Are we all agreed, now, that Benjamin Netanyahu is a racist?
He has been trying to push through his Apartheid law – misnamed the “Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people” Bill – for five years and I’m told he is demanding it now in order to have it running in time for that country’s next general election, when he hopes to win by securing far-right-wing votes.
Think about that in the context of the history of the Jewish people. Are you feeling nauseous yet?
This Writer’s attention was brought to the issue by a long-term friend who posted, on Facebook [boldings mine]: “This is a bill to make Israel clearly and definitively a racist and religious state. It permits neighbourhoods to block people of specific nationalities or religions from moving in, removes Arabic as an official language, and directs judges to look for precedents from Jewish legal rulings in instances where Israeli law offers no guidance.
“For those that haven’t been following along at home, the Israeli government have been trying to get a bill like this passed for the last five years. Because Israel’s legislature is elected under the most proportionally representative system I’m familiar with, there are enough parties in the Knesset that oppose parts of the bill that they have been unable to do so.
“What has changed recently is that Netanyahu is making passing it a top priority in the run up to the 2019 election so he can win far right votes.”
He added: “Once it’s in, a lot of damage can be done in a short amount of time that will take a lot of time, money, and political capital to undo.
“And there are a significant number of Israelis that support it too.”
Another commenter stated: “Racists are racists anywhere. But the Knesset has been fighting this for so long in all their parties besides the most right-wing, I’ll be happy to see them stand up against Netanyahu one more time. I just hope they can block him. His choices are horrifying.”
Racists are racists anywhere.
Sometimes, people forget that a Jew – such as Benjamin Netanyahu – can be a racist too. Perhaps that is why it is important that his rancid bid to institutionalise racism in his country needs to be exposed to the world.
It is also the reason it must fail. If Mr Netanyahu makes it possible for Israel to be denounced as a racist endeavour, then he will only fuel anti-Semitism, both at home and abroad. And that cannot be tolerated.
Israel is in the throes of political upheaval as the country’s ruling party seeks to pass legislation that could allow for Jewish-only communities, which critics have condemned as the end of a democratic state.
For the past half-decade, politicians have been wrangling over the details of the bill that holds constitution-like status and that Benjamin Netanyahu wants passed this month.
The proposed legislation would allow the state to “authorise a community composed of people having the same faith and nationality to maintain the exclusive character of that community”.
In its current state, the draft would also permit Jewish religious law to be implemented in certain cases and remove Arabic as an official language.
A vote on the bill is expected next week, although a final draft has yet to be agreed on. The legislation has been compared to South African apartheid by Israeli parliamentarians, and several thousand Israelis protested in Tel Aviv on Saturday.
“Our main concern is that it is changing the nature of the state and it changes the balance of Israel as a nation state,” said Amir Fuchs, the head of the defending democratic values programme at the Israel Democracy Institute. “You can be a nation state and still be a democracy as long as you don’t discriminate,” said Fuchs. “That the state is allowed to create villages that will separate on the basis of race or religion or nationality – this is outrageous.”
The purpose of the bill, he said, was “to change the balance, to make us more of a nation state, more of a Jewish state, and less of a democracy. There is no other way to put it. And this is the biggest problem.”
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