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Israeli Knesset rejects bill to ‘maintain equal rights amongst all its citizens’

Israel/Palestine
on 24 Comments

The Knesset voted down today, by a margin of 71-38, the Basic Law: Equality bill, tabled by MK Mossi Raz (Meretz). The text of the bill was clear and concise: “The State of Israel shall maintain equal political rights amongst all its citizens, without any difference between religions, race and sex.” This is a direct quote from Israel’s Declaration of Independence.

Following the resignation of Defense Minister Lieberman a few weeks back, the governing coalition has a razor-thin margin of one vote: it controls 61 one votes out of 120. However, the coalition enjoyed the support of Yesh Atid, led by Israel’s Trump wannabe, Yair Lapid. Its eleven votes are unlikely to have delivered victory to the opposition, however, as many members of the Zionist Camp fled the hall before the vote.

Despite one the greatest political cons in history – “Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East” – Israeli law never recognized equality between citizens. An attempt to enter an equality clause to the Human Dignity and Freedom Basic Law, back in 1992, failed – mostly due to the opposition of the religious parties. The Israeli Supreme Court, doubling as the country’s High Court of Justice, found – or, rather, invented – emanations of equality in Israel’s Basic Laws; doing so often required the court to fall back on the equality clause of the Declaration of Independence, claiming it was the expressed will of the Founders.

Doing so after today’s vote will require extraordinary powers of judicial juggling. And the court, which was never that great shining light its supporters portray it (see, for damning example after another, Michael Sfard’s superb “The Wall and the Gate”) is becoming less emboldened to face the government.

Following the tumult of the Nation State Law, when the Druze filled the streets in protest – claiming, correctly, the law made them second class citizens – Netanyahu promised them he’d grant them an exemption somehow. Perhaps he’d declare them honorary Jews. Today, Netanyahu closed the gate of equality before them.

He did so with the votes not only of his ultra-nationalist coalition, but also with those of Lapid, whose party claims to be a center party while serving as a gateway drug to the extreme right. And by the absent votes of the frightened members of Labour. Those 71 votes represent the hard core of practical Zionism – Zionism as it is, not as it may be – who decided Israel would be a Jewish country and not a democratic one.

The Knesset told 20% of the country’s citizens that it would demand their loyalty, but would not grant them equality. They would have second class citizenship, dependent on the whim of the Jewish majority. Next time the government of Israel tells you it “shares values” with the US, remember what that value is: 3/5 of personhood.

So it goes.

Yossi Gurvitz
About Yossi Gurvitz

Yossi Gurvitz is a journalist and a blogger, and has covered the occupation extensively.

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24 Responses

  1. eljay
    eljay
    December 12, 2018, 11:36 am

    … The Knesset told 20% of the country’s citizens that it would … not grant them equality. They would have second class citizenship …

    It’s no surprise that a religion-supremacist “Jewish State” refuses to grant equality (or Jewish nationality) to its non-Jewish citizens. No point letting morality spoil perfectly good supremacism.

  2. JaapBo
    JaapBo
    December 12, 2018, 2:26 pm

    “The State of Israel shall maintain equal P O L I T I C A L rights amongst all its citizens, without any difference between religions, race and sex.

    Good that this law is defeated! It is not a law for full equality, but only for political equality. In practice that would of course mean that non of Israel’s 65+ racist laws (https://www.adalah.org/en/content/view/7771) would be abolished.

    Typical for left wing Zionism: trying to create the impression of equality, but in reality being structurally racist!

    • DaBakr
      DaBakr
      December 12, 2018, 3:15 pm

      @j

      as soon as you can wipe out “left wing” zionism you can finally get on with your real goals. keep struggling. we aren’t going anywhere either unless it’s to reclaim our property and wealth in our former muslim nations where we enjoyed such freedom and equality.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        December 12, 2018, 3:54 pm

        “as soon as you can wipe out “left wing” zionism you can finally get on with your real goals”

        How many Zionists do you think need to be “wiped out”, “Dabakr”?

      • Kay24
        Kay24
        December 12, 2018, 6:07 pm

        Despite the constant bragging from the apologists, claiming Israel to be the “only” democracy in the Middle East, they love to point to their non democratic neighbors, to always compare themselves to, and struggle to look better. Whataboutery is old and stale. We send endless aid to the “only” democracy, and expect better, not keep seeing apartheid policies being passed consistently. Zionists are not so supreme as they make themselves to be. They enjoy pretending they are to the outside world.

      • Misterioso
        Misterioso
        December 13, 2018, 8:57 am

        @DaBakr

        “we aren’t going anywhere either unless it’s to reclaim our property and wealth in our former muslim nations where we enjoyed such freedom and equality.”

        Reality:
        (1) To quote Yehouda Shenhav, of Iraqi Jewish heritage and professor of sociology and anthropology at Tel Aviv University: “Any reasonable person, Zionist or non-Zionist, must acknowledge that the analogy drawn between Palestinians and Mizrahi [Arab] Jews is unfounded. Palestinian refugees did not want to leave Palestine….Those who left did not do so of their own volition. In contrast, Jews from Arab lands came to this country under the initiative of the State of Israel and Jewish organizations.” (Ha’aretz, 8 October 2004.)

        (2) Avi Shlaim, born into an affluent and influential family in Baghdad: “We are not refugees, nobody expelled us from Iraq, nobody told us that we were unwanted. But we are the victims of the Israeli-Arab conflict.” (Ha’aretz, August 11, 2005) Shlaim is referring to the well documented acts of terror, including bombings of synagogues and Jewish owned businesses, carried out by “The Movement,” a Jewish/Zionist terrorist group controlled by Israel, whose purpose was to instil fear in Iraqi Jews and motivate them to immigrate to Israel. Several books and articles have been written by Jews of Iraqi origin about this little known chapter of history and an award winning documentary has also been produced and viewed around the world. Throughout the Arab world, especially in the Magreb, recruiters from Israel pressured Arab Jews to immigrate to Israel. This is a long and complicated story that has long since been documented, but not publicized in the West.

        Regarding the emigration of Iraqi Jews, I quote American diplomat, Wilbur Crane Eveland’s from his book, Ropes of Sand: “In attempts to portray the Iraqis as anti-American and to terrorize the Jews, the Zionists planted bombs in the U.S. Information Service library and in synagogues. Soon leaflets began to appear urging Jews to flee to Israel…. Although the Iraqi police later provided our embassy with evidence to show that the synagogue and library bombings, as well as the anti-Jewish and anti-American leaflet campaigns, had been the work
        of an underground Zionist organization, most of the world believed reports that Arab terrorism had motivated the flight of the Iraqi Jews whom the Zionists had ‘rescued’ really just in order to increase Israel’s Jewish population.”

        The U.S. State Department was also well aware of what Israeli agents had done in Iraq to precipitate Jewish emigration: “When [in August 1951] Israel undertook a campaign to get Iranian Jews to immigrate to Israel, the director of the office of Near Eastern affairs in the U.S. Department of State, G. Lewis Jones, told Teddy Kolleck, of Israel’s embassy in Washington, that the United States ‘would not favour a deliberately generated exodus there,’ as he put it, ‘along the lines of the ingathering from Iraq.’ Kolleck justified Israel’s Iraq operation as beneficial for Iraq, stating it was ‘better for a country to be homogeneous.'” (“Memorandum of Conversation by the Director of the Office of Near Eastern Affairs (Jones),” August 2, 1951, Foreign Relations of the United States 1951, vol. 6 p. 813, at p. 815 (1982)

        (3) The late Yisrael Yeshayahu, speaker of the Knesset: “We are not refugees…. We had messianic aspirations.”

        (4) Shlomo Hillel, former minister and speaker of the Knesset: “I don’t regard the departure of Jews from Arab lands as that of refugees. They came here because they wanted to, as Zionists.”

        (5) During a Knesset hearing into the matter, Ran Cohen, member of the Knesset: “I am not a refugee….I came at the behest of Zionism, due to the pull that this land exerts, and due to the idea of redemption. Nobody is going to define me as a refugee.” (Ha’aretz, October 8, 2004)

        BTW, unable to bear their circumstances and the blatant racism directed towards them by the Ashkenazi/white European Jewish establishment, about 5,000 Moroccan Jews promptly returned to Morocco after arriving in Israel in the late 1940s. In recent years thousands more have returned home and continue to do in order to live a meaningful, peaceful and prosperous life among their Arab/Muslim/Christian brothers and sisters. Morocco is benefitting greatly from their return.

        (It should not be forgotten that after being rejected twice by the UNGA, Israel signed the 1949 Lausanne Peace Conference Protocol and declared before the UNGA at the same time that it would comply with UN Resolution 194, which calls for the repatriation of and/or compensation for the then near 800,000 Palestinian refugees dispossessed and expelled before and during the 1948 war as a precondition for gaining UN admittance – see UNGA Resolution 273, 11 May 1949. Israel has since refused to comply with its pledge.)

        Also, given its implications for Palestinian refugees who numbered well over one million following the IDF’s expulsion of a further about 25,000 before and during Israel’s first invasion of Egypt in 1956 and an additional approximately 250,000 during and after the war it launched on 5 June 1967, Israel is utterly opposed to its citizens of Arab origin being referred to as “refugees.” For obvious reasons, Palestinian refugees would welcome such an initiative as it would also be applicable to them.

        Needless to say, any Jew of Arab origin who feels he or she has a legitimate grievance against an Arab country should pursue it through international law. The bottom line, however, is that while Palestinians were expelled from their homeland by Jewish militias and the IDF, they played no role whatsoever in the emigration of or any ill treatment and or loss of assets that Jews of Arab origin experienced in their former homelands. The two cases are separate and distinct, i.e., apples and oranges.

      • Misterioso
        Misterioso
        December 13, 2018, 10:04 am

        @Kay 24

        “We send endless aid to the ‘only’ democracy, and expect better, not keep seeing apartheid policies being passed consistently.”

        Correct. However, “endless” is an understatement.

        To wit:

        https://israelpalestinenews.org/media-ignore-largest-foreign-military-aid-package-in-us-history/?eType=EmailBlastContent&eId=59d03773-62f0-4b72-ad9e-ac7d1b3cf729

        “Media Ignore Largest Foreign Military Aid Package in US History” If Americans Knew Blog, Nov. 29/18 By Alison Weir

        EXCERPT:
        “Congress is about to legislate the largest military aid package to a foreign country in U.S. history, but U.S. media aren’t telling the American public.

        “Israelis know about the money, and Israel partisans are pressuring the one lone Senator opposing it, but apparently U.S. news organizations don’t think the general public needs to know…”

        “In an astounding case of media negligence, U.S. news media are failing to tell Americans that Congress is about to enact legislation for the largest military aid package to a foreign country in U.S. history.

        “This aid package would likely be of interest to Americans, many of whom are cutting back their own personal spending.

        “The package is $38 billion to Israel over the next ten years, which amounts to $7,230 per minute to Israel, or $120 per second, and equals about $23,000 for each Jewish Israeli family of four. A stack of 38 billion one-dollar bills would reach ten times higher than the International Space Station as it orbits the earth.

        “And that’s the minimum – the amount of aid will likely go up in future years.

        “The package was originally negotiated by the Obama administration in 2016 as a ‘memorandum of understanding (MOU),’ which is an agreement between two parties that is not legally binding.

        “The current legislation cements a version of that package into law – and this version is even more beneficial to Israel. Among other things, it makes the $38 billion a floor rather than a ceiling as the MOU had directed.”

        Nor, apart from massive tax deductible sums given to “Israel” by American Zionist organizations, should we forget huge contributions from American Evangelical groups:

        https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium.MAGAZINE-inside-the-evangelical-money-flowing-into-the-west-bank-1.6723443

        “Inside the Evangelical Money Flowing Into the West Bank”

        “A Haaretz investigation reveals that Christian groups have invested up to $65 million in projects in the ‘Biblical Heartland’ over the past decade. That doesn’t include services they provide free of charge, like volunteer laborers.” by Judy Maltz, Haaretz, Dec. 9/18

        WAKE UP AMERICA!! YOU’RE BEING SUCKERED!!

    • annie
      annie
      December 12, 2018, 4:24 pm

      jaapbo, are you suggesting none of the racist laws adalah has listed pertain to political rights? israel’s nation state law. having this bill go down and especially by such a large margin is not something worth celebrating.

    • Rob Roy
      Rob Roy
      December 13, 2018, 12:31 am

      Everything in life is political; every decision is political.

  3. DaBakr
    DaBakr
    December 12, 2018, 3:09 pm

    The Druze demonstrated, where acknowledged, no violence was perpetrated or public campaigns launched against them and so there it lies. Israel is not the druze homeland though they are welcome citizens and equal under the basic civil law. That must really hurt anti zionists in the midst of the muslim Arab block of nations. Israel haters can usually (the cardinal ejay excepted) be summed up
    by the cliche: penny wise dollar stupid. the same can be said for many non thinking zionist cheerleaders as well.

    • pgtl10
      pgtl10
      December 12, 2018, 8:00 pm

      Don’t confuse Druze having equal rights with having an obvious divide and conquer strategy.

    • RoHa
      RoHa
      December 13, 2018, 12:37 am

      Where are the borders of,the Druze homeland? What makes it the Druze homeland?

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        December 13, 2018, 3:11 am

        And Mossad has put a comma where there should be a space. I didn’t know I was sufficiently important for them to bother.

    • John O
      John O
      December 13, 2018, 3:47 am

      @DaBakr

      “Israel is not the druze homeland …” How kind of you not to declare them stateless.

    • Tonja
      Tonja
      December 13, 2018, 6:48 am

      DaBakr, you need to tell Haaretz that Druze are welcome citizens.
      Obviously you know better than them :
      https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/business/.premium-admired-for-their-army-service-druze-remain-second-class-israelis-1.6387349

      and basic civil laws aren’t the same than basic civil rights… For example Druzes have the same issues obtaining building permits than any other non-jews in Israel.
      It has even been reported that the Lt General who died in the not so stealth mission in Gaza got a buidling permit refused.
      So long for the equality
      https://www.adalah.org/en/content/view/8976

      • Tonja
        Tonja
        December 13, 2018, 7:12 am

        My bad i meant Lt Col (from the Druze village, Hurfeish)

      • Misterioso
        Misterioso
        December 13, 2018, 10:31 am

        @Tonja

        BINGO!!

    • Misterioso
      Misterioso
      December 13, 2018, 9:44 am

      @DaBakr

      “Israel is not the druze homeland.”

      I remind you that Muslims, Christians, Druze, and Jews lived together in historic Palestine in peace and harmony for centuries prior to the advent of Zionism and the arrival of your foreign Zionist Jewish ancestors intent on expelling the indigenous inhabitants in order to create a racist, exclusionary, expansionist “Jewish State.”

      BTW, it should not be forgotten that immediately after it invaded and occupied the Golan Heights (still illegally occupied) during the war it launched on 5 June 1967, the entity known as “Israel” dispossessed and expelled about 150,000 native Syrian Druze from the Golan Heights and destroyed their homes and villages. They and their descendants are now living in Syria.

      • DaBakr
        DaBakr
        December 17, 2018, 2:41 am

        @r

        Not really. As long a Jews were subjected to the dhimmi laws it was peaceful. They never had equality.

  4. JaapBo
    JaapBo
    December 12, 2018, 5:31 pm

    @Annie,

    Good point.
    I’m not suggesting that non of the 65+ racist laws pertains to politiccal rights.

    I am suggesting that if this “political equality” law were adopted, none of these 65+ racist laws would be abolished (they would find excuses for that, probably denying the racism of the laws), but (left wing) Zionists would use this “political equality” law to argue that Israel is not discriminating Palestinians.

  5. Marnie
    Marnie
    December 13, 2018, 3:36 am

    The ‘only democracy in the middle east’, until challenged about it, then the switch to ‘democratic values’ which is still a pile of shit. The ‘religious’ have too much power. They’ve demonstrated over and over again to be ignorant racist perverts whose only purpose is to divide based on purity, which comes down to what’s in your blood. The nazi comparison might seem tiresome and it’s definitely not changing the behavior of the zionists, but it is apt nonethless. That and eugenics. And the majority of israeli jews say that’s just fine.

  6. genesto
    genesto
    December 13, 2018, 12:33 pm

    We have to listen to the right wing Zionists here. They don’t pretend that Israel is democratic. In fact, they don’t really want it to be democratic, since it would jeopardize it’s status as a Jewish exceptionalist ethnocracy.

  7. Misterioso
    Misterioso
    December 13, 2018, 3:41 pm

    @genesto, et al

    https://www.thedailybeast.com/netanyahus-negotiating-with-neo-fascists-for-a-consensus-view-of-the-holocaust?ref=home

    “Netanyahu’s Negotiating With Neo-Fascists for a ‘Consensus View’ of the Holocaust”
    By Noga tarnopolsky, The Daily Beast, Dec. 13/18

    “To the consternation of Diaspora Jews who feel increasingly threatened, Israel’s prime minister is making nice with Europe’s far-right leaders and compromising history.”

    EXCERPT:
    JERUSALEM— “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has chosen an improbable way of celebrating the 70th anniversary of Israel’s founding: He’s palling around with neo-fascists and coddling Holocaust revisionists.

    “The year 2018 has seen Netanyahu embracing a parade of such leaders and, in a no less perplexing twist, we’ve had the Jewish state blatantly dismissing the needs of Diaspora Jews as they face mounting antisemitism and insecurity in Western countries roiled by social unrest.

    “Consider the past week.
    “On Thursday, Netanyahu acknowledged that he is negotiating with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán for an acceptable ‘consensus narrative’ in which the Hungarian state’s part in the Nazi crimes that wiped out half a million Hungarian Jews during World War II will be minimized, if not erased, in a new revisionist Holocaust museum to be opened in Budapest.

    “On Tuesday Netanyahu was welcoming Matteo Salvini, Italy’s new, nationalist interior minister to Jerusalem.

    “Salvini, you guessed it, is a close European ally of Orbán. He acceded to his post last summer and has become Western Europe’s de facto leader of the populist anti-immigration movement since.

    “Italian Jews are not thrilled by the visit. A statement written by philosopher and painter Stefano Levi Della Torre and circulated among Italian Jewish communities says it is ‘alarming that Netanyahu is about to provide Salvini with a pro-Israel license [that would] exonerate him from the suspicions of anti-Semitism while he carries on with his xenophobic, racist campaign and with his alliances with anti-Semitic forces in Italy and Europe.’”

    ______________________________________________________________________________

    If only the six million Jews slaughtered en masse by the Nazis could rise up and give their betrayer, Netanyahu his just desserts.

  8. Ossinev
    Ossinev
    December 13, 2018, 3:46 pm

    @Debacle
    “Israel is not the druze homeland”

    Of course not silly us ! it is the Brooklynites and Golders Greeners homeland ! Sob yawn Sob yawn.

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