Monday, May 25, 2009

Israel's dangerous swing to the right.

Israel's swing to the right really is beginning to border on fascism, especially if Avigdor Lieberman's Yisrael Beiteinu party gets their way and manages to pass a new law requiring all Israelis to swear loyalty to the state of Israel as a Jewish state.

The bill calls for enabling the interior minister to lift someone's citizenship if he or she fails to either serve in the Israel Defense Forces or do a term of national service.

Party spokesman Tal Nahum said the measure would require all Israelis to declare loyalty "to the state of Israel as a Jewish, Zionist and democratic state" before they can be issued a national identity document. The law requires all Israeli residents over 16 carry their identity cards at all times.
The wording seems almost designed to cause maximum offense to Arab Israelis and appears to have been crafted to make it next to impossible for any Arab Israeli with a hint of self esteem to be able to take it.

And, should they refuse to take this oath, then their citizenship is removed; which one can't help but feel is the whole point of the dreadful bill which Lieberman is proposing.

And this is coming on top of another bill which proposes to make it illegal for Arab Israelis and Palestinians to commemorate Nakba, the catastrophe which befell them when the state of Israel was created.
Public commemoration of Israel's independence as a day of mourning could become a crime subject to prison penalty, should a bill approved on Sunday by a ministerial panel be brought to the Knesset and cabinet for vote.

The Ministerial Committee for Legislation on Sunday approved a preliminary proposal which would make it illegal to hold events or ceremonies marking Israel's Independence Day as a "nakba," or catastrophe.

Rather than holding barbecues and parades on Independence Day, Israeli Arabs and Palestinians usually take the day to commemorate the dispersal of Palestinians during the 1948 War of Independence.

Palestinian refugees around the world and Israel's Arab citizens mark the Nakba on May 15, the day after the British mandate over Palestine ended in 1948. Nakba Day is often observed by the Arab population in Israel with marches through destroyed villages.

According to the bill, those found in violation could face up to three years in prison.
The simple fact of the matter is that the creation of Israel was a catastrophe for many Palestinians who were driven from their homes so that Israel could be created. To criminalise how these people feel about one of their darkest days is simply incendiary.

One can only hope that neither of these laws has any chance of getting through the Knesset, but it's disgraceful that they are even being proposed.

Under Netanyahu and Lieberman, Israel is taking a lurch to the extreme right which I find horrifying.

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