Israel, stand firm on the nation-state law

T. Belman. Sherman makes the case why Israel shouldn’t wobble. Why it is entirely proper that we should have this law. What matters is not the wording per se, which Caroline Glick challanged, but the fact that we proclaimed it at all.

I note that the Catholic Church, the UN, Erdogan, much of the American Jewish leadership and the PA have all gone on the attack. We must take the heat. It will pass. Under no condition should we amend it to please our minorities, even the ones we like. Do not create a chink in our armour. Our detractors will try to take advantage of it.

Bibi was right when he said to the MKs, “don’t apologize”.

Everyone, Druze included, must accept that Israel is the nation-state of the Jews.

By Martin Sherman, ISRAEL HAYOM

Arens, you’re wrong about the law.

A few notable personalities from the Right are joining the wave of condemnation of Basic Law: Israel as the Nation-State of the Jewish People, namely former Defense Minister Moshe Arens and MK Benny Begin. In doing so, they are legitimizing those who wish us harm and who are using the “racist” nation-state law as proof that the Israeli government seeks to implement “discrimination” and “apartheid.”

The main reason they were foaming at the mouth was that the law makes no mention of the equal status and rights of the non-Jewish minorities in Israel, particularly those who serve in the IDF and the other branches of the security establishment. Of course, they are talking about the Druze and the Bedouin. This is a mistake; the nation-state law contains nothing that is designed to minimize the acknowledgment of minorities’ contributions to the state and its defense.

The nation-state law is intended to define the country’s national identity and anchor it constitutionally. It does not address how the government is run, which is a weighty issue, but one that is unrelated to national identity. Starting in the middle of the last century, many countries made radical changes to their forms of government without it affecting their national make-up. That is what happened in Japan, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece, and Argentina. Did the regime changes there also revolutionize their citizens’ national identities?

Many of the people who criticize the nation-state law cling nostalgically to the Declaration of Independence and point it out as an appropriate, fitting inspiration for the wording of the law. They forget that although the Declaration of Independence mentions the civil rights of all the citizens in the state, for nearly two decades after it was signed, the Arab minority was under a police regime that seriously limited its liberty and civil rights.

Perhaps we should also mention that in the Declaration of Independence, the word “right” appears 10 times, nine of which refer to the rights of Jews and the Jewish people as a group and a nation. Only once is the word “right” mentioned in the context of civil rights for all citizens.

In effect, all nationalism entails some form of discrimination, because it gives priority to the cultural and national characteristics of one group over those of another. The same is true for the Zionist version of Jewish nationalism. The Star of David emblazoned on the national flag, the national anthem that includes the words “Zion” and “Jewish spirit,” the Hebrew calendar featuring Jewish religious holidays – all these include a certain degree of discrimination against non-Jewish groups in Israel. It’s hard to imagine that non-Jewish citizens fully identify with our national symbols, and it would be unreasonable to expect that they would. But it is definitely appropriate to expect and demand that every citizen living within our sovereign borders respect those symbols.

The nation-state law does not endanger the individual rights of non-Jews in general or those of the Druze and Bedouin in particular. But even if there were grounds to suspect that it did, the nation-state law would not be the place to anchor those rights in law. Another basic law should be written that would be devoted to codifying and ensuring those groups’ rights. What prevents us from passing a Basic Law: Equal Civil Rights?

This is what Arens, Begin, and others should devote their energy to. Rather than helping ignite the flames of fear and incitement over the nation-state law, which doesn’t contain even a hint of a doctrine of racial superiority, it would be best if they threw themselves into repairing the needless schism that the opponents of the law have caused.

Martin Sherman is the founder and CEO of the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies.

July 31, 2018 | 11 Comments »

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  1. Nation-State law codifies that Israel is the state of the Jewish people, its symbols, Jewish immigration and settlement of the state by Jews. This prevents rulings that would run counter to that by the court.

    1992 Basic Law on Human rights and liberties gives full civil rights to all citizens as interpreted by the Supreme Court.

  2. @ adamdalgliesh😕
    Not stupid or worthless at at.

    Wthout it @ adamdalgliesh:
    The Nationality Bill is neither stupid or worthless

    It is the only constitutional shiel the Law of Return has!
    Without it the Law of Return could be constitutionally challenged and revoked since it gives Israeli Jews rights to bring their families to Israel that are denied non-Jewish Israelis

  3. All of my editing of the above, including a typo or two, after about 2 minutes, suddenly vanished. The original remains. Very surprising ….to say the least…

  4. Of the 18 articles on Israel Hayom today , 4 and a possible 5th were about the sudden Druze-Jew embroglio which has begun, from nothing, really about nothing, and will I hope subside back into it’s natural place.

    I would like to add that it was encouraged from all sides by naturally malignant and malicious nothings in out Jewish Society, led by the bottle nosed “President” down.

    This useless appendage to the State expense, at the first sign of ANY potentially unclear matter, immediately sticks his aforementioned nose right in and makes it complicated, a gift for Jew Haters. He should only be allowed out with a muzzle, and on a tight leash…for air. After his “tenure”, the position should be abolished, with selected individuals from either the govt. or senior important citizens to represent our country as necessary..

    A figurehead which is EXACTLY what the position was intended to be., .

  5. @ Bear Klein: Bear, any attempt by Israel to define its ethnic-religious character by legislative proclamation is going to bring down the wrath of Kong from someone or other whom we have no interest in provoking.Proposals to modify or add to the existing Nationality Law will only make a bad situation worse by creating a muddle and making Israel look weak. That is a totally unjust fact, but it is a fact. It reflects the fact that 99 percent of the world’s non-Jewish population and at least 40 per cent of its Jewish population suffers from irrational hatred and/ or fear of Jews or Judaism. A rational Israeli government would deal with these people the way police deal with an armed and dangerous criminal who is suffering from a mental illness and holding hostages. The cops will try to make the dangerous person feel that they are his friend and only trying to help him. This is to persuade him to drop his weapon and surrender peacefully. On the other hand, the police also have to be prepared either to shoot the nut dead or sieze him by stealth if these persuasive tactics fail. Certainy they have to be prepared to lie if this will help disarm the suspect. It is a crazy world in which Israel’s only hope of survival and victory is to play the “good cop” with no wish to verbally offend anyone. But that is the crazy world in which we live.

  6. I just checked newspapers from Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. None of them even mention the Jewish Nationality Law; so this seems like much ado about nothing. Israel is the Jewish state, and the only ME country with so much religious freedom. The law doesn’t change any of that.

  7. The Basic Nation-State Law should stand AS-IS.

    I have a question for all commentators and readers would be it be harmful to have a new Basic Law giving symbolic recognition to the loyal minorities such as the Druze for their partnership and loyalty to the state and the same time restating the Civil Rights of of Israeli citizens. However stating that this new basic law does NOT supersede any other Basic Law?

    Or is it better to let this blow over as the process of doing the new law would end up being needlessly controversial just as unfortunately the Nation-State Law has become.

  8. I agree with Caroline that the Nationality law was stupid because a)it is toothless, not requiring anthe government to do anything whatsoever, and easily nullified by the Supreme Court and its deputy, the Attorney General-who will definitely see to it that the provisions advocating Jewish settlement in all parts of the State (not the Land) of Israel are not enforced. On the other hand, the emphasis on the Jewishness of the state provides openings for anti-Israel propagandists around the world to claim that Israel discriminates against non-Jews, even though this is not true. Of course all of the Arab and Muslim States, and several NATO members, have far more discriminatory constitutions and laws than the Nationality Law. But the media deals with this situation by simply not reporting on discriminatory legislation in other countries. One would have to read Daniel Greenfield or Eugene Kantorevich to find out about them, and the MSM doesn’t reprint their articles. It looks at Israel’s actions through a microscope, while looking at the actions of most other countries through the wrong end of a telescope. On the other hand, the Israeli “Right” is tone deaf to this reality, and it shouldn’t be. The “right” is fond of making nationalist declarations that have absolutely no practical affect, but do succeed in offending some constituencies both abroad and even inside Israel that it would be useful for Israelis to cultivate. (This apparently includes the Israeli Druze, who are good fighters and police whom it was unwise for the government to annoy). The solution is less sound, but far more substance.

  9. The Nation State Legislation has surely not abrogated the Declaration of Independence which contains these words:

    “The State of Israel will foster the development of the country for all its inhabitants; it will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel; it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture; it will safeguard the Holy Places of all religions; and it will be faithful to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.”

    So why is yet a further repetition of the rights of non-Jewish citizens required?