Tag Archives: anti-war

Who Attacked the Hodeidah Hospital? Examining Allegations the Saudi Coalition Bombed a Hospital in Yemen

With thanks to the Bellingcat Investigation Team.

Summary

  • The 2nd August attack on Hodeidah was likely a mortar strike
  • The direction of origin of the attack was from the south
  • Munition fragments appear to share characteristics with munitions manufactured by Rheinmetall Denel Munition

Introduction

On Thursday, 2nd August several explosions rocked the Houthi-held city of Hodeidah. The locations of these explosions were reported to be the harbour used for fishing boats and within the vicinity of the al-Thawra Hospital. Since the incident near the hospital happened immediately after the incident at the harbour, it appeared that casualties and first responders were being deliberately targeted. Scores of people were killed and wounded in the attack.

Initial blame was placed on an airstrike by the Saudi-led Coalition, which has been advancing on the strategically important Hodeidah from the south, in partnership with the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Despite Coalition denials, these claims were certainly credible, as the Coalition has previously carried out strikes described by Amnesty International as “indiscriminate, disproportionate or directed against civilians and civilian objects”. In June it became evident that an MSF medical centre set up to treat Cholera patients had been bombed, despite its co-ordinates being shared 12 times with the Coalition and the markings of the Red Crescent being clearly visible on its roof.

However, images and video purporting to be from the scene of the attack on the hospital appear to indicate that this was not an airstrike, but rather a mortar attack. This article will verify and analyse the open source information associated with this attack and identify lines of enquiry which may aid attribution.

Videos from the harbour

There are several video clips which have been aired by a number of outlets which show casualties and ambulances by some kind of harbour. It is possible to geolocate these videos to the vicinity of the harbour in Hodeidah.

Image 1 – Ambulance moving from south west to north east through the harbour (Courtesy of Aljazeera)

Image 2 – View looking to the south west immediately after the attack – note the casualty to the right hand side (Courtesy of Almasirah)

Image 3 – View Looking west immediately after the attack – note the direction of the sun (Courtesy of Almasirah)

There is a short portion of one of these videos which also shows what appears to be damaged caused by some kind of explosion, immediately next to the casualty visible in Image 2.

Image 4 – Damage to roof of a warehouse (Courtesy of Almasirah)

Videos and Images from the Hospital

There are several images and videos showing the scene outside the hospital where the second incident took place. It is evident that multiple casualties happened at this location, with body-parts and blood strewn around the scene. It is clear from geolocating these images and videos that the event happened immediately outside an entrance to the hospital, while the same damaged vehicles can be seen in many of these videos and images, indicating they are from the same incident.

Image 5 – Still from a video looking south towards the entrance to the hospital (Courtesy of Almasirah)

Image 6 – Still from a video looking north, away from the entrance to the hospital, marked in the satellite image in blue (Courtesy of Almasirah)

Craters near the Hospital

A potentially vital piece of evidence is included in some of the videos and images from outside the hospital: fragmentation craters, almost certainly created by the munitions which caused so many casualties. Within these craters there appear to be remnants of those munitions.

Image 7 – Crater 1, note the tail fin visible on the right of the crater (Source)

Image 8 – Close-up of Crater 1 (Source)

Image 9 – Crater 2 (Source)

These two craters, and their locations, can be tied together by the video below, which shows a militiaman moving from Crater 2 to Crater 1.

Other images purport to show damage caused to the al-Thawra Hospital Archives and another hospital nearby called al-Rasheed.

Munitions Used

The nature of these craters, the damage seen at the harbour and the remnants of munitions found at the scene strongly indicate mortars were used, not an airstrike. Tail fins recovered from the location of the strike next to al-Thawra Hospital indicate that these munitions appear to be relatively distinct in their design. Their size strongly suggests they were of a large calibre, likely 120 mm, and the fins do not appear to be of Soviet Bloc origin. It should be noted that although Houthis do apparently field 120 mm mortars, they generally use weapons designed in the Soviet Bloc.

Image 10 – Various views of one of two tail fins seen in footage related to this attack. The image on the left (source) matches the two tail fins pulled out of Crater 1 (bottom right) and Crater 2 (top right).

Despite an extensive search of open sources depicting 120mm mortar bombs no exact match was found. The angles of the fin, and the vent holes arranged in a 4, 5, 4, 5 manner make this munition very distinctive.

Mortar bombs produced by Rheinmetall Denel Munition appear to have fins with a very similar shape, and display vent holes in the distinctive 4, 5, 4, 5 pattern. However, it was not possible to positively ID a 120 mm HE round with this configuration due to augmentation charges obscuring the vent holes. It should be noted that Rheinmetall supply both Saudi Arabia and the UAE with weapon systems, including 120 mm mortar systems. Rheinmetall was contacted for comment, and asked to provide images of examples of their 120 mm mortar ammunition, but did not respond.

Image 10.1 – Comparison of Hodeidah tail fin with Rheinmetall mortar rounds. Note the similarity of the tail fins, marked in red, and the same 4, 5, 4, 5 vent pattern marked in blue and yellow.

In Image 10.1 above, on the left we can see an example of a munition displayed at a Rheinmetall Denel Munition stand from different angles (Sources: Front [archived], Back [archived]).

On the right we can see an example of a munition at a school career event. (Source available on request, as it appears to have been posted by a person under the age of 18).

Direction of origin

We can establish the rough direction of origin of these mortars by examining the shape of one of the craters and applying an effective and proven technique. (This analysis was independently verified by Chris Cobb-Smith, an investigator with extensive experience analysing artillery impacts).

Image 11 – Method for establishing direction of mortar fire (Source: 1992 US Army Crater Analysis and Shell Reports)

Image 12 – Method applied to the crater outside in the vicinity of al-Thawra Hospital. The direction of origin, marked in yellow, clearly points south.

The southerly direction of origin is potentially significant in this case, due to the Saudi-led Coalition advancing from that direction. Media reports that the frontline appears to be in the vicinity of Hodeidah Airport would put Coalition mortars within range of this strike.

Analysis and Conclusion

From the open sources available it is clear that most current narratives of the events of 2nd August do not tell the whole story. The damage, munition fragments and craters all indicate that this was not an airstrike. Instead, open source information points strongly towards a mortar strike.

The shape of the craters caused by this attack clearly indicate that these mortars were fired towards the city from the south, the direction from which the Coalition forces were advancing. The tail fins of munitions allegedly found within these craters indicate these mortars were likely 120 mm in calibre. Both the Houthis and the Saudi-led coalition employ 120 mm mortars, making positive attribution difficult.

The closest match to the distinctive tail fins of these mortar bombs, including the 4, 5, 4, 5 vent pattern, appear to be munitions manufactured by Rheinmetall. Rheinmetall are known to have supplied 120 mm mortars to the UAE, who are part of the Coalition, and known to be active around Hodeidah.

 

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What spurred Israel’s Druze to demand equality now?

“We have to focus on making this a mass movement,” Hamdan concluded. “We woke up a minute too late, but now we have to get on the next train.”

For most of Israel’s minority groups, the Jewish Nation-State Law was far from surprising. But for many Druze citizens, who for decades have served in the military, it was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Elders of the Israeli Druze community are seen at a mass protest against the 'Jewish Nation-State law' in Rabin Square, Tel Aviv, August 4, 2018. (Gili Yaari/Flash90)

Elders of the Israeli Druze community are seen at a mass protest against the ‘Jewish Nation-State law’ in Rabin Square, Tel Aviv, August 4, 2018. (Gili Yaari/Flash90)

Eman Safady, like many Druze citizens of Israel, felt personally betrayed by the Jewish Nation-State Law. A journalist from the village of Abu Snan in the Galilee and an officer at the Union of Journalists in Israel, she was one of the tens of thousands of protesters who took to Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square last weekend to oppose the law.

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The Jewish Nation-State Law did not shock most of Israel’s minority groups. The law is merely a symbolic acknowledgment of a discriminatory reality they’ve long grown accustomed to, in which Israel and its institutions favor Jewish citizens over non-Jews. The law explicitly declared that Israel belongs not to its citizens but to the Jewish people, and stripped Arabic of its status as an official language.

For the Druze community, which has traditionally been categorized differently than other Arabic-speaking, non-Jewish minorities in Israel — the law elicited strong feelings of abandonment.

“They’re trying to anchor our second-class status in law,” said Safady. “Before, I would feel discriminated against, particularly as a woman. But now our inequality is being flaunted in our faces.”

Lately, Safady continued, it seems the Israeli government has been trampling on everybody’s rights, be it the LGBTQ community fighting for equality or secular and non-Orthodox Jewish Israelis advocating for stronger separation of religion and state. This sense of urgency has contributed to the outrage, she said. But there is also another shift taking place — one that began several decades ago.

Israeli President Zalman Shazar welcomes a group of Druze notables at the President's home in Jerusalem for the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, April 4, 1968. (Fritz Cohen/GPO)

Israeli President Zalman Shazar welcomes a group of Druze elders at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem for the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, April 4, 1968. (Fritz Cohen/GPO)

Israel recognized the Druze community as a distinct ethnic and religious minority, separate from Arab groups, in 1957. According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, as of 2017, there were approximately 141,000 Druze in Israel, or 1.6 percent of Israelis. The population grew when Israel annexed the Golan Heights in 1981. although the vast majority of Druze from the Golan never took Israeli citizenship.

In the mainstream Israeli narrative, the Druze are loyal to the state — an anomaly in Israeli perceptions of its minority populations — most visibly because they serve in the military. In the Israeli lexicon, the relationship, with an eye on military service, is commonly referred to as a “blood covenant.” This tradition began in 1956, when a few Druze leaders requested that mandatory conscription — which excludes other Palestinian citizens of Israel — apply also to the men in their community. Since then, enlistment rates have been high.

But the Druze’s unique position in Israeli society has not improved their social or economic standing. “Druze have weak and relatively poor municipalities, lower educational achievements and access gaps to higher education, high rates of unemployment and under-employment (among women especially, and due in part to their residence in small villages in Israel’s northern periphery), and a lack of land for urban development and growth,” explained a 2018 report by the Inter Agency Task Force, a coalition of North American Jewish organizations researching Israel’s Arab citizens.

Tens of thousands of Druze and Jewish Israelis fill Tel Aviv's Rabin Square to protest the 'Jewish Nation-State Law,' August 4, 2018. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

Tens of thousands of Druze and Jewish Israelis fill Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square to protest the ‘Jewish Nation-State Law,’ August 4, 2018. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

Over the past couple of decades, discrimination has become more personal for members of the Druze community, and not even the “blood covenant” has granted them immunity.

“The protest on Saturday was about more than the Jewish Nation-State Law,” said Amir Khnifess, head of the newly-formed Forum Against the Nation-State Law. “We were expressing our anger against [the state’s] discriminatory policies toward the Druze community in housing, labor, agriculture, and education.”

Israeli authorities are reverting to strategies they used in the 1950s, when Israel thought it could expel Arabs by chipping away at their living conditions, according to Salim Brake, an academic who focuses on the Druze community. When young people feel they have no prospects, they leave, which in turn weakens minority groups, he explained.

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It was also in the 1950s when Israeli authorities secured a clan system vis-à-vis the Druze by appointing the Tarif family to decide on Druze affairs. “The state would financially support the Tarifs, who, in return, would promote the government’s policies,” explained Brake. “People started realizing that the decisions of the Tarif leadership go against the community’s interests.”

The lack of trust extends to Druze members of parliament, added Brake, who he alleged do not seek to represent or serve the community but rather “act as employees of Zionist, fascist parties,” referring to Ayoub Kara (Likud) and Hamad Ammar (Yisrael Beiteinu), two Druze MKs who promoted and voted in favor of the Jewish Nation-State Law.

Communications Minister Ayoub Kara attends a press conference in the northern Israeli city of Tzfat, July 10, 2018. (David Cohen/Flash90)

Communications Minister Ayoub Kara attends a press conference in the northern Israeli city of Safed, July 10, 2018. (David Cohen/Flash90)

The law is more dangerous than most people understand, continued Brake. “It persecutes our children, our children’s basic rights, and paves the way for other racist laws. It deprives Arab citizens of any political agency.”

The Arab Higher Monitoring Committee, an umbrella organization that represents Arab citizens of Israel, has launched a separate campaign from the Druze.

“They divided us [Arabs] from the start and we agreed to it. We didn’t mind until it started affecting us as well — until we felt the pain ourselves,” said Nadia Hamdan, head of the northern branch of Na’amat, the largest women’s movement in Israel, which is affiliated with the Histadrut, Israel’s historically Zionist labor federation.

Growing up in Israel, most Druze are taught that the military is an integral part of their lives and their position in society, Hamdan continued. “We were raised with military uniforms on our washing lines.”

The issue of military service has been brought up by some Druze, as well as Jewish Israelis who oppose the law. Unlike the rest of the Arabs in Israel, the argument goes, Druze are entitled to full equality through a political paradigm that supposes “no rights without responsibilities.”

The same idea is the basis of a deal Prime Minister Netanyahu is attempting as part of his attempts to smooth things over with the Druze community. So far, Druze leaders have rejected that approach.

Shaykh Mowafaq Tarif, the spiritual leader of the Druze community in Israel, attentds the Druze-led rally to protest against the 'Jewish Nation-State Law,' Rabin Square, Tel Aviv, August 4, 2018. (Gili Yaari/Flash90)

Sheikh Mowafaq Tarif, the spiritual leader of the Druze community in Israel, attends the Druze-led rally to protest the ‘Jewish Nation-State Law,’ Rabin Square, Tel Aviv, August 4, 2018. (Gili Yaari/Flash90)

“Those who say that we deserve more rights because we serve in the military are wrong. The state is discriminating against all of us,” said Hamdan. “I want to exercise my right to live in dignity — just like people in the kibbutzim and places like Kfar Vradim — regardless of whether I serve in the military or not.”

That sentiment, that equality must be guaranteed irrespective of military service, was also on display at the protest Saturday night — at least from the Druze speakers and demonstrators.

And yet, even at the height of their outrage, the Druze protesters waved Israeli flags and organizers sang the national anthem, Hatikva, on stage. Both Brake and Hamdan disagree with that strategy, but Hamdan believes that at this point in time, unity is the greater imperative.

“We have to focus on making this a mass movement,” Hamdan concluded. “We woke up a minute too late, but now we have to get on the next train.”

Israel’s family separation law

Speaking at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday, Netanyahu said:

The Nation-State Law, first of all, entrenches the Law of Return. It raises it to another level and this law, of course, grants an automatic right to Jews, and only to them, to come here and receive citizenship. The Nation-State Law, for example, prevents the exploitation of the family reunification clause under which very, very many Palestinians have been absorbed into the country since the Oslo agreement, and this law helps prevent the continued uncontrolled entry into Israel of Palestinians. It could be that this law will also be able to assist us in blocking the future entry of labor migrants.

In other words, one of Netanyahu’s primary motivations in passing the Jewish Nation-State Law was to prevent Palestinian families from living together.

Netanyahu reveals one of the motivations behind the ‘Jewish Nation-State Law’: to stop Palestinians from ‘exploiting’ family unification procedures to join their families in Israel.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits the separation wall near Tarqumiya in the West Bank, July 20, 2016. (Haim Zach/GPO)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits the separation wall near Tarqumiya in the West Bank, July 20, 2016. (Haim Zach/GPO)

Many people have been asking what harm Israel’s “Jewish Nation-State Law” actually causes — what rights it infringes on, and how it changes the current situation in Israel, in which Jews are already a privileged class. I myself, wrote just last week that the law’s power lies more in its declarations than its legal ramifications.

I stand corrected.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu explained on Sunday exactly how the law harms an untold number of non-Jewish Israeli citizens, specifically, Palestinian citizens of Israel who are married to or who are immediate relatives of Palestinian residents of the West Bank and Gaza.

Speaking at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday, Netanyahu said:

The Nation-State Law, first of all, entrenches the Law of Return. It raises it to another level and this law, of course, grants an automatic right to Jews, and only to them, to come here and receive citizenship. The Nation-State Law, for example, prevents the exploitation of the family reunification clause under which very, very many Palestinians have been absorbed into the country since the Oslo agreement, and this law helps prevent the continued uncontrolled entry into Israel of Palestinians. It could be that this law will also be able to assist us in blocking the future entry of labor migrants.

In other words, one of Netanyahu’s primary motivations in passing the Jewish Nation-State Law was to prevent Palestinian families from living together.

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Family reunification is a procedure by which Israeli citizens can obtain residency and eventually citizenship for their immediate family who are not citizens.

For Jews, the procedure is moot because Jews can already obtain citizenship under the so-called Law of Return. For non-Jewish, non-Palestinian family members of Israeli citizens, family unification can be an arduous process but not all that unlike similar procedures in many other countries.

If your spouse is Palestinian, however, a demographic almost exclusively comprised of Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel, you are barred from bringing your family member into Israel and obtaining status for them as if they were Russian, Danish, Nigerian, Mexican, American, Egyptian, or virtually any other nationality.

That ban was first put in place 15 years ago and justified as a security measure. Technically, it is an “emergency regulation,” a category of laws that are only valid as long as Israel is in a “state of emergency,” which it has been for the past 70 years. If the state had argued honestly that the point of halting family unification for Palestinians is borne of demographic and not security concerns, the High Court would have struck it down as unconstitutional.

What Netanyahu said on Sunday is that now, with the Jewish Nation-State Law on the books, he and his government can now be honest about their intentions. Israel does not want more Palestinian citizens — not due to any security concerns but simply because it doesn’t want more Palestinians living in Israel. With a constitutional amendment declaring Israel to be the Jewish state, where only Jews have a right to national self-determination, discriminatory laws with exclusively demographic aims are legitimate. Preventing Palestinian families from living together is a legitimate legislative objective.

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In the name of maintaining Israel as a “Jewish and democratic” state, Netanyahu — like Rabin, Barak, Livni, and virtually all of his predecessors — has concluded that demography is one of the most fundamental elements of Israeli national security.

Take a minute and think about what that means. It means that there is such a thing as a demographic threat. It means that someone’s child, solely by virtue of being born, is a national security threat. It means that who you marry and your right to live with them in your home is a grave national security concern. It means that Palestinian families, simply by virtue of being Palestinian families, are a threat to the Jewish state. It means that one ethno-religious group of Israeli citizens is entitled to the right to family, and another group, which comprises 20 percent of all Israeli citizens, is not.

“The Evils in the World” – A Response to Prosecutor Joe Deters

On Thursday, August 2, the catechism of the Catholic Church was officially updated to deem the death penalty always “inadmissible” because it “attacks” the inherent dignity of all humans. As Prosecutor Joe Deters is currently seeking the death penalty in the trial of Anthony Kirkland, he was asked about how his faith impacts his decision to seek the death penalty. He remarked, “There is evil in this world and there comes a point where society needs to defend itself.” Sr. Andrea Koverman published a response that we have sent to the Cincinnati Enquirer but it has not yet been published. 

Andrea is a Sister of Charity of Cincinnati and manages the Anti-Death Penalty and Peace/Nonviolence Programs at the Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center in Cincinnati, Ohio.


Yes, Mr. Deters, there are evils in the world, and capital punishment is one of them.

My day at the Intercommunity Justice & Peace Center began on a hopeful note as I read that Pope Francis announced a change in the Catholic Church’s official position on capital punishment. Though generally not supporting the practice for the obvious reason that it breaks God’s commandment not to kill, the Catechism of the Catholic Church left a loophole that has been used to justify executing high profile murderers. Pope Francis prescribes to the idea that society can be protected without killing perpetrators, and so do I.

I manage the Anti-Death Penalty programming, and it is my job to create opportunities to educate the public about the realities of the death penalty. In all that we do, we acknowledge the lives taken by those who are on death row, while we advocate for abolition. We are supported by some faith-based communities but our information is not only for people of faith, it is for all of society. Everything I’ve learned while in this position would affirm my opposition to capital punishment even if I weren’t a sister, a Catholic, a Christian, and was simply a rational human being.

In 2007, the American Bar Association found that Ohio failed to meet 93% of the guidelines to ensure a “fair” and “accurate” death system. That is evil. In 2014, a task force formed by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Ohio and the President of the Ohio State Bar Association made 56 recommendations that would have gone a long way to reduce the institutionalized injustices within the system. To date, only a few of them have been addressed through legislative action. That is evil. Color of skin and level of affluence have more to do with receiving a death sentence than the circumstances of the crime. That is evil. Legal errors, misconduct and negligence result in high rates of wrongful convictions, near-death experiences of innocent people, and wrongful state sanctioned killing. That is evil. Families of murder victims are promised closure but must endure decades of reliving the loss of their loved one while awaiting an execution, only to discover that it did nothing to stop their grief. That is evil. We ignore the well-documented fact that our death-row population is characterized by mental illnesses and/or horrific abuse and neglect during their formative years, expecting that they would overcome the damage such trauma causes without assistance simply by reaching the age of reason. We choose to spend the precious revenue that could be used to better fund our foster care, mental health and social welfare systems instead to kill those who failed to be good victims of these failing systems. That is evil.

But the implication that Catholics, including Mr. Deters’ “dear friends who are priests” who oppose the death penalty on moral grounds “just don’t understand what we’re dealing with” is both condescending and inaccurate. A litany of names of Catholic activists come to mind who do get it, Fathers: Oscar Romero, Roy Borgeois, Greg Boyle, James Martin, John Dear, Lawrence Hummer, Neil Kookoothe…Not to mention women, like Sr. Helen Prejean. Did they, did she just not understand the evils in the world? Hardly.

Catholics and all Christians claim Jesus Christ as their God and Savior and profess to be followers of the way of mercy and love for all people, but in particular those most rejected by the rest of society. There are no people more demonized and devalued than those on death row, and hard as it is to recognize and respect the inherent value in human beings who commit heinous gruesome crimes, that is what Christians are called to do. That isn’t always popular. Sometimes it’s downright dangerous, as it was for Jesus. Who, may I remind you, was wrongfully convicted and became a victim of state-sanctioned killing by execution.

The post “The Evils in the World” – A Response to Prosecutor Joe Deters appeared first on IJPC | Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center | Cincinnati Ohio.

Why the Israeli Left can’t reconcile with the most Zionist law

For seven decades, those on the Zionist Left have been reluctant to grapple with Israel’s history of discrimination against its Palestinian minority. With the Jewish Nation-State Law, they have no choice — and that’s what really hurts.

By Meron Rapoport

Palestinian and Israeli peace activists march in central Jerusalem on October 17, 2015. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Palestinian and Israeli peace activists march in central Jerusalem on October 17, 2015. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

It is difficult, if not impossible, to find Palestinians who support Israel’s new Jewish Nation-State Law. It is just as impossible to find Palestinians who are surprised by the law, which, in truth, does not tell Palestinians anything they did not know before: that the State of Israel is the state of the Jews, and the Arabs who live here are second-class citizens at best.

Among Jewish Israelis the response has been, well, different. According to a poll published by Walla! News, a majority of Jewish Israelis support the law. Frankly, it would be surprising if the poll found anything else. After all, the law only repeats what every student in the Israeli education system learns from day one: Israel is a “Jewish state” and Jewish settlement of the land is a near-holy act. Why should anyone think differently?

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Perhaps that is why it is surprising that the vast majority of Labor and Meretz voters (left-wing but still Zionist parties) oppose the law, and that opinions are split (with a slight majority in favor of the law) even in centrist parties such as Yesh Atid and Kulanu.

The emotional response of much of the Jewish Left is not self-evident. MK Michal Rozin (Meretz), for example, wrote on her Facebook page that a “black flag” flies above the Jewish Nation-State Law, as it constitutes a “vote of no confidence in the Declaration of Independence upon which the State of Israel was founded and is based.”

Meretz parliament member Michal Rozin (L) attends a Knesset Committee meeting discussing the allegations against Joint Arab List member Basel Ghattas, on September 20, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Meretz parliament member Michal Rozin (L) attends a Knesset Committee meeting discussing the allegations against Joint Arab List member Basel Ghattas, on September 20, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The thousands of Jewish Israelis who crowded Tel Aviv’s Habima Square on Monday for the “world’s largest Arabic lesson” were there to express just how morally reprehensible they found the law — which strips Arabic of its status as one of Israel’s official languages — to be.

Perhaps the clearest expression of the Left’s revulsion, however, came from famed Hebrew University Law Professor Mordechai Kremnitzer, when he spoke to former member of Knesset and journalist Yinon Magal on the latter’s radio show: “This is a humiliating, shocking, and stupid law that every person with a conscience must oppose,” Kremnitzer said as his voice broke, “I am ashamed that this is how they define my country.”

Palestinian leaders, too, were furious about the law, yet none of them came close to breaking down in tears. Perhaps because none of them ever had any expectations. Perhaps because none of them ever saw Israel as “their state.”

It isn’t difficult to view the responses by Rozin and Kremnitzer with a modicum of cynicism. The same Israel that promised to “be devoted to the development of the land for the benefit of all its inhabitants” was built on the ruins of the Palestinian people, half of whom fled or were expelled in 1948 and were forbidden from returning. After the war, Israel built hundreds of exclusively Jewish communities on land belonging to those Palestinians. And that’s without mentioning the Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Gaza.

Palestinians participate in the March of Return, Galilee, May 2, 2017. (Maria Zreik/Activestills)

Palestinians participate in the March of Return, Galilee, May 2, 2017. (Maria Zreik/Activestills)

Yet there is a difference between the vagueness of the Declaration of Independence and the discriminatory practices of the last 70 years on the one hand, and on the other, the Jewish Nation-State Law, which codifies that only one nation has the right to self-determination in this land, that one language is supreme above all others, and that Jewish settlement takes precedence over anyone else’s.

But it would be a mistake to say that those left-wing Zionists who now oppose the Jewish Nation-State Law are turning a blind eye to the injustices of the past. Kremnitzer and others are well aware of the problematic sides of Zionism’s past — ideologies, leaders, and groups which never really believed in equal rights for the Palestinians who live in this land.

Benjamin Netanyahu’s claim that David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister, would have supported the law ignores the fact that 70 years have come and gone since Ben-Gurion oversaw the establishment of Israel. The Arabs are not the same Arabs, and the Jews are not the same Jews.

“The State of Israel is the realization of the most justified dream,” Kremnitzer said in his radio interview, but he cannot accept that Israel should discriminate against non-Jews in the name of that “Jewish state.” He is not alone. I believe that many in the Jewish center-left, whether or not they actively define themselves as Zionists, are in the same position.

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In their view, Israel is actually “the Israeli state,” as opposed to the Jewish state, meaning it belongs to all its citizens — Jews and Arabs alike. They may be reluctant to look back and admit to the various forms of systemic discrimination Israel implemented against the Palestinian minority over seven decades years, but that’s in the past — they want to look to the future.

The moral revulsion of those on the Zionist Left today is a result of moving away from the ideology of their parents and grandparents. Even if they continue to see Israel as a Jewish state, or at the very least the Jewish national home, they first and foremost view Israel as a democratic state. The Jewish Nation-State Law is a direct attack on that view of their country, and in a sense, on the way they view themselves. Some say it is an illusion. But even if it is, it is a very unpleasant illusion to be woken from.

Meron Rapoport is an editor at Local Call, where a version of this article first appeared in Hebrew. Read it here.

‘It is easy to be a terrorist, it’s much harder to pursue peace’

Eight months after she was sent to prison for filming her daughter slap an IDF soldier, Nariman Tamimi speaks about her time behind bars, the case for international pressure on Israel, and the way her family is treated by the Israeli media. ‘They know that Ahed is not a terrorist. If we wanted to be terrorists, we would be the exact opposite of who we are.’

By Oren Ziv

Nariman Tamimi (left), Bassem Tamimi (center), and Ahed Tamimi (right) walk into Nabi Saleh after Nariman and Ahed are released from Israeli prison, July 29, 2018. (Oren Ziv)

Nariman Tamimi (left), Bassem Tamimi (center), and Ahed Tamimi (right) walk into Nabi Saleh after Nariman and Ahed are released from Israeli prison, July 29, 2018. (Oren Ziv)

A day after Ahed and Nariman Tamimi’s release from prison on Sunday, media outlets, friends, and activists continued to flood the family in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh. Despite a decision not to permit one-on-one interviews, since Tuesday morning reporters from major international media outlets have stood in a giant tent outside the home, waiting to interview Ahed.

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The questions have been nearly identical: how was prison? How does it feel to come home? What is your message to the Palestinian people? What are your plans for the future? Yet very few have shown interest in Ahed’s mother, Nariman, who was arrested hours after her daughter, and who also spent eight months in prison. On Sunday the two were released, but not before they were held for hours in a Israel Prison Service facility and then an IDF jeep, where they had their eyes covered until they were finally set free at the entrance to their village. I was the first to interview Nariman following her release.

On the day of their arrest, as Ahed and her cousin Nur confronted the IDF soldiers who entered the Tamimi family’s yard, Nariman decided to turn on the camera and live stream the incident on Facebook. “I began broadcasting so that everyone can see what happened here,” Nariman says as we sit in her yard. Between questions she gets up to welcome the guests who continue to stream in at all hours of the day.

“If you take a regular video, people will say it is staged, that it’s a lie. But when it happens live it is reality,” she adds. When I ask her about the prosecution’s claim that the live stream was meant to urge more people to come confront soldiers, she says that Nabi Saleh is so small that there is “no need for live broadcasts to let people know that the army has invaded the village.”

I first met Nariman in 2009, when the villagers of Nabi Saleh began demonstrating against the takeover of their spring by the settlers of nearby Halamish. Nariman and her husband Bassem were among the organizers of the protests; their children — including Ahed — took part as well, a decision that has led to criticism. “The soldiers invade the houses and streets during the day and night anyway, so at least the children don’t have wait at home in fear,” she told me back then. Nariman, who leads the weekly marches from the village to the spring, is one of the most determined activists I have ever met in the West Bank. Her various arrests (four in total), the incitement against her family, the death of her brother Rushdi — who was shot and killed by Israeli soldiers in 2012 — have not hindered her struggle against the occupation.

Nariman Tamimi (right) leads a protest in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, October 19, 2012. (Oren Ziv)

Nariman Tamimi (right) leads a protest in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, October 19, 2012. (Oren Ziv)

“This wasn’t the first time I used Facebook Live,” she says, “but I never thought it would turn into such a big story.” The incident took place on a Friday, but Ahed was only arrested four days later — following pressure by the Israeli Right — by soldiers equipped with cameras. Nariman herself was arrested a few hours later as she arrived at the Sha’ar Binyamin police station. “They arrested Ahed at 3 a.m., I was arrested later that day. I didn’t see a thing on the news and I knew nothing. Our phones were with the police. Only when I came to the court (for her remand extension – O.Z.) and saw many people did I understand that this became a big deal.”

In jail, Nariman was horrified to discover that her family was being described as terrorists by the Israeli media. On Sunday, hours after they were released from prison, the Tamimi family held a press conference during which Ahed said that she would refuse to give interviews to Israeli news outlets, following the hostile coverage toward her family since the arrests. “After the arrests, there was a report on Jana (Ahed’s family member, who many have called ‘the youngest journalist in the world,’ and who reports from the village – O.Z.). The people in the studio called her ‘the second Ahed Tamimi’ and said that we raise terrorists without giving us the right to present our side. So why should I speak to them?” Ahed said during the press conference.

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Until they signed their respective plea bargains in March, Ahed and Nariman’s trials were held at Ofer Military Court in the West Bank. In the meantime, they were held at the security wing for women at Hasharon Prison. As part of the plea bargain, Nariman was convicted of incitement. “Every single thing I publish on social media can be considered incitement,” she says, “they printed out a copy of my Facebook profile picture after I changed it to a photo of Rushdi.”

Since their release, Ahed and Nariman have been speaking out about the situation of Palestinian women in Israeli prisons. “The occupation treats men and women the same in prison. There is a head count in the morning, and at 10:30 we are allowed to walk around the ward for an hour. After that we are put back in our rooms until 2:30 when we are allowed to walk around until five,” Nariman tells me. Her room was built to hold four, although at times up to six women were living in her room, forcing some to sleep on mattresses on the floor. “The room was very small. We cooked together on an electric stove, and every two or three weeks we would have a large dinner for all the women.”

Ahed Tamimi, Bassem Tamimi, and Nariman Tamimi give a short statement to media outlets and supporters after the release of Ahed and Nariman from Israeli prison, Nabi Saleh, West Bank, July 29, 2018. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Ahed Tamimi, Bassem Tamimi, and Nariman Tamimi give a short statement to media outlets and supporters after the release of Ahed and Nariman from Israeli prison, Nabi Saleh, West Bank, July 29, 2018. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

In prison, Nariman took advantage of her time and studied alongside Ahed for the Palestinian matriculation exam. Now, after their release and with a matriculation certificate in hand, Nariman intends to study at university. “In prison they tried to close our classroom,” she says, “but the prisoners’ spokeswoman told those in charge that we will continue to study no matter what.” The issue reached the warden, who permitted the women to continue studying.

Nariman is well aware of her family’s image in the Israeli mainstream, yet she insists on passing on a message to the public on the other side of the wall. “I say to everyone, use your head and search for the truth. You’ll be able to find it. They know that Ahed is not a terrorist. If we wanted to be terrorists, we would be the exact opposite of who we are. It is easy to be a terrorist or a murderer, it is much harder to pursue peace,” she says emphatically, “if I were a terrorist, I wouldn’t be able to talk to you, but I consider you my friend and my brother.”

She then turns to the international community, to whom she wants to send a different message: “The international community must do for the Palestinian struggle what it did for the Israelis and the Jews after the Holocaust when they were given a state that wasn’t theirs. Now it is time to return the land to the people to whom it belongs. You (the international community – O.Z.) brought these people here and created the hostility between us. Now you must put an end to it. Just like in South Africa when there was first international pressure followed by a solution. We need international pressure.”

This article was first published in Hebrew on Local Call. Read it here.

Yes, Corbynism poses a threat — but not to Britain’s Jews

The real threat Corbyn and Corbynism pose is not to Jews, but rather to a system built on inequality. A victory for socialism in an important country like the UK might inspire similar victories across Europe, North America, and beyond. Such a red wave may threaten these countries’ neoliberal growth model, which is based on a grossly unfair distribution of national income, as well as their automatic support for Israel and other states that prop up an international order based on a similarly grossly unfair distribution.

Smearing Jeremy Corbyn as an anti-Semite has become a popular hobby among members of the British establishment — perhaps because what he stands for is a direct threat to their ideological and economic interests.

By Matan Kaminer

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn. (Chris McAndrew/CC BY 3.0)

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn. (Chris McAndrew/CC BY 3.0)

Last week, Haaretz columnist Anshel Pfeffer accused UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn of being both anti-Semitic and stupid. He is wrong on both counts. Against enormous odds and powerful political enemies, Corbyn has made a case for socialism that has enthused millions of people, a case that may well bring him to Downing Street soon. He has done so by building a multi-colored coalition that welcomes Jews as well as members of Britain’s many other minority groups.

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Despite the boldness of his bottom line, Pfeffer admits that he has “never quite been able to work out whether Corbyn is an anti-Semite himself.” That Pfeffer’s evidence should be so weak is telling; as an expert on British politics — and no friend of Corbynism — he would certainly seize on any proof of this claim if such existed.

Pfeffer is not alone. Smearing Corbyn as an anti-Semite has become a popular hobby among the British establishment, including portions of the Labour Party as well as the Conservatives. And yet nothing has stuck. The most serious evidence used to substantiate the claim is Corbyn’s previous support for an artist whose mural was erased for containing anti-Semitic themes back in 2012. This support was apparently based on a superficial glance at a photo on Facebook; the mural was indeed anti-Semitic, and Corbyn, then a backbench member of Parliament, should have known better. He has acknowledged this and apologized.

The most recent edition of the smear campaign has blown up around the Labour Party’s adoption of the definition of anti-Semitism proposed by the International Holocaust Remembrance Association. You read that right: the definition was adopted, not rejected. What Labour’s National Executive Council omitted from its Code of Conduct were some of the examples laid out in the IHRA document. As close Corbyn ally and British Jew Jon Lansman points out, three of the four types of anti-Semitic behavior covered by these examples – accusing Jews of being more loyal to Israel than their own countries, holding Israel to higher standards than other countries, and comparing it to the Nazi regime – are all covered by the code. The only example left out is one in which the State of Israel is called racist.

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Given that Pfeffer lives in that very state, which just last week passed a law declaring it belongs exclusively to the Jewish people — to the obvious detriment of its non-Jewish citizens — this particular omission might have given him pause. Perhaps Pfeffer dreams of a different Israel, one in which such a law would be unthinkable? It is certainly possible to believe that such a dream is unlikely or even impossible without being an anti-Semite. And it is certainly relevant that numerous Jews have believed precisely this since the earliest days of the Zionist movement.

All this is not to say that Labour does not have “an anti-Semitism problem.” The entire Christian world has an anti-Semitism problem, which has laid dormant for decades and is now rearing its repugnant head. British society in general and Labour members in particular are not immune, though recent statistics show supporters of the left are actually slightly less prone than right-wingers to anti-Semitism, as well as other forms of racism.

But while leading figures of the British left are tackling anti-Semitism head on, right-wing British politicians, much like in Israel, are enabling the right-wing populism of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban — who Pfeffer quite correctly diagnoses as an anti-Semite, and a cunning, dangerous one at that. Unbelievably, the right-wing leadership of the UK Jewish Board of Deputies, who jumped early on the anti-Corbyn bandwagon, have remained curiously silent on the danger that Orban’s campaign against Jewish Hungarian billionaire George Soros represents to Jews in Hungary and across the continent.

The real threat Corbyn and Corbynism pose is not to Jews, but rather to a system built on inequality. A victory for socialism in an important country like the UK might inspire similar victories across Europe, North America, and beyond. Such a red wave may threaten these countries’ neoliberal growth model, which is based on a grossly unfair distribution of national income, as well as their automatic support for Israel and other states that prop up an international order based on a similarly grossly unfair distribution.

And while it is surely too early to speak of the dawn of the brotherhood of nations of which Jews and non-Jews alike have dreamt of for ages. But surely, if anti-Semitism is the ersatz socialism of fools, it is neither anti-Semitic nor foolish to give the world a glimpse of what the real thing has to offer. Who knows, perhaps such a wave might even empower forces pushing for both socialism and peace in Israel itself.

Matan Kaminer is a graduate student in anthropology at the University of Michigan, a member of the executive board of Academia for Equality, and a political activist and educator on the Israeli left.

How Israel betrayed its most loyal minority

The Nation-State Law, which enshrines supremacy for Jews in Israel, has made it clear to the country’s Druze population that we are not equals. So why don’t we demand it be abolished completely?

By Dalia Halabi

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with leader of the Druze community in Israel, Sheikh Mowafaq Tarif, at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem, July 27, 2018. (Kobi Gideon/GPO)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with leader of the Druze community in Israel, Sheikh Mowafaq Tarif, at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem, July 27, 2018. (Kobi Gideon/GPO)

The Jewish Nation-State Law has been a watershed moment for Israel’s Druze population and its relationship to the Jewish state and its institutions. The law clearly states that there is no such thing as an “Israeli” citizenship; that this land is home to those who were born Jews, as well as those who were not born to the “chosen people.”

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Over the past few days, I have heard many from my community reel in real anger, pain, and disappointment. How could it be that after so many years of unconditional sacrifices on their part, the country that they so believed in returns the favor with a racist law that removes the Druze from the equation and defines them as not belonging to their homeland? How does one deal with such a slap to the face, and how can we accept this new reality, enshrined in law, which defines the supremacy of the Jewish people as lords of this land, while denying the rest of its residents — including the Druze — the basic right to feel a deep connection to this place? Could it be that the alliance they struck with the Jewish state is slowly being shattered?

The responses by Druze members of Knesset, former and current high-ranking IDF officials, council heads, and religious leaders were quick to follow. They all shared one common demand: fix the law so that it ensures equality for Druze citizens. They did not, heaven forbid, demand it be abolished entirely. As long as we as a group remain protected from this law, we won’t have a problem with it. As long as we ensure that it does not infringe on our rights, we won’t oppose it.

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This kind of discussion is not only strange, it is immoral. We must demand that the law be rescinded for good, since it harms all of us: Arabs and Jews, Druze and non-Druze. I cannot fathom that we cannot discuss the fact that this law is a disaster for all of us, and how, once again, we Druze are unable to break through the boundaries and unequivocally oppose what is happening here.

These are undoubtedly difficult days — not only in Israel, but across the world. The forces of the far right are making their way into positions of power, and hate of the “other” has turned into a legitimate, even necessary, way of marking clear boundaries and preserving the power of the social, political, and economic hierarchy. It is happening in Europe, in the United States, and here in Israel. A messianic right wing has taken over and is employing every strategy in order to corrupt itself and enhance its power. The Jewish Nation-State Law is another way to ensure right-wing rule over the country, while doing away with the Supreme Court, one of the last strongholds protecting Israeli democracy. The new law ensures that the democratic system is subordinate to the directives of the messianic right, while paving the way for future legalized injustices

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks with newly recruited Israeli soldiers at the Tel Hashomer army base on July 26, 2018. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks with newly recruited Israeli soldiers at the Tel Hashomer army base on July 26, 2018. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Furthermore, the Jewish Nation-State Law does not leave much room for maneuvering. Many are having a hard time continuing living under the false pretense that Israel has been good to the Druze, as opposed to the other members of the Palestinian minority in Israel. Now it is clear that we are not really “brothers.” If many Druze believed the scam that Israel created over the years, which disconnected them from their identity and their Arabness, left them in dire economic situation, without proper education, beset by a lack of infrastructure in their villages, and subject to the expropriation of 70 percent of their land — the Jewish Nation-State Law brings us back to the basics.

This is the reason I cannot identify with the struggle of my people. Is it possible to struggle for “half justice” or “partial equality?” Is it possible to struggle for dignity when a whole population is living under occupation? Is it possible to go out to war for the sake of rights and justice when I am denying those very things to an entire people?

If the Druze want to lead a legitimate struggle, it must be a moral one that unequivocally opposes the Jewish Nation-State Law. That struggle belongs to all inhabitants of this land who believe in human dignity and freedom, regardless of nationality, race, religion and gender.

Dalia Halabi is the Executive Director of Dirasat — The Arab Center for Law and Policy. This article was first published in Hebrew on Local Call. Read it here.

‘A danger to humanity’: Activists block Hungarian PM’s convoy at Yad Vashem

“I am here because I believe Orbán has no reason to be in Yad Vashem,” said Veronica Cohen, a Holocaust survivor born in Hungary. “Because of his anti-humanistic attitude, because of his incitement against refugees. We were once refugees, we are in a sense a nation of refugees, and it is our duty to protect them. He is a danger to humanity.”

“Unfortunately the prime minister of Israel also has very little respect for human life. The new laws passed recently are leading us toward fascism,” Cohen added, as she held a sign reading “Never Again.”

Dozens of demonstrators, including Holocaust survivors and descendants of survivors, block Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s convoy outside Israeli Holocaust museum. ‘He is a danger to humanity.’

By Oren Ziv

Dozens of demonstrators blocked Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s motorcade as he left Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust museum, in Jerusalem Thursday, as part of his official visit to the country. The demonstrators were protesting Orbán’s anti-Semitism, as well as his iron-fisted policies toward asylum seekers in his country.

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The demonstrators held signs in both Hebrew and Hungarian and yelled the word “shame” while blocking the convoy as it tried to leave the museum. Within minutes the crowd was dispersed by Shin Bet agents and police officers, with the protesters continuing to chant as Orbán planted a tree in The Garden of the Righteous Among the Nations, dedicated to non-Jews who aided Jews during the Holocaust.

Orbán has been waging an anti-Semitic campaign against billionaire George Soros, himself a Hungarian Jew, and has enacted harsh policies against refugees, including by building detention camps and a separation barrier on Hungary’s borders.

“I am here because I believe Orbán has no reason to be in Yad Vashem,” said Veronica Cohen, a Holocaust survivor born in Hungary. “Because of his anti-humanistic attitude, because of his incitement against refugees. We were once refugees, we are in a sense a nation of refugees, and it is our duty to protect them. He is a danger to humanity.”

“Unfortunately the prime minister of Israel also has very little respect for human life. The new laws passed recently are leading us toward fascism,” Cohen added, as she held a sign reading “Never Again.”

“We are protesting against this shameful visit,” said Attorney Eitay Mack, one of the organizers of the action. “Orbán is carrying out an anti-Semitic and racist campaign in Hungary against George Soros. The heads of the Jewish community in Hungary have called it dangerous.”

Mack also spoke about policies that Yad Vashem can enact regarding visits by racist leaders. “Every dictator, every murderer who wants to buy weapons from Israel must come and lay a wreath at Yad Vashem. We saw the head of the junta in Myanmar come here for a visit, only to carry out a genocidal campaign months later. We saw the prime minister of Kenya, who is suspected of crimes against humanity. Yad Vashem has turned into an institution that whitewashes the crimes of these regimes — as long as they do business with Israel.”

Yael Weiss-Reind, whose family was murdered in Hungary during the Holocaust, said that Yad Vashem was granting legitimacy to these regimes when it “accepts leaders who carry out policies and ideologies that are very similar to what we saw decades ago.”

“My family is from Hungary,” she says, “my grandfather was murdered in Auschwitz, and the prime minister of Hungary, who is being welcomed here with respect, has previously expressed his admiration for the leader who helped carry out the annihilation of 564,000 Jews. I am disgusted by the fact that the State of Israel is hosting him.”

This article was first published in Hebrew on Local Call. Read it here.

Arabic was an official language in Israel for 70 years, 2 months, and 5 days

You can look at the new Jewish Nation-State Law from two angles: the message it sends to Jews, and the message it sends to Palestinians — you don’t belong here.

Israeli Border Police officers guard the entrance to Damascus Gate in Jerusalem's Old City, September 21, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Israeli Border Police officers guard the entrance to Damascus Gate in Jerusalem’s Old City, September 21, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Arabic was an official language of the State of Israel for 70 years, two months, and five days. As of July 19, 2018, it is no longer.

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There is no practical reason for the change, and, in fact, the “Jewish Nation-State Law,” which abolished Arabic as an official language, basically guarantees that Arabic will retain all the benefits of being an official language despite being stripped of the title.

So why upend the status quo of the past 70-plus years? Sometimes what a law says is more important than what it does.

You can look at the Jewish Nation-State law from two perspectives. There is the message it was intended to send to Jews: a positive affirmation of Israel as the Jewish nation-state; as the Jewish homeland; as the state of the Jews; a reassuring and nationalist message that says ‘this country is yours and yours alone.’

The other message, the inverse, meant for Palestinians, is: this is not your land; this country does not belong to you, irrespective of whether you are an Israeli citizen living in the home of your great-grandparents or a refugee yearning to return to the land of your grandparents; your culture, language, and history are at best tolerated — this is not their home, this is not your homeland.

The Jewish Nation-State Law states, implicitly and explicitly, that Israel belongs not to all of its citizens, over 20 percent of whom are not Jewish. Instead, it declares that Israel belongs to the Jewish people, some half of whom are not Israeli citizens.

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The law, therefore, constitutionalizes a twisted and exclusionary social contract. Whereas most democratic states draw their legitimacy to govern from the consent of their citizens, Israel has excluded one out of every five Israeli citizens from that contract. For the one in five Israeli citizens who are Arab-Palestinian, consent has effectively been removed from their governance.

Of course, governing without consent has been the rule, not the exception, for most Palestinians living under the Israeli regime for the past 70 years. From 1948 until 1966 Israel put its Arab citizens under a military regime that tightly controlled everything from movement to education to politics to newspapers.

In the 51 years since then, millions of Palestinian non-citizens in the occupied territories have been forced to live under an undemocratic military dictatorship. Likewise, the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians living in “unified Jerusalem” have no voting rights. Consent has never been a part of the equation for Palestinians living under Israeli rule. Nobody has even bothered to give the idea lip service.

For all of those reasons nobody should be able to feign surprise at the Jewish Nation-State law. The principles it elevates to constitutional status have been around as long as the country it defines. That it sits squarely on a predictable trajectory, however, does not minimize its danger.