Under the slogan “A Home for All – We Must Stop the Nation-State Law” a mass demonstration will be held tonight (Saturday, July 14) starting from Rabin Square, Tel-Aviv, at 20:00, from where protestors will march to outside the Likud party headquarters on King George Street. Among the organizations sponsoring the protest are: Hadash – The Communist Party of Israel, Meretz, The Arab Movement for Change, Standing Together, Labor Young Guard, New Israel Fund, Combatants for Peace, The Ethiopian Jews Association, The Progressive Jewish Center, Peace Now, Sikkuy, The Negev Coexistence Forum, Ir Amim, The Association for Civil Rights in Israel.
Far-right Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu doubled down his support on Thursday for his government’s controversial “nation-state” bill before the Knesset that has attracted criticism from, among many others, the country’s president, Reuven Rivlin. The legislation, strongly backed by Netanyahu’s ruling Likud party, seeks to enshrine the apartheid character of the state by declaring it “the national home of the Jewish people” and establishing its “unique” right to self-determination.
A clause that that “the state can allow a community composed of people of the same faith or nationality to maintain an exclusive community” has sparked unease from the government’s own legal advisers and President Reuven Rivlin because it would enshrine the legitimacy of Jewish-only towns that exclude minorities.
Later on Thursday Netanyahu, who is also the foreign minister, ordered that the European Union’s ambassador in Israel be summoned and reprimanded over his opposition to the nation-state law. According to a report by Israel’s Hadashot news, Ambassador Emanuele Giaufret had told a number of the bill’s advocates that it would harm Israel’s status. An unnamed Knesset member quoted the ambassador as saying that “the law moves Israel away from the accepted norms of democratic states,” “smells of racism,” and “harms the values that the State of Israel tries to protect.”
Speaking in the parliament on Thursday, Hadash MK Yousef Jabareen (Joint List) called the legislation an “apartheid law,” referring to the discriminatory system that once governed South Africa. He also said it was no different from the Jim Crow laws that enforced racial segregation in the Southern United States after the Civil War and into the 20th century. A shouting match erupted during a joint session of the Knesset’s House and the Constitution, Law and Justice Committees on Thursday when Jabareen sarcastically proposed that the bill be titled “Basic Law: Apartheid.”
Hadash MK Aida Touma-Sliman (Joint List) said in Friday that the bill “is ignoring democracy, is ignoring equality and only sticking to Jewishness. It is ignoring 20 percent of the citizens of the State of Israel.”
The demonstration in Tel Aviv on Facebook (Hebrew & Arabic): https://he-il.facebook.com/events/277853069628786