Posted by: Lister | May 28, 2009

This law can’t be passed

From Haaretz:

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.

[…] The ministerial approval is only a preliminary step and has no legal bearing yet. Before the proposal could become a law, it must first undergo Knesset approval and cabinet consideration.

The proposal was brought forth by MK Alex Miller, of Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu party.

Not a surprise.



  1. Abe Foxman on the loyalty oath and Naqba law:

    “It’s one thing to legislate allegiance to the state, but it is discrimination to target one population group for loyalty,” Abe Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday.

    “That means demanding allegiance to Zionism rather than to the state itself,” Foxman added.

    Miller’s bill criminalizing the commemoration of the “Nakba” smacks of “violation of freedom of speech,” Foxman believes.

    And from the Jewish Week:

    “I have a lot of problems with the proposed language because by including a pledge to Zionism it smacks of discrimination,” said Abraham Foxman, the Anti-Defamation League’s national director. “It’s odious. Zionism is something you should aspire to, but it shouldn’t be something that you get punished for if you don’t.”

    Foxman noted that the oath would also create problems for fervently Orthodox Jews who don’t recognize Israel’s Zionist character.

    “Americans are not comfortable with loyalty oaths — this goes back to our experience with McCarthy,” he said. Foxman said a loyalty oath is acceptable if it’s inclusive.

    […] “[The Nakba law] is totally contrary to the spirit of democracy that Israel represents,” Foxman said. “It limits freedom of speech and freedom of expression.”


    Arab civil rights leaders in Israel said the proposals are fanning domestic nationalist turmoil that could spark violence like the riots between Arab and Jewish residents of Acre on Yom Kippur last year.

    Jafar Farah, director of the Mossawa Center, an advocacy group for Arab citizens of Israel, said his organization has embarked on a campaign to enlist international support, including American Jews, to lobby against the two laws.

    “There is anger in the Palestinian Arab community in Israel. We will not accept our marginalization. The definition of Israel as a Jewish state excludes us,” he said. “Every other day there is anti-Arab legislation proposed. They will ask us to dance on one leg, but we will not dance. We will remember the Nakba. If someone wants to complicate the Middle East by confronting the Arab community, we will protect our rights peacefully.”

  2. al-Jazeera says the loyalty oath bill has been rejected:

    An Israeli government committee has rejected a draft bill that would have required Israelis to take an oath of loyalty.

    The legislation committee on Sunday scrapped the bill, which had been tabled by the Yisrael Beitenu party, led by Avigdor Lieberman, Israel’s foreign minister.

    The bill was rejected by a vote of eight to three, an official was quoted by the AFP news agency as saying.

    The move effectively strips the proposal of government approval and significantly lowers the chances it would pass into law.

    And the Naqba Law has been watered down:

    The revised draft law now prohibits any government funds from being used for events marking the Nakba, instead of banning commemorations altogether, a government official was quoted by the AFP news agency as saying.

    “The original bill marked a serious infringement on the freedom of expression, which we deemed excessive,” the official said.

    The changes followed a legal review of the bill approved by the cabinet last week, which would have prohibited any events marking Nakba and provided for penalties of up to three years in prison.

  3. Haaretz:

    Two hundred and thirty lecturers from Israeli universities and academic institutions signed a declaration this week to “publicly violate” the proposed Nakba and Citizenship laws, should they pass through the Knesset.

    According to the declaration, the proposals are “harshly anti-democratic, and all gravely violate basic rights essential to democracy and to freedom of expression.”

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