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The emperor with no clothes: Israel and its Nation-State Law

July 26, 2018, midnight

Time and again Israel has portrayed its true image of an apartheid, xenophobic and undemocratic state with its systematic policies of ethnic cleansing against the Palestinians. Prof./Amb. Manuel Hassassian

Israel’s Nation-State law has been a target of harsh criticism both internationally and in Israel itself as it enshrines in law the grossly discriminatory policies of Israel towards the Palestinians. Emboldened by the Trump administration’s sickening doting, Israel has lost all its inhibitions and is revealing itself for what it truly is – a racist, apartheid state and an unashamed occupier.

The hype surrounding Trump’s ‘Deal of the Century’, including the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and the move of the US Embassy there last May, has stripped Israel of all the pretence that it is a democratic and tolerant nation championing diversity and equal rights. The Nation-State Law harks to the haunting Orwellian conclusion that we are all equal but some are more equal than others. Israeli leaders are parading in the international spotlight, on twitter and in the media, saying the law is democratic and protects equal rights when it is obvious to any rational person that the law privileges the rights of Jewish Israelis above all others. Egged on by Trump’s uber pro-Israeli administration, Israeli leaders do not realize what a shameful situation they are in - just like ‘the emperor with no clothes’! It is all quite cringe-worthy in fact.

When Netanyahu speaks on the social media enunciating that the Nation-State Law affirms that the ‘Jewish people have exclusive right to national self-determination in Israel’ and that the ‘state views the development of Jewish settlement as a national value and will encourage and promote its establishment and consolidation’, then any democratically thinking person has to ask what about the 20% of citizens in Israel who are not Jewish but Palestinian? Are they relegated to second class citizens who are only allowed to ‘preserve’, as Netanyahu so benevolently preached on social media, ‘their culture, language, heritage and identity’ as the remnants of an indigenous people in quaint forms from the periphery like the Native Americans in the US or the Maori of New Zealand? Their self-determination is not mentioned.

Is the encouragement of Jewish settlement, as enshrined in the law, extended to the illegal settlement of the occupied Palestinian territories which has been condemned repeatedly by the UN and recently put in the strongest terms in UN resolution 2334? The exclusivity of Jewish settlement in Israel itself or that supported by Israel in the occupied Palestinian territories is the key point here. However you look at it, it is apartheid plain and simple. It is worse than the apartheid of South Africa, however, because the ultimate goal and the logical outcome of the Nation-State Law and every legal and civil mechanism of the state of Israel when it comes to the Palestinians is ‘transfer’ or what we would call ethnic cleansing.

Those of us who have been talking for years about the racist nature of Israeli society and its apartheid policies are being vindicated by every step Israel is currently taking, for all the world to see, and, just like the story of the emperor with no clothes, we do not know whether to laugh or cry.

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