Resisting the institutionalization of Zionism and discrimination

Published 20.07.2018 21:46

Seismic changes in the world order indicate that we are headed for a reversal of economic, political and social globalization through trade wars as well as rising xenophobia, neo-fascism, reversals of multiculturalism, tolerance and mutual respect.

In this context, the Israeli government never fails to constantly ignite "the mother of all crises" in the Middle East while trying to attract stronger approval from right-wing proponents, taking maximum advantage of the blank check provided by the U.S. administration. Perhaps the most concrete manifestations of the end of hegemonic stability and "Pax Americana," in view of the reluctance of the U.S. to undertake political and economic costs associated with global peace and stability, could be seen in blatant attitudes of the Netanyahu administration in sensitive matters.

The proclamation of Jerusalem as the eternal capital of Israel was one provocative move which represented a gross violation of international law, numerous U.N. resolutions and the rights of the Palestinian people. Contrary to the universal diplomatic consensus that East Jerusalem belonged to the Palestinian community and shall be declared as their capital if and when a two-state solution is reached, President Trump, supported the controversial Israeli move and relocated the U.S. Embassy there while Palestinian protesters faced real bullets from the security forces just miles away.

In the conflict-ridden politics of the Middle East, the peculiar role of the U.S. recently swiftly shifted from that of a conflict-resolver and arbitrator to a proactive agent triggering instability and endemic conflicts. This shift and the unambiguous support provided to provocative decisions and actions of Israel in recent months certainly emboldened Netanyahu to pursue more discriminatory and controversial agendas which are even harshly criticized by the domestic opposition.

In this context, the Israeli parliament adopted a controversial basic law this week defining the country as the "nation-state of the Jewish people," provoking concerns that blatant discrimination against Palestinians will be justified. Following years of debate since 2011, the law was finally accepted with a narrow parliamentary majority (62 to 55). It includes discriminatory provisions such as self-determination is exclusive to the Jewish people; undivided Jerusalem is the capital of Israel; Israel is the Jewish nation's historical homeland; the establishment of Jewish-only settlements serve national interests; Arabic shall be relegated from an official language to a special status; and national symbols shall be defined according to Jewish culture.

Given the multicultural character of the population living under Israeli control, it does not require tremendous expertise that this law, which carries a neo-fascist tone, is potentially explosive. The plight of the Palestinians under Israeli oppression constitutes the root cause of perpetual political tension, social polarization, radicalization and friction between Israel and the Muslim world. And this law is bound to make things even worse by trying to institutionalize Zionism based on the idea of Jewish supremacy and disregarding the rights of its 1.8 million Palestinian citizens who constitute around 20 percent of the 9 million population.

It is truly unacceptable and preposterous in the 21st century that a state, which is accepted as a member of the international community, attempts to legalize an apartheid regime based on ethnic and religious superiority while declaring Arabs as second-class citizens. This kind of apartheid mentality is not only immoral and carries fascist overtones, but is in total contradiction with international laws, as it tries to legitimize existing policies of ethno-religious segregation and discrimination by the Israeli authorities.

By defining national sovereignty and democratic self-determination as exclusive rights held only by the Jewish people, the Israeli government is trying to form a constitutional basis for an exclusionary, discriminatory, anti-democratic regime which shall be protested by all liberal democracies in the world. Yet it was important to note that centrist figures in the Israeli government have accused Netanyahu of right-wing populism and leading figures of the ruling Likud party abstained from voting because of human rights concerns. Let us hope that common sense prevails at the end and the law does not go through the forthcoming processes of parliamentary and judicial approval.

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