The demonstration called for Saturday night in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square by the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee, which represents Israel’s Arab community, is the most important of all the protests that have taken place against the nation-state law. It’s also one of the most important demonstrations in Israel in the past several years.
No minority in Israel suffers as much discrimination as the Arab minority, which is also Israel’s largest minority. It is frequently the target of normalized, institutionalized racism.
The nation-state law, which has sparked civic protests throughout Israeli society, was engineered precisely in order to strip the Arabs of their rights and subordinate them to rule by the Jews, the lords of the land, even at the price of sacrificing civic equality. This worldview has characterized despicable racist regimes throughout history, and its implementation in Israel is a black stain not only on the history of the state, but also on that of the Jewish people.
The nation-state law is an especially ugly milestone in the right’s delegitimization campaign against the Arabs. It’s meant to mark them as enemies, as a fifth column; to cause strife between them and Jews; and to remove them from civil society. Given this, it’s regrettable that the leaders of the opposition, who warmly embraced the Druze community’s justified protest against the law, have decided not to attend this demonstration.
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Opposition leader Tzipi Livni, who came to the Druze demonstration last Saturday night, announced that she won’t attend the upcoming one because some Knesset members from the predominantly Arab Joint List “don’t share my view that Israel is the nation-state of the Jews.” In the same breath, she declared her belief in “equal rights for all.” She thereby proved that even the left has adopted the right’s propaganda. If, as she says, Livni believes in equality for all and opposes the nation-state law — the issues of the demonstration — why is it even relevant what Joint List MKs think Israel’s character should be?
Livni must meet the challenge that was posed to Israeli society by President Reuven Rivlin in his “four tribes” speech, in which he argued that Israel’s future depends on abandoning a worldview based on majority and minority in favor of one that is based on a partnership with the ultra-Orthodox and the Arabs, who don’t define themselves as Zionist. The place of Livni and the other opposition leaders Saturday night is in Rabin Square, alongside the Arab community. Their struggle is the struggle of all Israelis, Jews and Arabs alike.