[News] Israel - New law, Racist and constitutes a thought crime

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Wed May 27 18:34:24 EDT 2009



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MK Zahalka: "New law, Racist and constitutes a thought crime"

  Thursday May 28, 2009 01:04
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 by Saed Bannoura - IMEMC & Agencies 
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As the Israeli Knesset was debating the new law, which punishes any 
citizen who does not recognize Israel as a Jewish Democratic State, 
Arab member of Knesset Jamal Zahalka, described the law as racist and 
a thought crime.

Zahalka said that any person who demands democracy and equality would 
be punished and imprisoned, and that this means dozens of Jewish and 
Arabs university lecturers, intellectuals and politicians who propose 
a bi-national state or a state for all of its citizens would be 
punished and imprisoned.

He also said that what this law means is that the state "would have 
to form a police unit that targets the thoughts of the residents, the 
intellectuals, and imprison them for having ideas and thoughts that 
are not coherent with the State's policies.

Zahalka also said that no matter what laws are passed, the Arabs and 
progressive movements in Israel will not accept a Jewish State that 
is based on Zionism, and would always reject Zionism regardless of 
the price they would have to pay.

"You are presenting racist laws, day by day, your government is sick 
with delusions and racism", Zahalka added.

His statements were met with anger by right wing members of the 
Knesset who shouted at him and said "if you don't like our laws, then 
get out of here, and leave the country".

He responded by saying "we are the natives of this land, you are the 
immigrants and we will remain in this country like a fork in your throats".

Right wing MK's then started insulting Zahalka and uttered dirty 
words against him, before the Knesset head forced him out and ignored 
the racist statements of right wing MK's.

After he was forced out of the Knesset hall, Zahalka said that the 
atmosphere at the Knesset is poisoned with racism, and added that 
this law is a challenge to democracy and a challenge to Israel as a 
state for all of its citizens.

He added that Israel regards itself as the state of the Jewish 
people, which places the Arabs as an unwanted ethnicity.
******************************************************

Knesset approves initial bill incriminating denying Israel as a Jewish State

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  Thursday May 28, 2009 00:55
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 by Saed Bannoura - IMEMC & Agencies 
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http://www.imemc.org/article/60576

On Wednesday, the Israeli Knesset approved in the first reading a 
bill that would incriminate publically denying Israel as a Jewish 
State, and that such denial would be punished up to a year in prison.

The  bill is one of several similar bills presented by right-wing 
members of Knesset demanding racist laws that denies the very 
existence of the Arabs and Palestinians in their homeland.

The bill wants all Israeli citizens, including Arabs and 
Palestinians, to recognize Israel as a "Jewish Democratic State".

Any act or publication that denies Israel's "identity" as a Jewish 
State would be considered as an issue that would cause "acts of 
hatred and disloyalty".

  The bill was approved by 47 members of Knesset, while 34 voted 
against it, and Knesset spokesperson, Reuven Rivlin, from the Likud 
party, abstained.

  The controversial bill was first presented by extremist right wing 
member of Knesset, Zevulun Orlev, of the Bayit Hayehudi (Jewish Home) party.

  The new bill needs to pass three more votes at the Knesset and a 
committee review before it becomes a law, Israeli online daily, 
Haaretz, reported.

Orlev proposed this law linking it to former member of Knesset, Azmi 
Bishara, who resigned from the Knesset and left the country in 2007.

Bishara is facing charges of what Israel calls "assisting the enemy" 
because he visited Lebanon and Syria.

  Meanwhile, member of Knesset Haim Oron of the Meretz party, 
strongly denounced the bill and said that it is considered as 
"creating thought police".

On Sunday, the Knesset passed a bill outlawing marking the Nakba, 
which is when the Palestinians were forced out of their homeland so 
that Israeli can be created.

The bill was denounced by Naomi Chazan, head of the New Israeli Fund. 
He said that this bill crushes the feelings of Palestinians who lost 
their lands, and harms the efforts to achieve co-existence.

  Several Civil Rights organizations in Israel said that such a bill 
could harm the rights of Arab citizens.

Furthermore, a bill introduced this week by Israel's Foreign 
Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, of the extremist Yisrael Beiteinu Party, 
required the Arabs to pledge loyalty to Israel as a Jewish State 
before they can obtain identity cards and citizenship.





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