Israeli Arabs explain that since the Nationality Law endangers values of democracy and equality, they are turning to the European Union for help in their battle.
AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP/Getty Images
Israeli Arabs and their supporters carry a Palestinian (R) and an Israeli flag during a demonstration to protest against the Nationality Law, Tel Aviv, Israel, Aug. 11, 2018.
Many wondered why Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is quick to tweet in anger against any disrespect of Jews, was struck dumb after three Israeli Arabs were brutally beaten by a group of Jews Aug. 23 simply because they were Arabs. This was not negligence on his part, nor a lapse in judgment. The prime minister was true to his worldview, a view he expressed less than a week later at a ceremony naming Israel’s nuclear facility in the Negev Desert after the late President Shimon Peres. “The weak are collapsing, slaughtered, erased from history; and the strong, for better or for worse, are the ones who survive. The strong are respected, the strong enter into alliances … ,” Netanyahu said. The Arab doctor and his two friends who were roughed up were apparently the weak, whereas the gang of fascists who beat them were the strong, “for better or worse,” as Netanyahu put it.
On Sept. 4, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked bolstered Netanyahu’s Darwinist perspective. Speaking at an Israel Bar Association event, she threatened “a legal and political earthquake” should the Supreme Court challenge the country’s constitutional-level basic laws. Shaked was clearly referring to the top court’s deliberations in petitions against the controversial Nationality Law. Such a ruling, she added for good measure, would be “a regime earthquake.” The law, adopted in July, enshrines Israel’s status solely as the nation-state of the Jewish people. “As one who believes in democracy with all her heart, I will not concede the place of the nation,” she said in winding up her speech. “I won’t concede its representative’s place. I will not give up democracy, and the Knesset of the people, by the people and for the people shall not perish from the earth.”
With only a slim majority, this same Knesset tarnished Israel’s compendium of basic laws with legislation that strips 20% of the country’s population (Israeli Arabs) of their affinity for their homeland and only encourages the establishment of Jewish communities. It was a member of this same legislature, Moti Yogev of Shaked’s HaBayit HaYehudi party, who shouted at elected Arab lawmakers, “This is not your country.” He said that at a chance meeting at the airport this week as the Arab lawmakers headed to Brussels, making their way to seek redress from parliaments and law courts across the sea. This very same Yogev was the one who in 2015 urged the crushing of the Supreme Court with a bulldozer.
Shaked’s declared intent to strip the Supreme Court of authority to overturn a basic law, based on an interpretation of democracy as a system in which the winner takes all, leaves Israel’s Arab minorities with two options. One is to resign themselves to their new official status as second-class citizens; the other is to mobilize international law and the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights on their behalf. “Our visit to Brussels is a type of self-defense against the abuse directed by Netanyahu and his government at our public,” Joint List Knesset member Jamal Zahalka told Al-Monitor shortly after he and his fellow lawmakers met Sept. 4 with the European Union’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini.
“Our main goal is to convince the Europeans to take concrete steps pressuring Israel to revoke the Nationality Law,” Zahalka continued. “We demanded recognition as a national minority and asked the Europeans to activate section 2 of the [Israel-EU] association agreement, which obliges Europe and Israel to respect human rights and to condition the future of the special relationship with Israel on the rescinding of all racist legislation and all types of discrimination.”
On Aug. 30, Knesset member Aida Touma-Sliman met in New York with UN Undersecretary-General for Political Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo to push for international action against the Nationality Law. “This law officially turns Israel into an apartheid state within the Green Line too,” she said, referring to Israel’s sovereign territory in addition to the lands it occupies. “Therefore this is not a domestic Israeli matter, but rather a law that requires sharp and urgent intervention by the international community and the UN,” she added.
The first article of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights reads, “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” The landmark charter goes on to stipulate, “Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.”
Israeli officials are well-aware that the Nationality Law is a manifest contravention in language and spirit of the Human Rights Declaration. Diplomats are monitoring with concern the meetings Arab lawmakers are holding in world capitals and even trying to sabotage them. However, other than a slight blow to Israel’s propaganda machine, the law is unlikely to damage its foreign policy. Past and more recent experience shows that the US Congress consigns to the rubbish bin any UN initiatives adopted against Israel’s will. The situation in Europe is not much better.
“So far we have received a lot of words,” Zahalka conceded. “But the countries of Eastern Europe block any move against Israel.” Indeed, Israel’s Arab citizens, like their brethren in the Israeli-occupied territories, are getting a generous supply of words from Europe. On July 13, the EU’s delegation in Israel issued the following statement: “We value Israel’s commitment to the shared values of democracy and human rights …We in the EU would not want to see these values being put in question or even threatened.”
The Netanyahu government acted in accordance with Israel’s first Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion’s famous saying in 1955, when Israel was still in diapers, “Our future does not depend on what the Gentiles say but on what the Jews do.” Six days after the EU’s statement, the Knesset with a right-wing, ultra-Orthodox majority adopted the discriminatory Nationality Law to which it referred. Hours later, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban landed in Israel. No leader is more fitting than the EU’s radical right-wing standard-bearer to be the country’s first high-ranking guest after passage of the Nationality Law.
The leader who has declared war on liberal democracy and its institutions sought to compliment his host Netanyahu. “In this relationship between us I see evidence that a Hungarian patriot and a Jewish-Israeli patriot always find a common denominator,” Orban said, standing at Netanyahu’s side. He, too, probably believes in the survival of the fittest, whom one respects and with whom one forges alliances. With leaders of the same persuasion in European capitals and the United States, Israeli-Arab advocates of human rights cannot count on salvation from either Washington or Brussels.
Jeremy Corbyn leads a pro-Palestinian demonstration in London in 2014, one year before becoming Labour Party leader. Photo: File.
This marked a massive rise from the previous such survey, in which only 39% of Jews believed Corbyn was antisemitic.
British Jews also expressed an extremely low opinion of the Labour Party in general. The poll showed that 85.6% believed Labour suffered from “very high” levels of antisemitism.
Corbyn and his party have been beset with a series of high-profile antisemitism scandals for several years, which has resulted in the resignation and suspension of several prominent officials. Corbyn himself was recently caught on video saying that “Zionists” did not understand “English irony” despite “having lived in this country for a very long time.”
Makuya in Jerusalem 201 (YouTube)
Like an apple tree among trees of the forest, So is my beloved among the youths. I delight to sit in his shade, And his fruit is sweet to my mouth. (Song of Songs 2:3)
For ten days in late August, Israeli Rabbi Benny Lau and his wife, Rabbanit Noah Lau, traveled from Jerusalem to Japan to lead Bible study for groups of Makuya Japanese Christians. The Laus traveled to five Japanese towns and spent three days together at a weekend conference with 3,400 members of the Makuya group.
Makuya is Japanese for the Hebrew word Mishkan, the tent of meeting, where human beings come into contact with God. The Mishkan was the portable sanctuary that the Israelites used in the desert, before entering Israel and building the First Holy Temple.
The Lord tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence. (Psalm 11:5)
Brazilian presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro. (Credit: Agencia O Globo)
Jair Bolsonaro, the front-runner in the upcoming presidential election in Brazil, was stabbed during a campaign rally Thursday and was undergoing surgery.
The far-right politician, whose heated rhetoric has electrified some voters and angered others – -who accuse him of racism and homophobia – in a deeply polarized electorate, was attacked amid a crowd in the south-east state of Minas Gerais. Bolsonaro has performed strongly in recent opinion polls.
Those same polls suggested that he will likely receive the most votes in next month’s presidential elections, especially if the country’s former president Luis Inacio Lula da Silva (‘Lula’) remains blocked from standing. He is currently in prison, but is appealing against his candidacy ban – imposed after his conviction for corruption.
Republican lawmakers have made it clear they have no intention of repealing Obamacare in the current Congress.
Republicans in the nation’s top lawmaking body have never really wanted to get rid of Obamacare. They would prefer to present the program, which David Horowitz correctly describes as “the greatest assault on individual freedom and individual choice in our lifetimes,” as a villain and whip up sentiment against it and run against it every election. They view Obamacare as good for the business of politics. They may chip away at it from time to time or tinker with it at the margins, but make no mistake: these creatures of Washington want to keep it in place. This is the Republicans’ dirty secret.
The Trump administration has decided to reopen a case brought by a Zionist group against Rutgers University, previously closed by the Obama administration in 2014, alleging that the university had allowed Jewish students to be subjected to a hostile environment in violation of Title VI of the U.S. Civil Rights Act. The issue, ignored by the Obama administration, was whether the students were discriminated against based on their actual or perceived Jewish ancestry or ethnicity. Kenneth L. Marcus, the new assistant secretary of education for civil rights, decided that the case deserved another look.
Nestled in the Han River in the middle of South Korea’s bustling capital of Seoul, Yeoui Island is hardly where one would expect to find the largest mega-church in the world. Home to the city’s business and financial district, its skyline dotted with skyscrapers, the island boasts some of the country’s most powerful institutions, such as the Korean stock exchange and the headquarters of LG, the international conglomerate.
The AfD’s opponents, who often brand the party as “far right” or “extremist,” claim that the party’s alleged ties to neo-Nazi groups pose an existential threat to Germany’s constitutional order. The AfD’s supporters counter that Germany’s politically correct establishment, afraid of losing its power and influence, is attempting to outlaw a legitimate party that has pledged to put the interests of German citizens first.
Israel’s Palestinian foes regard “martyrdom” as the supremely highest expression of Islamic sacredness. Nonetheless, there are certain conspicuously prominent disjunctions between the relevant obligations of faith and expectations of international law. Unambiguously, only the latter set of obligations can offer a suitably authoritative source for assessing Palestinian resorts to armed force.
This is the case even when the stated objective of such resorts would be “self-determination” and/or “national liberation.”
“Setting fire to the ground,” a “major catastrophe,” bringing “new instability” are the headlines that have greeted Donald Trump’s unorthodox decisions over the past year. Withdrawing from UNESCO, moving the US Embassy, leaving the Iran deal and cutting funding to UNRWA and funding for Pakistan were seen as extreme decisions in the Middle East and around the world. Insofar as there is a “Trump Doctrine,” it has been to call this bluff.
In the mind-set of Trump and his team, the time has come for the United States to move quickly to reverse decades of foreign policy norms, ending the status quo, and ripping up what the previous administrations did.
The jihadi assault on and massacre of Christians continued unabated throughout the Muslim word. According to one report titled, “Armed gangs WIPE OUT 15 villages in mass Christian slaughter in Nigeria,” several Islamic terrorists “stormed through 15 villages to massacre Christians and destroy their churches in a violent crackdown against the religion…. Dozens of people have been killed after the gangs ransacked towns and villages to clear them of all aspects of the Christian faith.
Wars are raging in various parts of the Middle East, although there is a tendency not to call the conflicts by that name because of the fear conjured up by the word.
One conflagration is the war Iran is waging against those – headed by Israel – who stand in the way of its plans to take over the entire Middle East.
Another is the Assad regime’s war to take back control of the entire country, and a third is the PLO’s battle for survival.
Much has been written about the first of these wars, and reports have claimed that from early 2017 on, Israel has launched over 200 attacks in Syria, mainly at targets connected to Iran.