Israel's Citizenship Law Is a Scion of the Nuremberg Laws, and the Left Is Silent

Odeh Bisharat
Odeh Bisharat
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A protest against the citizenship law in Tel Aviv in 2012.
Odeh Bisharat
Odeh Bisharat

One day many years ago a bill was put forward in the British Parliament that would amend the Christian oath of allegiance required by all incoming MP's to enter the parliament according to their religion, thereby also allowing Jewish MP's to do so.

In his book “Genius and Anxiety: How Jews Changed the World, 1847-1947,” Norman Lebrecht writes that the bill divided MPs, and that Benjamin Disraeli, a former Jewish politician who later became the British prime minister, delivered an impressive speech in favor of the law.

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Despite the fact that he was a convert to Christianity and a rising star in the conservative Tory Party, which opposed the law, he refused to undermine the progress of his people. 

We can derive one insight from Disraeli’s brave position: Never be anything but yourself.

But instead, we have Meretz leader Nitzan Horowitz who has decided to move the party rightward, à la Naftali Bennett. And for the sake of the psychological well-being of this writer and the readers, we won’t expand here on the Labor Party, in which only Ibtisam Mara’ana – who was apparently placed there in order to dilute the color of shame of the face of the party – raised a courageous voice against the law to prevent the reunification of Palestinian families.

If we dig deeper, then there is nothing more important at the moment that to repeat the statement attributed to German philosopher Friedrich Hegel: “We learn from history that we do not learn from history.” In the Knesset, out of 104 Jewish lawmakers, only two – Mossi Raz of Meretz and Ofer Cassif of Hadash – are opposed to this law, which is a legitimate scion of the Nuremberg Laws.

How do we explain to the world that 98 percent of the grandchildren of the victims of the Nuremberg Laws are in favor of this terrible law? I can hear the cries of the antisemites, both ancient and new, saying: We were right, the Jews are also in favor of the Nuremberg Laws.

The twists and turns of history are indeed sickening.

Even those who are good are struck with moral blindness. For example, the lauded journalist Ben Caspit calls Raz, the only lawmaker from the Zionist parties who opposes this law, “the disaster of the left.” So on this festive occasion, to add to the theater of the absurd, I suggest that we call Public Security Minister Omer Bar-Lev (Labor), who approved the “Death to Arabs-Mohammed is a dog-Let your village burn” march (the so-called Flag March), “the beacon of the left.” If we’re playing games, then let’s do it all the way.

If Israel’s left wing was sent to a psychiatrist, said psychiatrist would prefer to sell ice cream at the beach under our burning sun rather than continue to practice his or her profession.

For example, while Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked is fighting courageously to implement her policies, benighted though they may be, left-wingers Merav Michaeli and Nitzan Horowitz don’t say a word. So either their principles have disappeared as they have attained power or – more likely – they are rightists disguised as leftists.

“Anyone who lives with a group of people for 40 days becomes one of them,” the Arabs say. But for the chairman of the United Arab List, Mansour Abbas, just two weeks in the coalition were enough to make him act like he was born there. Now he’s working with Shaked to locate "humanitarian cases" to exempt from the bill. But this is like looking for snow in the North Pole since every family impacted by the law is a humanitarian case.

We started with an example from the 18th century, and we’ll end with one from the late 20th century: In his day, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin brought a bill before the Knesset to confiscate land in East Jerusalem. The five lawmakers from Hadash and Mada (the Arab Democratic Party), who supported the government from outside of it, opposed the bill. In order to embarrass the government, Likud also declared its opposition. Instead of leading a fruitless campaign to persuade the members of Hadash and Mada, Rabin withdrew his proposal.

Perhaps because of the random and absurd coalition, the present law fails, as it did then. If so, a law whose roots echo Nazis history will disappear, and a national disgrace will be prevented.

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