Israel’s New Basic Law: “Institutionalizing Jewish Law”

The Israeli cabinet voted by 14-7 majority to define Israel as an ethnocentric nation-state of the Jewish people, institutionalising Jewish law as the source of legislations.

This is the same definition Benjamin Netanyahu had maintained for years that the Palestinian Authority (PA) must accept before signing a peace agreement. In other words, Netanyahu was demanding the PA to recognise the new Basic Law long before his own government approved it.

Yet, it becomes more interesting for Netanyahu to be able to keep a government coalition with seven ministers who voted against his proposal. Especially, when he insists that a government of ministers from a foreign entity (PA) must accede to what seven members of his own government rejected.

This is not, however the reason the PA should not entertain recognising Israel as an ethnocentric Jewish state. Israelis are entitled to define their nation in any which way they want. But neither Israeli government nor Zionist-controlled media have the right to ascribe euphemistic terms for the purpose of hoodwinking others.

Such is the oxymoronic adjective: Jewish and ‘democratic’. I remember an argument made in my college days that apartheid South Africa was democratic, or better yet, it was the only democracy in all of Africa. The same assertions can be heard today from Zionist pundits, after supplanting Jewish for white.

Israel has been in effect for more than 60 years, but now it is enshrined under the new Basic Law, as a Jewish democracy. Just as apartheid South Africa was: A white democracy, never a plural egalitarian political system.

It is worth emphasising that this is not an opinion posited by Israeli antagonists. It is the view of Zionists who supported the bill and those who don’t see the need to make it official.

Contributing to the discussion, multi-billionaire and casino tycoon Sheldon Adelson was forthright when he said recently ‘(God) didn’t talk about Israel remaining as a democratic state … Israel isn’t going to be a democratic state … so what?’

Adelson’s reference for instituting the Jewish Sharia was the Bible, since it did not say ‘anything about democracy’.

Naftali Bennet, leader of a major Israeli party and Economic Minister, emulated Adelson and pointed to another added value, for the bill will ‘save the (Jewish) residents of south Tel Aviv from (African) infiltrators’.

Explaining his vote against the new proposed law, Finance Minister Yair Lapid said the bill ‘puts the Jewish state before democracy’, while Justice Minister Tzipi Livni called it anti-democratic.

About the same day the Israeli government voted on the new Basic Law, Jewish settlers who will be advantaged by the new bill, torched the home of Huda Hamaiel in Khirbet Abut Falah, leaving behind a blackened home but for fresh painted slogans on the walls ‘Death to Arabs’.

Two days earlier at a Tel Aviv soccer stadium the same wall epithets were chanted live from the bleachers against Arab ‘Israeli’ players. And then when midfielder Mahmoud Abbas was injured and removed off the pitch, ‘Jewish’ fans spat and threw bags of sunflower seeds and drinking cups at him.

I mention this incident because the football player is one of the 20 per cent non-Jewish Israeli citizens who would be relegated to lesser citizen status under the proposed Basic Law.

Irrespective of whether this bill becomes a law or not, the Netanyahu government has defined Israel and according to ardent Zionist ministers it is ‘anti-democratic.’

As Netanyahu formally advocates his bill, people must decide to either align themselves with Adelson’s Jewish anti-democratic Sharia law, or with equality.

More so, Jewish Americans are challenged to choose between their long history promoting justice and civil rights, or succumb to the herd mentality where parochial allegiance takes precedence over humanity.

Jamal Kanj ( writes regular newspaper column and publishes on several websites on Arab world issues. He is the author of “Children of Catastrophe,” Journey from a Palestinian Refugee Camp to America. A version of this article was first published by the Gulf Daily News newspaper.

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Articles by: Jamal Kanj

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