Israeli Apartheid? Look No Further Than This Racist Law

JVL Introduction

One law above all others makes Israel an apartheid state.

This is the law preventing family reunification – for Palestinians. When an Israeli citizen marries a Palestinian from the West Bank or Gaza their spouses are not allowed to live in Israel.

Ostensibly introduced as a short-term emergency security measure during the second intifada in 2003, it is routinely re-ratified, essentially to protect the state’s ” Jewish and democratic character”.

Gideon Levy thunders against the remnants of the Zionist left – Labor and Meretz – about to support its renewal.

For him doing so quite simply marks the end of any pretentions to there being a Zionist left.

The Haaretz editorial on the topic, reposted after Levy’s article below, is no less condemnatory of this racist legislation. “[A]ny version of this law,” it asserts, “justifies describing Israel as an apartheid state, with one law for Jews and another for Arabs”.

This article was originally published by Haaretz on Sun 20 Jun 2021. Read the original here.

Israeli Apartheid? Look No Further Than This Racist Law

Some laws are a blot on Israel’s lawbooks, and until they are removed Israel cannot be considered a democracy. One of the more despicable ones is the law that prevents its Arab citizens from unifying their families.

When a discussion of whether Israel is an apartheid state arises, and its propagandists claim that it isn’t, they cite as proof the absence of any racist laws in the country’s lawbooks. The law that will most likely be reaffirmed this week, for the 18th consecutive time, is definitive proof of the fact that not only are there apartheid practices in this country, there are apartheid laws here as well. “It’s best not to avoid the truth: Its existence in the lawbooks makes Israel an apartheid state,” wrote Haaretz publisher Amos Schocken in 2008. Thirteen years have passed, and this statement is truer than ever.

To put it briefly: After the Law of Return, this is the law that exemplifies more than any other the domination of Jewish supremacism in this country. A Jew can share his life with whomever he or she chooses, and an Arab can’t. Just like that, despairingly and painfully simple. Any country that treated its Jewish citizens like that would be reviled.

A young man from Kafr Qasem who falls in love with a woman from the West Bank city of Nablus cannot live with her in his country, Israel. A young man from neighboring Kfar Sava can live in his country with whomever he pleases. A woman from the settlement of Itamar, which overlooks Nablus, can in theory marry someone from the Kenyan Masai tribe or a Hindu from Nepal. She may face some difficulties, but the path is open to any Jewish Israeli citizen to fulfill their couplehood in their country – I know this from my own experience.

This is not the case when it comes to an Arab citizen wishing to live with someone from the opposite sex, someone who might live five minutes away by car, often a cousin.

The 1967 Green Line, by now almost completely effaced, still exists when it comes to Arabs. This disgrace is wrapped in existential and security-related excuses about terror and a demographic threat. There is no end to the fear-mongering and descriptions of impending threats to Israel: Thousands of terrorists will sweep through this country and destroy it. Every Israeli Arab will marry eight women from the West Bank and Gaza Strip and the Jewish majority will be lost forever.

Above all this looms a (supposed) state of emergency, which produced this law in the first place. It’s only temporary, it will be terminated in a year or two, just like the occupation, the mother of all everlasting temporariness.

No less amazing is the conduct of the Labor Party with regard to this law. It is always in favor of extending it, be the party left-wing or not; it’s always accompanied by sanctimonious hand-wringing and righteous sighs. In 2016, Labor MK Nachman Shai, a quintessential spokesman of Mapai sanctimony, said he was not convinced of the law’s necessity, but that his party would support it.

Within six months, he was promised, there would be a serious discussion of its necessity. A year passed, and Shai again supported the law’s extension, this time waxing lyrical: “We’ll support the law while constantly keeping in mind that it relates to people who must be shown respect.” How? With baklava?

Shai is now minister for Diaspora affairs – only the Jewish Diaspora, obviously – and his party will again support this law, only once more, just temporarily, only for the sake of the country’s Jewish existence and security.

To state it clearly: If Labor and Meretz support this law, there is no Zionist left here. If the law passes, the state is not democratic and Jewish. The moment of truth is nigh, and the end is so foretold.


Israeli Parliament Must Allow Palestinian Families to Reunite

Haaretz Editorial, 20 June  2021

Every year, the Knesset convenes in order to extend for an additional year the emergency order that allows the state to prevent Palestinians living in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip who are married to Israeli citizens from living with their spouses in Israel.

The emergency order was passed as a temporary amendment to the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law in 2003, during the second intifada, and is renewed each year through a Knesset vote. This year, the ban expires July 6.

Ostensibly, the amendment is a security measure. During the second intifada, military authorities convinced lawmakers that Palestinians who received Israeli IDs in the wake of family unification carried out suicide attacks. Security needs won out over civil rights, and the rest is history.

That was 18 years ago. The security considerations, which seemingly remain intact, now serve to conceal demographic considerations – that is, preserving Israel’s Jewish majority. That is the true motive for continuing to extend the emergency order. Were it only a security issue, constitutionally sound alternatives that do not violate the rights of Arab citizens of Israel could be found, such as requiring security screening for every candidate for Israeli residence on account of family reunification.

But under the cover of security considerations, the emergency order makes it possible to block Palestinian immigration while causing grievous injury to the civil rights of Arabs. Defense Minister Benny Gantz did not even attempt to hide this. “The law is vital to protecting the security of the state and its Jewish and democratic character,” he wrote in a letter to opposition chairman Benjamin Netanyahu, in a bid to speak to his Jewish heart and win his support for the measure.

This happened after the coalition, realizing that the United Arab List opposed the extension, started counting on the votes of Likud and Religious Zionism. Logic told them that the parties would not miss the opportunity to discriminate against Israel’s Arab citizens and protect Jewish supremacy. But opposition lawmakers plan to oppose the extension in order to embarrass the new government. It isn’t clear why there aren’t more opponents to this discriminatory measure, apart from the United Arab List and Meretz lawmakers Esawi Freige and Mossi Raz.

How is it that parties that champion human rights and equality are willing to lend a hand to Jewish ultranationalist legislation that so flagrantly discriminates on ethnic grounds? Coalition considerations presumably outweigh considerations of civil and human rights. Last year, Knesset legal advisers called on the previous government to replace the controversial emergency regulation with a permanent law. However, any version of this law justifies describing Israel as an apartheid state, with one law for Jews and another for Arabs. This order must be repealed.

The above article is Haaretz’s lead editorial, as published in the Hebrew and English newspapers in Israel.

Comments (3)

  • John Bowley says:

    It says a lot that the Israeli Labor Party consistently supports this apartheid. This is the Labor Party with which the UK Jewish Labour Movement is in reality affiliated to. Both are above all Politically Zionist. The Jewish Labour Movement has little in common with our British Labour Party and has politically opposed it in recent years, in reality over Israeli Zionism.

  • Margaret E. Johnson says:

    I simply cannot see how anyone can dispute the fact of Israel being a racist Aparthied state. Both it’s Law and it’s actions affirm the fact.

  • Phil says:

    Margaret E. Johnson is right. Israel is the inevitable fruit of the arguably fascist ideology of Zionism. And the Jewish Labour Movement is nothing but an Israeli aircraft carrier dominating the paddleboards and rubber dinghys that make up the rest of today’s craven Labour Party.

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