Opinion |

The Hypocrisy of Protesting the Nation-state Law

If the national clauses are unnecessary because they are mentioned in the declaration, why is the absence of 'equality,' which is also mentioned in it, a red line?

Israel Harel
Israel Harel
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Mass Arabic lesson in Rabin Square, in protest of the Jewish nation-state law, July 30, 2018
Mass Arabic lesson in Rabin Square, in protest of the Jewish nation-state law, July 30, 2018Credit: Meged Gozani
Israel Harel
Israel Harel

Here’s what the insecurity about the Jewish-Zionist cause has come to, after 70 years of statehood: 45 Jewish Knesset members voted against a basic law which specifies that “Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people – in which it realizes its natural, cultural, religious and historic right to self-determination.”

Whatever the nation-state law’s faults are – the real ones, but mainly the imagined ones – in my opinion those who voted against this clause, which expresses the state’s ideological core, have undergone some sort of Zionist-religious conversion. (Zionism was always seen, rightly, as the new Jewish “religion.”) Also, whoever voted against the clause that “the realization of the right to national self-determination in Israel is unique to the Jewish people” has stipulated that the Arab people also have this right. By so doing he has taken himself out of the Zionist camp, in the movement’s accepted form from the days of its founders to the vote on the nation-state law.

MKs who call themselves the “Zionist Union” voted against one of Zionism’s most fundamental principles, which says “Israel will be open to immigration and ingathering of exiles” and “endeavor to ensure the safety of the Jewish people and its citizens who are in distress and captivity due to their Judaism or their citizenship.” (That means Israeli Arab citizens as well!)

Other fundamental Zionist principles are contained in the law’s statement deeming Jewish settlement a “national value,” and the statement defining Independence Day as “the state’s official national holiday” and the memorial days for fallen IDF soldiers and the Holocaust as “official memorial days,” etc. etc.

One of the excuses used by the new post-Zionists is that most of the national clauses in the law are redundant, since they appear in previous legislation, or are well clarified in the Declaration of Independence. On the other hand they claim that the absence of the term “equality” in the nation-state law is the main reason for their vote against it. This is a totally hypocritical claim. If the national clauses are unnecessary because they are mentioned in the declaration, why is the absence of “equality,” which is also mentioned in it, a red line? Equality is also deeply embedded in the Basic Law on Human Dignity and Liberty, which the High Court of Justice (that objected to seeing the declaration as a constitutional document!) turned from a basic law into a quasi-constitution.

Many of the speakers that the (mainly state-owned) media mobilized, blatantly and uninhibitedly, against the law, speaking against a law they had never read. Former army and police officers are adopting false claims about the so-called overlooking of the Declaration of Independence. The exact opposite is true. Most of the law’s major clauses, the national clauses, were inspired by the declaration.

Nor do they know that the law’s ideological opponents objected through the years to the move to adopt the declaration as a basic law. They said the declaration was too Zionist – too Jewish. The declaration, like the nation-state law, deliberately separates between national rights (for Jews) and equal civil rights (for everyone!)

The Druze’s problem must be solved, and with dispatch. But giving them national rights? Where do they have – or have ever had – such rights, in Syria? For the Druze’s information: Many who joined their protest, supposedly for the Druze’s sake, did so because they saw the Druze’s outcry as a chance to revoke the nation-state law. The Druze’s real supporters in the protest ranks, and there are some, fell into this trap and joined people whose entire purpose is to undermine the state’s Jewish-Zionist foundations. That, in essence, is the whole story.

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