Guardian lies in accusation that Israeli law codifies racism

An official Guardian editorial (The Guardian view on the Israeli elections: Netanyahu debases his office – again, March 11) included the following accusation:

Israel is not a state of all its citizens, Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu declared on Sunday. His words should be shocking, but in truth they made explicit the message of last year’s nation state law, rendering Palestinians in Israel second-class citizens. 

This is completely untrue.

The Jewish Nation-State Law merely codifies, within the country’s Basic Law (a de facto constitution), Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people – a principle which is the core of Zionism.  It also lists a number of manifestations of Israel’s status as a Jewish state, including the country’s flag, national anthem, calendar, language, and immigration policies.  

As even the head of the left-wing Israeli Democracy Institute conceded, the impact of the law is “largely symbolic”.  

Though some have criticised the law because it didn’t also affirm the equal rights of non-Jewish citizens, the protection of individual rights is already covered in the Basic Law on “Human Dignity and Freedom“, which, as constitutional law expert Eugene Kontorovich observed, the Israeli Supreme Court interprets as guaranteeing equality.

Kontorovich also explained that the law’s declaration of Israel as a uniquely Jewish state is not inconsistent with liberal democratic constitutions of Europe.

The Latvian Constitution declares 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.” Latvia’s population is about 25% ethnically and linguistically Russian.  And, the Slovak Constitution opens with the words, “We the Slovak nation,” possess “the natural right of nations to self-determination.”

The Guardian doesn’t even attempt to demonstrate in which manner the Israeli law undermines equal rights because editors couldn’t, if pressed, point to even one civil or political right enjoyed by non-Jewish citizens before the law that they no longer enjoyed after the law was passed. 

Whilst some Guardian anti-Israel positions are merely misleading or deceptive, their assertion that the nation-state law renders Arab-Israelis “second-class citizens” is a flat-out lie.

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23 replies »

  1. Actually, MF, you are the one deploying “weasel words” — itself a slur against a group of non-humans which have their own role in the planet’s ecosystem, but let that pass — as there is absolutely no less access to the universal right to self-determination by Palestinians, or anyone else, brought about by the law under discussion.
    Moreover, those very same Palestinians could begin to actually avail themselves of that right, by immediately and sincerely ceasing from all illegal, immoral, self-destructive attacks on the State of Israel, as well as repudiating the repulsive policy of granting what amount to bounties to the families of deceased mass murderers. They are existing, all too many of them, in an ideological prison of their own making, with the keys to the jailhouse in their own pockets.
    And by the way, if it was Israel arresting Palestinian journalists for the “crime” of reporting critically on the governmental entities now representing Palestinians, we would never, ever hear the end of it — but as it is those entities themselves who are responsible for suppressing those journalists, the silence from the world’s media outlets is deafening.
    There’s of course also absolutely no “racism” involved in reaffirming the Jewish right to a national homeland, as Adam points out, and your own vicious trolling is prima facie evidence of serious “issues” for which you should seek help, if it’s not already too late for you to experience some form of metanoia.

  2. The principle of unequal status for Israeli Arabs was established long before the nation state law. There is no reference to equality under the law in the Basic Laws. When Arab MKs have sought to amend the Basic Law on Human Dignity and Freedom to include such provision they have been heavily outvoted by Jewish members.

  3. So many ignorant Europeans who challenge the existence of the Jewish country. The Muslim Arabs who have chosen to stay within get equality in every way. They are equally allowed schools, universities, medical care, hospitals, benefit for disabilities etc. But they have also a choice to leave to go into the majority of countries who are apartheid regimes, without all the Israelis benefits and who pauper their people with constant Muslim on Muslim wars so much so that they flood Europe as refugees doing Hijrah which is a form of Jihad which allows Muslims to leave MUSLIM COUNTRIES to save their lies but they must ultimately create small caliphates within with sharia law enforcement and halal and hijab/burka wearing to show the others that they are Muslim. The Arab Israelis don’t want to leave as their children are the best educated, fed, live in wealthy villas and ride Mercedes Benz cars, etc. Mike Farmer you don’t know what you are talking about. Why can Muslim countries be Muslim? But the only one Jewish country is racism. You are part of the racist antisemitic group of BDS liars

  4. And by the way sencar and Farmer, this is the Basic Law on Human Dignity and Liberty, passed in 1992. It emphasizes the importance of preserving the life and dignity of human beings.

    The only reference to Judaism is the preservation of human and human dignity in accordance with the values of the State of Israel as a Jewish state. That does not mean that only Jews are afforded protection under these values. It means that the law underscores the Judaism’s priority in preserving life and dignity.

    Now, I would like to know how Zahalka’s amendment changes that.