Stephen Lendman | 08.10.2011
Growing Israeli Tyranny - by Stephen Lendman
For years, America and Israel followed similar paths toward full-blown tyranny, threatening all their citizens. Believing either is democratic and egalitarian is ludicrous and nonsensical, especially now under right-wing neoliberal governments, cracking down hard against challenges to their authority.
In Israel, moreover, Arabs have no rights. In fact, they're treated more like fifth-column threats than citizens with equal rights as Jews. They never had them or do now.
Three articles, among others, discussed Israeli governance under Netanyahu and Israel's most extremist ever Knesset, accessed through the following links:
Since becoming prime minister on March 31, 2009 for the second time (earlier serving from June 1996 - July 1999), Netanyahu's hardline coalition government enacted measures repressive enough to make some right-of-center politicians blush. At the same time, left-of-center ones worry where Israel is heading, a direction they very much oppose.
Already, Netanyahu's gone a long way toward wrecking Israeli society, similar to what Obama's done to America, handing it more than ever to wealth and power interests, especially bankers, war profiteers and militarists.
Moreover, Congress and Israel's Knesset enacted numerous hardline measures. This article discusses a new one MKs will now consider called, "Basic Act: Israel - the State of the Jewish Nation," not one for all its people.
On August 7, a Haaretz editorial headlined, "New Knesset bill is a danger to Israeli democracy," pretending one ever existed, while highlighting a growing threat, saying:
Headed by Kadima's Avi Dichter (an unindicted war criminal), 40 MKs introduced the measure to establish Israel as the "national home of the Jewish people," replacing its "fragile definition (of) a Jewish democratic state (with) a nationalist and religious" one.
Redefining Israel is covered in detail, while democracy "is reduced to one short clause, (leaving) much room for interpretation as a dictatorship of the majority rather than a regime committed to civil rights and the protection of minorities."
Moreover, removing Arabic as one of Israel's official languages serves to erase the culture, heritage, and native tongue of one-fifth of its citizens, what no other "democracy" ever conceived, let alone tried to do.
The measure thus tells Arabs what they already know - they're unwanted people in Israeli society, "second-class citizens whose taxes will be used to preserve Jewish heritage...."
It also affirms Judaism and Jewish superiority over other religious groups, freedom and equal rights, trashing core democratic principles. In addition, preferentially instituting Judaic law "opens the door to the destruction of the judicial system and its subordination to religious political power," erasing what for some is an inviolable firewall between church and state.
As a result, if this measure passes, it will make Israel as unlivable for Jews as all others. In fact, growing numbers already voted with their feet and left. Under this bill, those remaining might stampede.
Proposed Provisions of the New Law
The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) explained the new measure's provisions as introduced, subject to amendments and other changes.
"A Jewish State:"
(1) Israel is the national home for Jews, based on their cultural and historic heritage.
(2) National self-determination is reserved exclusively for Jews.
(3) This basic law (Israel has no constitution) and other legislation "shall be interpreted as stipulated by this clause."
"A Democratic State:" Israel is a democratic regime. Of course, it's not and never was. It just keeps getting regressively worse.
(1) Hatikva is its national anthem.
(2) Its current Star of David flag is the official one.
(3) the Menorah is the official State emblem.
"Language:" Hebrew alone is the official one.
"Right of Return:" Reserved exclusively for all Jews anywhere to make aliyah (immigrate) and become Israeli citizens. The message to non-Jews is keep out!
"Ingathering of the Exiles and Jewish Settlement:" Steps will be taken to promote and fund them.
"Connection with Jews in the Diaspora:"
(1) Steps will be taken to link all Jews.
(2) Jews in trouble or captivity elsewhere will be helped.
(1) Jewish culture and heritage will be cultivated and preserved.
(2) Jewish history, heritage and traditions will be taught at educational establishments serving Jews.
"The Right to Preserve Heritage:"
(1) All Israeli residents (of all religions and nationalities) "may work to preserve their culture, heritage, language, and identity." At the same time, those for non-Jews are marginalized, maligned, and denied equal rights.
(2) Communities, including those representing other religions may establish separate communal settlements. It's called apartheid, excluding non-Jews from Jewish areas.
"The Official Calendar:" Only the Jewish one is recognized.
"Independence Day and Memorials:"
(1) "Independence Day is the State's national holiday."
(2) Memorial Day and Holocaust Day are official State commemoration days.
"Sabbatical Days:" Saturdays and Jewish holidays. Members of other communities may choose their own. However, commemorating them publicly is discouraged or prevented, especially Nakba Day when Israeli forces use disproportionate force against Palestinians.
(1) Designated as the "legislators' source of inspiration."
(2) Rulings should exclusively reflect Israel's heritage.
"Guarding Holy Sites:" They're to be protected from desecration or other harm.
"Durability:" If enacted, this law may not be altered unless replaced by another Basic Act.
On August 3, this measure was presented to the Knesset for consideration. Hopefully a majority in it will denounce and reject it.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen (at) sbcglobal.net.
Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.