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.
We all know that the midterm elections are different this time around. They are usually like “all politics,” namely local. But this time around they’re different. They are all presidential, all about Trump, as most everything is. And for the anti-Trump crowd — I’m talking about the political commentators and “analysts” — any and all things bad are held to be Trump’s fault. This is presumably because they believe that their condemnations of Trump will result in a Democrat takeover of the House of Representatives.
A new book explores how graffiti artists in Beirut skirt limitations on expression to share political criticism in the streets.
A photograph of the book “Drawing Lines” by Tamara Zantout, taken at the launch of the book at Beit Beirut cultural center, Beirut, Lebanon, Oct. 25, 2018.
BEIRUT — Beirut’s alleyways and streets are peppered in bright, detailed and provocative graffiti. Street artists use the medium, which exists in a legal grey area, to express their identity and give voice to political frustrations.
On Tuesday, San Francisco will become the largest city in the nation to allow noncitizens to vote, and the city has spent $310,000 on a “new registration system” specifically aimed at illegals. As the San Francisco Chronicle reports, the plan is the first in the state and follows Proposition N, a 2016 ballot measure allowing votes by noncitizens over the age of 18, reside in the city, and have children under age 19.
By the count of the Chronicle, only 49 noncitizens have signed up to vote on Tuesday, which works out to $6,326 for every illegal voter, but there’s more to the story. City officials are worried that voting could expose illegals to ICE, who might come looking and possibly deport somebody. So supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer, a backer of Proposition N, urged the city to spend $500,000 to warn the illegals.
At first Sabbath service after massacre, shooting survivors are blessed; rabbi says to those who condemned Trump’s visit: ‘No one tells me how to welcome a guest in my own home’
On November 3, 2018, a joint communal Shabbat prayer service at Pittsburgh’s Beth Shalom Conservative synagogue following the massacre a week prior which saw 11 Jewish community members killed. (Amanda Borschel-Dan/Times of Israel)
PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania — A week after an anti-Semitic shooter massacred 11 worshipers at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue, the community embraced each other in prayer on Saturday.
IS EUROPE RETURNING to the horrors of the 1930s? In an assessment typical of the moment, Max Holleran writes in the New Republic that “in the past ten years, new right-wing political movements have brought together coalitions of Neo-Nazis with mainstream free-market conservatives, normalizing political ideologies that in the past rightly caused alarm.” He sees this trend creating a surge in “xenophobic populism.” Writing in Politico, Katy O’Donnell agrees: “Nationalist parties now have a toehold everywhere from Italy to Finland, raising fears the continent is backpedaling toward the kinds of policies that led to catastrophe in the first half of the 20th century.” Jewish leaders like Menachem Margolin, head of the European Jewish Association, sense “a very real threat from populist movements across Europe.”
IS EUROPE RETURNING to the horrors of the 1930s? In an assessment typical of the moment, Max Holleran writes in the New Republic that “in the past ten years, new right-wing political movements have brought together coalitions of Neo-Nazis with mainstream free-market conservatives, normalizing political ideologies that in the past rightly caused alarm.”
We’ve been told for a long time that the ceasefire is on the way. It had many names in the past, such as tahdiah, hudna, and most recently—”an arrangement.” On Friday, once again, reports started emerging that an agreement has been reached. Several hours later, southern Israel was hit with a barrage of rockets. What happened?
And He said, “You will not be able to see My face, for No Human Being shall see Me and live.” — Shemot 33:20
Faith is deeper than knowledge. While scientific data is absorbed only in the brain, faith permeates all parts of the human personality. Nothing is untouched, all spiritual limbs quiver, and everything is transformed. It is thus more difficult to acquire faith than knowledge, and faith has a more radical effect on the human being.
A Catholic archbishop recently touched on an unspoken but highly subversive phenomenon: How anti-Christian forces exploit Christian teachings to empower those who seek to dismantle Christian civilization, Muslims being chief among them.
In an interview published last summer by the Italian outlet IlGionarle.it, Catholic Archbishop Athanasius Schneider of Kazakhstan said:
The King of Jordan, not some lowly clerk, announced that Jordan will not extend the currently existing leases renting two parcels of land to Israel. One is the so-called Island of Peace in the northern Naharayim area and the other located in the southern Arava, near Tzofar, an agricultural cooperative village (moshav). Jordan was entirely within its rights to decide not to renew the leases