On July 19, 2018, the Israeli parliament passed a basic law defining Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish People.
This law is concentration and culmination of Israeli right and extra-right politics. On a dozen points:
- It asserts the Jewish ethnical predominance in Israel.
- It promotes the Jewish settlements, including the illegal Jewish settlement, in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), as a national value, and confirms the annexation of Jerusalem unilaterally declared as capital of Israel.
- It explicitly specifies that only the Jewish people can exercise the right to self-determination in Israel, without having delineated the state’s
- It demotes the Arabic language from its status as an official language of the state, a status now exclusively reserved for Hebrew.
Thus, this legislation enshrines in law with constitutional status a basic inequality among the citizens of the state, something which previously was “merely” dictated by facts on the ground: on the one hand there are its Jewish citizens or citizens of Jewish descent who have a preferred status, while and on the other hand there are Arab and other non-Jewish citizens of the state who legally have become second-class citizens.
By legally formalizing this inequality, this law overtly denies the promise inscribed in the Declaration of Independence of May 14, 1948 whereby the new State “will grant full equal, social and political rights to all its citizens, regardless of differences of religious faith, race or sex.” In contrast with the basic law passed in 1992 which codifies the state’s commitment to “human dignity and liberty,” the Nation-State Law passed this year makes no reference to either “democracy” or to “equality” in its text. In this way, this draconian legislation violates the basis of Israel as a democratic state, in addition to involving numerous violations of international law.
Many prominent persons, Jews and non-Jews, have spoken out against this law. Among them is the chairman of the World Jewish Congress who has strongly criticized the discriminatory policy pursued by the Israeli government in a number of laws recently passed by the Knesset, and specifically this egregious Nation-State Law.
Both prior to and following the passage of this legislation, many demonstrations have taken place throughout Israel, in which tens of thousands of Israeli citizens, of all origins and religions, have protested against this law which formally establishing discrimination among its citizens based on ethic and national origins.
An international petition against Israel’s Nation-State Law has been launched from France by Robert Kissous, an economist; Gilles Manceron, an historian; Bernard Ravenel, also an historian; Michel Tubiana, an attorney; and Dominique Vidal, a journalist and historian.
The petition declares solidarity with the progressive forces in Israel who are calling for equal citizenship for all, with no distinction based on ethnic background, and it demands:
- The repeal of this iniquitous law
- Equal rights for all Israeli citizens
- An end of the increasingly severe attacks against democratic freedoms and human rights being legislated
Among the petition’s signatories are:
Wadih Al-Asmar, President, “Euromed Rights”; Prof. Gadi Algazi; Arié Alimi, attorney; Tauba Alman, l’UJRE (Union des Juifs pour la Résistance et l’Entraide) activist; Prof. Jean-Christophe Attias; Prof. Bertrand Badie; Prof Esther Benbassa; Pierre Barbancey, journalist, “l’Humanite”; Prof. Françoise Basch; Patrick Baudouin, International Federation for Human Rights; Dr. Sophie Bessis; Bernard Bloch, author; Dr. Rony Brauman; Dr. Efraim Davidi, editor in chief, “Zu Haderech” weekly, Prof. Barbara Cassin; Prof. Jean-Paul Chagnollaud; Prof. Denis Charbit, Prof. Monique Chemillier-Gendreau; Dr. Alice Cherki; Dimitris Christopoulos, President of the International Federation for Human Rights; Prof. Martine Cohen; Sylvain Cypel, journalist ; Prof. Michel Dreyfus, historian ; Prof. Jean-Pierre Dubois; Françoise Dumont; Dominique Eddé, writer; Bernard Frederick, journalist, “Presse nouvelle magazine” (PNM); Jean Giard; Mohammed Harbi, historian; Christiane Hessel; Prof. Eva Illouz; Former Minister Kamel Jendoubi; Daniel Kupferstein; Patrick Le Hyaric, Editor in Chief, “l’Humanité”, Henri Leclerc, attorney; Pascal Lederer, Une Autre Voix Juive; Dr. Catherine Lévy; Jacques Lewkowicz, President of the l’UJRE (Union des Juifs pour la Résistance et l’Entraide); Prof. Danièle Lochak; Prof. Michael Löwy; Gérad Maarek, town-planner; Gustave Massiah, economist; Prof. Fabienne Messica; Prof. Jean-Luc Nancy; Prof. Véronique Nahoum-Grappe; Gilles Perrault, author; Catherine Sackur, author; Denis Sieffert, journalist; Daniel Silver, former president, ICUF – Union of Jewish Culture Associations in Argentina; Prof. Bernard Stiegler; Prof. Enzo Traverso.
To sign the petition: http://pouregalitecitoyensisrael.wesign.it/fr#
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