been confiscated by the state for Jewish use, and that in Israel proper, there are around 928 settlements that exist exclusively for Jews, or have a very small minority of non-Jews living there.

“Once you set as a constitutional norm of Jewish superiority in all aspects of life, including spatial and geographical superiority, racism becomes normalized,” she said.

“And when it becomes normalized, people will no longer be hesitant to refuse to sell their homes to Arabs for fear of legal action. People will be able to demand freely that they do not want to live next to Arabs, and that they want to establish Jewish-only towns.”

“Yes, all of this been happening since day one,” she said. “But before this law, there have been opportunities to challenge these practices based on constitutional norms. This space to challenge will disappear, because Jewish superiority is now constitutional.”

Yumna Patel

Yumna Patel is the Palestine correspondent for Mondoweiss.

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39 Responses

  1. Maghlawatan on July 20, 2018, 5:24 pm

    Everything in Israel depends on what the goys think

  2. Mooser on July 20, 2018, 5:52 pm

    “Jon s” should be here soon to tell us the law is simply a harmless expression of national pride, and that Palestinians will be even better provided for under the new law. Instead of all the time being uncertain about their place in Israel, they will know it.

    • Maghlawatan on July 20, 2018, 6:37 pm

      Presumably whenever a fascist is elected in Europe what’s good for the Israeli goose will be fine for the antisemitic gander and Jews will be denied basic rights.

      • punterweger on July 21, 2018, 11:10 am

        Most of the so-called European “fascists” – such as those in the current Austrian governing coalition – have become Israel supporters because their main enemy is now Islam and not Jews, and Israel is seen as an important ally in this fight. They also officially fight “anti-semitism” in which they include criticism of Israel because it is a counterweight to whatever anti-semitic slips of the tongue come out of their base, and to show how far from Nazism they have come.

    • CigarGod on July 20, 2018, 7:29 pm

      Not till Sat. nite.
      Jon S wants to do it all nice and legal…and Constitutional.
      Abracadabra…Apartheid is legal.
      I assume the new law will be in several languages…including German.

      Ahhh yes, the Cigar and Sour Mash is fine tonight.

    • Mooser on July 21, 2018, 3:20 pm

      Okay, it was “Mayhem” instead.
      Same difference, “Israeli Left” or Settler Right.

  3. eljay on July 20, 2018, 7:08 pm

    || Mooser: “Jon s” should be here soon to tell us the law is simply a harmless expression of national pride … ||

    Or he’ll pop in with the latest soccer score.

  4. Mayhem on July 21, 2018, 1:05 am

    On behalf of JonS and any others who still have their heads screwed on:

    Why the fiery consternation and familiar breast beating?

    Nothing has fundamentally changed – Israel is asserting itself against the tsunami of those wishing to delegitimize it, against those who keep denying the very basis of its existence that was validated when it achieved independence.

    The yelling and screaming we are hearing is typical of the bloody-minded fearmongers who knee jerk to every single thing Israel does.

    Israel is without a written constitution, the passage of “basic laws” such as this one serves as the outline for the ongoing construction of such a document. It does not preclude the passing of new legislation to protect the interests of other ethnic groups.

    The constitutions of many other countries have been similarly patterned. In Spain Spanish nationality is given priority over that of ethnic minorities such as the Basques or the Catalans. The same is true of the Baltic states, all of which have substantial Russian minorities who must accept that Estonian, Lithuanian, and Latvian language and culture are the keystones of national identity.

    And what about Malaysia that the Israel-haters never complain about where laws exist that directly favour the indigenous Malays over the Chinese?

    • Xpat on July 21, 2018, 9:42 am

      ” In Spain Spanish nationality is given priority over that of ethnic minorities such as the Basques or the Catalans.”
      Thank you for putting Israel’s Constitutional Basic Laws into a European context. The Spanish Constitution (1978) opening words guarantee the rights of all Spanish citizens, not Spanish-speaking or non-Catalan citizens. The equivalent in Israel would be to uphold the full rights of all the citizens of the State of Israel, not just the Jews. In order to remove any doubt, the Spanish Constitution explicitly guarantees the rights of its minorities. The equivalent situation to Israel’s new, disgusting, racist Basic Law would be if Spain amended its constitution today to give preferential treatment under the law to non-Basques.

    • Misterioso on July 21, 2018, 11:00 am


      Sigh. So predictable. Pure bullcrap and “whataboutery.”

      Meanwhile, the “real story” continues to unfold:

      Jan 19, 2018 – Haaretz
      Opinion: “In Israel, Growing Fascism and a Racism Akin to Early Nazism” by Zeev Sternhell.**
      “I frequently ask myself how a historian in 50 or 100 years will interpret our period. When, he will ask, did people in Israel start to realize that the state that was established in the War of Independence, on the ruins of European Jewry and at the cost of the blood of combatants some of whom were Holocaust survivors, had devolved into a true monstrosity for its non-Jewish inhabitants. When did some Israelis understand that their cruelty and ability to bully others, Palestinians or Africans, began eroding the moral legitimacy of their existence as a sovereign entity?”

      ** Zeev Sternhell is a Polish-born Israeli historian, political scientist, commentator on the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, and writer. He is one of the world’s leading experts on fascism. Sternhell headed the Department of Political Science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

    • Talkback on July 21, 2018, 12:16 pm

      Mayhem: “Nothing has fundamentally changed …”

      Indeed. Israel has been an Apartheid state from the get go. It only officially enshrined it.

      Mayhem: “… those wishing to delegitimize it …”

      It’s just the other way around. You wish to legitimize its Apartheid.

      Mayhem: “It does not preclude the passing of new legislation to protect the interests of other ethnic groups.”

      Say Mayhem. Why don’t we find a right of equality in Israel’s Basic law? Or to be more precise. Why was this right explicitely removed from its Basic Law “Human Dignity and Liberty”? And where do we find Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Protest in the Basic Laws of this self hallucinating “only democracy in the Middle East”?

      Mayhem: “The constitutions of many other countries have been similarly patterned.”

      Which of these constitutions officially declares NOT to be a state of all of its citizens but only for a group that needs to keep others expelled to maintain its dominance aka the Crime of Apartheid?

    • eljay on July 21, 2018, 12:27 pm

      || Mayhem: … In Spain Spanish nationality is given priority over that of ethnic minorities such as the Basques or the Catalans. … ||

      Exactly right:
      – Spain for the Spanish
      – Israel for the Israelis

      An Israel that exists…
      – not for all of its Israeli citizens, immigrants, expats and refugees, equally; but,
      – primarily for Jewish Israelis and non-Israeli Jews (people all over the world, citizens of homelands all over the world, who have chosen to embrace the religion-based identity of Jewish),
      …is a religion-supremacist construct.

      || … And what about Malaysia that the Israel-haters never complain about where laws exist that directly favour the indigenous Malays over the Chinese? ||

      It’s terrible how Zionists insist on “singling out” countries like Malaysia, the world’s only Malaysian state.  :-(

    • Talkback on July 21, 2018, 1:06 pm

      Mayhem: “And what about Malaysia that the Israel-haters never complain about where laws exist that directly favour the indigenous Malays over the Chinese?”

      Yes, what about the Nonjew-haters’ support for racist laws againt Nonjews. Do they support them, too, if they were enacted to protect a Nonjewish and native population of a country?

    • RoHa on July 21, 2018, 8:16 pm

      “In Spain Spanish nationality is given priority over that of ethnic minorities such as the Basques or the Catalans. ”

      Basque and Catalan are not nationalities. The Basques and the Catalans have Spanish nationality, even if they don’t want it. Spain is a nation for all its citizens.

      • Sibiriak on July 22, 2018, 12:06 am

        RoHa July : Basque and Catalan are not nationalities. The Basques and the Catalans have Spanish nationality, even if they don’t want it. Spain is a nation for all its citizens.


        RoHa, Spain is quite complicated and conflicted, and its critical not to conflate “nationality“, “nation” and “citizenship” as you seem to be doing.


        The Basque Country or Basque Autonomous Community was granted the status of nationality within Spain, attributed by the Spanish Constitution of 1978. The autonomous community is based on the Statute of Autonomy of the Basque Country, a foundational legal document providing the framework for the development of the Basque people on Spanish soil…

        * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

        Catalonia […] is an autonomous community in Spain on the northeastern corner of the Iberian Peninsula, designated as a nationality by its Statute of Autonomy.

        * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
        After the [Civil] war, centralism was most forcefully enforced during Franco’s regime (1939–1975) as a way to preserve the unity of the Spanish nation. [8] His attempts to fight separatism with heavy-handed but sporadic repression[2] and his oftentimes severe suppression of language and regional identities[2] backfired: the demands for democracy became intertwined with demands for the recognition of a pluralistic vision of the Spanish nationhood.[4][8] When Franco died, Spain entered into a phase of transition towards democracy, and all democratic groups were forced to face the Catalan, Basque and Galician question.

        […]A decree-law was passed that allowed for the creation of pre-autonomías, “pre-autonomies” or provisional regional governments for all regions, the “historical nationalities ” included.[15] Catalonia was the first to be so constituted, reviving again the Generalitat. The Basque Country quickly followed suit.

        In the 1977 election to the first democratically elected Parliament since the times of the Republic, regional Catalan socialists (Socialists’ Party of Catalonia) and Basque nationalists (Basque Nationalist Party) both won significant positions in representing their regions and their aspirations.[8] This newly elected Parliament was entrusted to formulate a new constitution

        “Nationalities” in the constitution of 1978

        The demands for the recognition of the distinctiveness of Catalonia, the Basque Country and Galicia, within the Spanish State became one of the most important challenges for the newly elected Parliament. In fact, the writing of the second article, in which the “nationalities and regions” of Spain were recognized, was the most hotly debated in the Parliament.[9][16] Its acceptance was not smooth: the right vigorously opposed it, while the nationalists and the left firmly objected leaving it out .[8]

        The natural corollary to debating the term “nationalities” was debating the term “nation”. At the end of the spectrum there were those who thought the term “nationalities” was unnecessary, or that there was only one “nation” and “nationality”—Spanish—while at the opposite end of the spectrum there were those who advocated for defining Spain as a plurinational State, that is, a State integrated by several nations.[9] In the end, the second article was passed along with the term “nationalities” but firmly stressing the indivisible unity of the Spanish nation.[8] It reads:

        The Constitution is based on the indissoluble unity of the Spanish Nation, the common and indivisible homeland of all Spaniards ; it recognizes and guarantees the right to self-government of the nationalities and regions of which it is composed and the solidarity among them all

        — Second Article of the Spanish Constitution of 1978

        The article united two historical trends in Spain: centralism and federalism, and in the words of one of the seven fathers of the Constitution, Jordi Solé Tura it was “[…] an authentic point of encounter between different concepts of the Spanish nation […] In it, two great notions of Spain merge.”[8] It aimed to give an answer to the nationalistic aspirations that had been silenced during the four decades of Franco’s dictatorial regime.[15]

        The constitution itself did not define the term, despite the diverse meanings and interpretations that its proponents and opponents had —ranging from “an expression of historical and cultural identities […] in the superior unity of Spain” (Landelino Lavilla, from the Union of the Democratic Centre),[9] “communities with a prominent cultural, historical or political personality” (Rafael Arias-Salgado, from the Union of the Democratic Centre),[9] all the way to making it equivalent to “nation”, (Manuel Fraga from the People’s Alliance, in stern opposition to the term “nationalities” precisely because of its alleged synonymity with “nation”)[16] or defining it as a “nation without a State […] within the plurinational reality of Spain […] as a Nation of nations” (Miguel Roca Junyent, from the Unified Socialist Party of Catalonia).[9]

        The particular meaning that the term “nationalities” was to acquire in Spanish politics, in reference to regions, created some confusion with the concept of “nationality” with regards to citizenship. The matter was especially confused when the latter was defined in the 11th article of the constitution.[8][17] It was suggested that the term “nationality” be changed to “citizenship” in the 11th article, but it was considered that the terms nationality and citizenship are not completely synonymous , as it is common in other European legislations.[17]

        * * *

        In 2006, the Catalan Parliament, in approving a new Statute of Autonomy, chose to define Catalonia not as a “nationality” but explicitly as a “nation”, by a large majority. Similar proposals were made in Andalusia. The Spanish Parliament, which must ratify all Statutes of Autonomy, removed the article that defined Catalonia as a “nation”, but made a reference in the Preamble of the document to the “fact” that the Catalan Parliament had chosen to so define Catalonia, but that the constitution recognizes her “national reality” as a “nationality”.

      • Sibiriak on July 22, 2018, 8:05 am

        More on Spain:

        Azar Gat, “Nations” (pp. 353-356):

        “Imperial nations” and composite identities

        …the French model is not the only, or typical, version of civic nationalism. There are other, more flexible models, which acknowledge different levels of identity and different subgroups within what is still regarded as an inclusive civic nation. These subdivisions are usually defined as ethnic, communal, or sometimes linguistic, rather than national. Under such a model the ethnic element is openly acknowledged, not as defining the national identity, but as a significant characteristic of certain subgroups within it.

        This, for instance, is the case in the United States, where it largely rests on the willingness – often eagerness – of immigrants from various (and faraway) countries of origin to forgo their original national identity and adopt the American one. In the American case, as well as in other immigrant countries, this also means the adoption of the prevailing language of the country. At the same time, one’s heritage and ethnicity have come to be accepted and often celebrated as a significant aspect of being an American.

        Moreover, the civic nationalism of many postcolonial countries with culturally diverse populations is characterized by an officially acknowledged (ethno)linguistic pluralism, while strongly insisting on a single national identity to which all citizens and all groups belong.

        Sometimes, however, a certain group may be recognized as having a distinct national (rather than “merely” ethnic) identity of its own, while still being considered as a subcategory within a larger nation.

        The clearest example of this model is Spain, where the “Spanish nation” is described by the constitution as being made up of “nationalities and regions” (Article 2). Within this framework, the three “historic nationalities” – Catalonia, the Basque country, and Galicia – were from the outset recognized as “nationalities” and set up their autonomous national territorial entities. Later, some of the other regions also claimed a “national” character in this sense.

        At the same time, the Castilian-speaking majority is clearly dominant, not only de facto, due to its numerical superiority, but because of the official and “national” status of its language. The Spanish nation, whose “indissoluble unity” is proclaimed by the constitution (Article 2), is not perceived merely as synonymous with the country as a whole (“the indivisible homeland of all Spaniards”) or with the entire civic community, but is clearly endowed with a cultural character by the provision on the official language:

        Castilian is the official Spanish language of the State. All Spaniards have the duty to know it and the right to use it” (Article 3.1). On the other hand, the country’s autonomous communities can establish their own regional official languages, and have naturally proceeded to do so.”

        A “Spaniard” is thus not merely a citizen of the Spanish state, regardless of national identity. Rather, his or her national and cultural identity, defined through language, is (in the case of minority groups) perceived as two-layered.

      • Sibiriak on July 22, 2018, 8:11 am


        Language is central to the map of national identities in Spain, as it is in many other places. Of course, differences of language can sometimes be defined as “ethnic” rather than national. There is, needless to say, no “objective” way to distinguish between “mere” ethnicity and national identity, or, indeed, between the different levels of national identity itself. These are all a matter of how people perceive themselves and are perceived by others, and often these perceptions and definitions are conflicting. In the post-Franco democratic Spain, at any rate, non-Castilian-speaking peoples in Spain were officially recognized as “nationalities.”

        The higher layer of a Spaniard’s national identity is the common “Spanishness” stressed not just by making Castilian the language of the nation as a whole, but by adding the unusual provision (similar to the one in Bulgaria) for every citizen’s “duty to know it.” The lower layer is (in the case of minority groups) his or her “nationality” within this nation. The Castilian-speaking majority is not defined as a (majority) “nationality.” Only the minority groups are defined as nationalities, while the majority (split between several regions – there is no region called simply “Castile”) receives no appellation distinct from the nation as a whole.

        The majority is clearly not synonymous with “the Spanish nation,” but neither is it merely one of the nation’s components. It is the nation’s core, and its identity – the national “default option.”

        This national model combines inclusiveness with a high degree of pluralism, but it still hinges on a denial of a fully-fledged nationhood to the Basques and the Catalans, many of whom insist on this definition.

        Moreover, it “subsumes” them under an overall national identity within which they inevitably belong to the periphery rather than to the core.

        This national concept, enshrined in the constitution, is not accepted by the Basque and Catalan nationalists – not merely the radical separatist ones (some of whom, among the Basques, have taken up arms for the cause of separatism) but also the moderate ones. The latter have long commanded a majority in both the autonomous regional parliaments. Both these parliaments have passed resolutions asserting that their respective peoples are “nations” in the full sense, rather than national sub-divisions of some larger nation, and therefore have a right to national self-determination.

        At present, the regional governments and parliaments controlled by moderate nationalists do not support secession from the Spanish state, but they insist on a right to secede if their nations should freely decide to do so. Accepting this demand – which the central government, supported by the large Castilian-speaking majority, refuses to do – would turn Spain into a fully-fledged multinational state, whose unity, moreover, would no longer be “insoluble.”

        Thus, according to the definitions enshrined in the constitution, Spain regards itself, despite its officially acknowledged multinational aspect (on the level of the “nationalities”) as a nation-state, based on a common “nationhood.” This concept of nationhood is avowedly civic in the sense that it purports to include all the subgroups of citizens.

        However, from the viewpoint of Basque or Catalan nationalists (even moderate ones), the Spanish nation is no more than a majority nation in a state in which they regard themselves as minority nations, and the Spanish state, as such, expresses the identity of the majority.

        Even according to the official view and official terminology, the common Spanish nationhood is far from being neutral between the majority and the minority groups. The majority, which defines its national identity as simply Spanish (rather than Castilian), has appropriated the name that also stands for the whole. Although historically the name “Hispania” applied to the entire Iberian peninsula, the minority nationalists now regard the “Spanish” national label as referring to another nation and inapplicable to them.

        (Azar Gat, “Nations” )

      • RoHa on July 22, 2018, 11:57 pm

        Thanks, Siberiak.

        The Spaniards do have some funny ideas. Comes from being foreign, probably.

        In Spanish terms,* then, Basque and Catalan do count as “nationalities”.

        But does that stop Spain from being a state for all its citizens?

        Does Spain have discriminatory** laws against Basques and Catalans?

        Does Spain declare that the right of self-determination in respect of Spain is for the Castilian Spanish citizens only, not the Basque or Catalan Spanish citizens?***

        These are, I think, the key questions for this issue.

        (* My conflation of “nationality” and “citizenship” is a result of looking at my passports. One says “Nationality: Australian”. The other says “Nationality: British Citizen”.

        **Requiring competence in Spanish is the opposite of discriminatory. It is inclusive, making it possible for all citizens to engage in all parts of society.

        ***The Spanish state is not happy with the idea that Basques and Catalans have separate rights of sd, distinct from their rights as Spanish citizens.)

    • RoHa on July 21, 2018, 8:19 pm

      “And what about Malaysia that the Israel-haters never complain about where laws exist that directly favour the indigenous Malays over the Chinese?”

      So you think Israel should have laws that directly favour the indigenous Palestinians over the descendants of the European immigrants?

    • Mayhem on July 22, 2018, 1:28 am

      Spain’s constitution makes Castilian Spanish the sole official national language and requires all citizens to know it, even if their mother tongue is Basque or Catalan.
      Ireland grants “primary” official status to Gaelic, though only a small percentage of citizens actually speak it, enshrining the state’s special relation to the Irish ethnic group.

    • Mayhem on July 22, 2018, 1:33 am

      Clearly more examples are needed to get through the thick heads.

      The Latvian constitution opens by invoking the “unwavering will of the Latvian nation to have its own State and its inalienable right of self-determination in order to guarantee the existence and development of the Latvian nation, its language and culture throughout the centuries.” It continues by defining Latvian “identify” as “shaped by Latvian and Liv traditions, Latvian folk wisdom, the Latvian language, universal human and Christian values.”

      The Slovak constitution opens with the words, “We the Slovak nation,” and lays claim to “the natural right of nations to self-determination.” Only then does it note the “members of national minorities and ethnic groups living on the territory of the Slovak Republic,” which are not part of the “We” exercising national self-determination.

      • Talkback on July 22, 2018, 4:29 pm

        Mayhem, show us something similar in Israel’s Basic Laws:

        Latvian Constitution: “91. All human beings in Latvia shall be equal before the law and the courts.”

        Slovak Constitution: “Article 12 [Equality]
        (1) People are free and equal in dignity and their rights. Basic rights and liberties are inviolable, inalienable, secured by law, and unchallengeable.
        (2) Basic rights and liberties on the territory of the Slovak Republic are guaranteed to everyone regardless of sex, race, color of skin, language, creed and religion, political or other beliefs, national or social origin, affiliation to a nation or ethnic group, property, descent, or another status. No one must be harmed, preferred, or discriminated against on these grounds.”

        Spanisch Constitution:
        “Spaniards are equal before the law and may not in any way be discriminated against on account of birth, race, sex, religion, opinion or any other personal or social condition or circumstance.”

      • eljay on July 23, 2018, 12:38 pm

        || Mayhem: Clearly more examples are needed to get through the thick heads. … ||

        Once again, you are exactly right:
        – Latvia for Latvians
        – Slovak Republic for Slovaks
        – Israel for Israelis

        Keep up the good work. At some point, these examples might finally make it through your thick head.

    • RoHa on July 22, 2018, 1:44 am

      Of course, this “whataboutery” is just a distraction from the key moral question. The fact that other states do it does not make it right.

      And the accusation of being “Israel haters” is similarly irrelevant. It is just an appeal to the “you’re just jealous”/motivated reasoning fallacy.

      Let us suppose that we critics of Israel really are a bunch of hypocrites, anti-Semites, drug-peddlers, mass-murderers, traders in child sex slaves, and people who put commas after subject clauses.

      Let us further suppose that we criticize Israel, not from any concern for rights, decency, or humanity, but simply as an expression of the deep evil of our souls.

      How does this in any way absolve Israel?

      It matters not whether the criticisms come from us or from an assembly of angels, saints, and Bambi.

      The immorality of Israel depends on Israel, not on who points it out.

      • Jon66 on July 22, 2018, 3:09 pm

        It’s the idea of discriminatory enforcement.
        In the US, marijuana usage rates are roughly equal between blacks and whites. However, arrest rates for blacks are 3.73x that of whites. It’s not that blacks are not breaking the law, but rather that the arrests are discriminatory and racist.

      • RoHa on July 22, 2018, 11:01 pm
      • Mooser on July 22, 2018, 11:10 pm

        “It’s the idea of discriminatory enforcement.”

        Well. yes it is, isn’t it? If you take away civil rights from Palestinians, it won’t be discrimination any more, since they have no rights.

        BYW “Jon 66”, you have a bad habit of getting things backwards.

      • G. Seauton on July 24, 2018, 3:55 pm

        RoHa: “. . . and people who put commas after subject clauses.”

        I’m glad you saved the most atrocious for last. It’s important to have one’s priorities straight.

      • Mooser on July 25, 2018, 11:12 am

        “. . . and people who put commas after subject clauses.”

        I’ve got them on the list, they’ll none of them be missed!

    • RoHa on July 22, 2018, 1:45 am

      Bloody check box!

  5. Kay24 on July 21, 2018, 6:39 am

    “Myanmar’s military engaged in “extensive and systematic” preparations for a bloody crackdown on Rohingya Muslims, a rights group said Thursday, in a damning new report that it says justifies a genocide investigation.”

    Considering the fact that Israel supplies weapons to this brutal regime, chances are these criminals are being advised, and trained, by Israel too. I see a similarity to the treatment of the Palestinians. The deprivation of food going to these people before the massacre, also reminds me of zionist tactics. No one seems able to stop the massacres in both instances, despite the many reports that come out. Evil forces at work.

  6. Mayhem on July 22, 2018, 1:39 am

    @Roha, of which indigenous ‘Palestinians’ do you speak? To all accounts the Jews laid claim to being ‘Palestinians’ before any of the itinerant Arabs whose names indicate they came from other places.

    • RoHa on July 22, 2018, 10:57 pm

      There are people living in Palestine whose families have been there for centuries. Many of them are descendants of people whose families have been there for millennia. Those people (whether Muslim, Christian, Jew, Druze, or whatever) count as indigenous Palestinians.

      The immigrants are the people whose families lived in Europe or other parts of the world for centuries, only migrated to Palestine recently (from very late 19th Century on) and, rather than becoming part of the indigenous society, set up a separate society.

      So, do you want Malaysian-style laws for those indigenous people?

  7. jon s on July 23, 2018, 10:49 am

    Last week was a rough one for democratic forces in Israel:
    The Knesset, by a narrow majority , adopted a Basic Law which upset the delicate balance between “Jewish ” and “democratic”, making it more difficult to continue seeing us as a democracy.
    That same night the Knesst adopted a law which does not recognize equal rights for same-sex couples, sending the gay community into the streets in protest. They were especially infuriated by PM Netanyahu, who just a few days earlier, on camera, expressed support for gay rights and then , at the vote, voted against.
    That morning a Conservative rabbi was detained by the police for performing wedding ceremonies unauthorized by the Chief Rabbinate.

    There has been a boomerang effect .Many Israeli liberals and leftists have woken up this week in the wake of this “perfect storm”. The gay community poured into the streets (on Tisha B’Av!) and there was an outpouring of solidarity and support.
    The detention of Rabbi Hayoun brought unprecedented attention and support to the Conservative and Reform movements.

    As to the Basic Law, now there are three Druze MKs, two of them from the coalition, challenging it in the High Court of Justice, as well as other expressions of opposition to this racist law.

  8. Talkback on July 23, 2018, 11:25 am

    “That same night the Knesst adopted a law which does not recognize equal rights for same-sex couples …”

    Even the pinkwashing campaign is going down the drain in this proto-theocratic Apartheid Junta.

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