Knesset passes ´Nakba bill´ (YNetNews.Com -Yedioth Internet) Roni Sofer Latest Update: 03.23.11, 11:21)
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Arab, left-wing MKs fume as bill allowing small communities to reject
residents also approved. MK Tibi invokes Nazi ´final solutiion´ while
ACRI files petition with High Court saying bill sanctions
discrimination against Arabs, haredim
The Knesset passed two controversial bills late Tuesday night,
infuriating many MKs from Arab and left-wing parties, who claim the
bills are racist and run counter to democratic values.
The "Nakba bill", proposed by Yisrael Beiteinu, requires the state to
fine local authorities and other state-funded bodies for holding
events marking the Palestinian Nakba Day by supporting armed
resistance or racism against Israel, or desecrating the state flag or
On Nakba Day Palestinians mark the "catastrophe" of Israel´s
inception in 1948.
The bill, which was reworked before its final passing, states that
the finance minister will be charged with deciding when to withdraw
funds from various groups after considering the opinions of the
attorney general and a professional team comprised of members of the
ministries of finance and justice.
Thirty-seven MKs supported the bill in its final form, while 25
´Thought police in Israel´
MK David Rotem (Yisrael Beiteinu) was among the supporters. "I am not
ashamed for wanting to protect this state as a Jewish and democratic
state," he said. "You are concerned about democracy, but if your way
triumphs there won´t be a state."
But critique against the bill was harsh. "On this day the thought
police is being established in Israel," said Isaac Herzog (Labor).
Herzog added that the bill had been formulated in contrast with the
attorney general´s recommendations. "It will exacerbate tension in
Israel," he said.
MK Dov Khenin (Hadash) called it "another dark night", adding
that "this bill will greatly contribute to Israel´s de-legitimization
in the world".
MK Hanin Zoabi (Balad) was also outraged. "You are creating a
monstrous state that will enter the thoughts and emotions of
citizens. Is accepting my history considered incitement?" she
asked. "The Nakba is a historic truth, not a position or freedom of
ACRI: Bill sanctions discrimination
The second bill, which passed by a majority of 35 to 20, formalizes
the establishment of admission committees to review potential
residents of Negev and Galilee communities that have fewer than 400
families. It was passed after 2 am.
The Association for Civil Rights in Israel immediately filed a
petition against the bill, claiming that it sanctions discrimination
against Arabs, haredim, Mizrahi Jews, and even single mothers.
The petition gives a long list of court cases in which plaintiffs
were rejected by admissions committees, including a handicapped IDF
veteran, Arab and immigrant families, and Jews with Mizrahi roots.
The committees turned them down with explanations about "suitability
for community life", according to the petition.
After the passing of the bill the Knesset erupted in riots as MK
Ahmed Tibi (United Arab List-Ta´al), refusing to limit himself to the
comparison of the bill to South Africa´s apartheid,mentioned the
Wannsee Conference in which the Nazis decided on the
Holocaust´s "final solution" – or the gassing of Jews.
Arab and left-wing MKs claim the bill, which was proposed by MKs from
Yisrael Beiteinu and Kadima, is aimed at preventing Arabs from
residing in the communities that choose to adopt admission
But its initiators claim in their explanation of the bill that it
is "a balanced bill and not racist, and does not intend to harm the
Arabs or the weaker members of society".
´We will make sure world boycotts towns´
MK Taleb El-Sana (United Arab List-Ta´al) said the bill´s initiators
should be ashamed. "How can a country determine for its citizens
where to live and die?" he asked.
"The Knesset is broadcasting a message that was received by the
rabbis in Safed, who prevent Arab students from residing there.
Imagine if Britain or France had made a law preventing Jews from
living in certain communities," El-Sana added. "This is a racist law,
a law against Arabs."
MK Hanna Swaid (Hadash) announced "the clinical death of the State of
Israel." He added that although the law prohibits denying anyone
residence based on his race, it was still possible to do so on
cultural grounds. "We will make sure the towns, local authorities,
and communities that adopt the law are boycotted in the world," he
MK Tibi: Read Jewish history
But the Knesset truly erupted in violence when MK Tibi took the
stand. "You must read Jewish history well and learn which laws you
suffered from. Do you remember anything about the prohibition of
interracial marriage? Do you need an Arab on the stand to remind you
of your history?" he asked.
"When 14 representatives gathered in Berlin, they discussed which
policy to use against the Jews. It was then they discussed pushing
them aside and limiting their living space…"
At this point MKs from other parties interrupted Tibi, yelling at him
to leave the podium. MK Uri Ariel (National Union) refused to let him
continue, yelling out, "Go back to Ramallah."
Tibi was eventually allowed to continue, and said Arabs felt as
though they were being pushed aside. He said he was not comparing the
law to the final solution, but that he had brought it up in order to
stress the level of hatred. (Copyright 2011 © Yedioth Internet
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