For Immediate Release
July 30, 2018
Portland’s chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace Forcefully Condemns Israel’s new ‘Nation-State law”, Warning that Israel is Becoming a Model for White Supremacists
Earlier this month, the Israeli Knesset passed the “Nation State” law. This law asserts that “Israel is the historic homeland of the Jewish people and they have an exclusive right to national self-determination in it”. The law downgrades Arabic from its status equivalent to Hebrew as an official language, a status which it has enjoyed since Israel first became a nation state in 1948. This law is widely seen as providing the legal basis for discrimination and segregation within the state directed against all non-Jewish citizens. Twenty percent of the population are not Jewish.
“This legal codification of discrimination is only the latest expression of the anti-democratic and racist character of the Israeli state and society, and it reflects an increasingly emboldened far-right, chauvinistic government put in place by an increasingly far-right, chauvinistic electorate,” said William Singer, a member of the Portland chapter of JVP. “What is not widely appreciated here in the United States, however, is the very direct and significant role that so-called ‘supporters of Israel’ here in this country have played over the last fifty years in bringing about this frightening and disgraceful outcome.”
For decades the United States has provided lavish and unwavering support for Israel, even in the face of the expanding, illegal settlements, the massive and ongoing theft of Palestinian and Bedouin land, the criminal transfer of Israeli populations into the occupied territories and criminal transfer of Palestinian and Bedouin populations from their lands, the savage military operations directed against civilian population centers, all with only the mildest, ineffective criticism on the rarest of occasions, Singer explained. “This unwavering support effectively undercut any domestic Israeli dissent and opposition to these criminal policies,” Singer continued. “The racist ‘Nation-State law’ is emblematic of an extreme anti-democratic nationalism and society that has emerged from decades of the suppression of legitimate criticism of Israeli policies and the unquestioned, bipartisan, massive US support.”
The Israeli daily newspaper, Ha’aretz, reported the notorious white supremacist, Richard Spencer, is hailing the new Nation State law, saying that it is a ‘model for Europeans’. Spencer refers to himself as a ‘white Zionist’ and explains that what he is after is a “homeland for whites.” <https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/israeli-nation-state-law-backed-by-white-nationalist-richard-spencer-1.6295314>
“This is not the first time bigots like Spencer have found a model in the discriminatory and chauvinist character of the Israeli state and a defense for their racist ideology,” said Singer. “His statements should be an urgent warning to those who think that clear and forceful criticism of the Israeli state is illegitimate or has dubious motives.”
JVP’s Executive Director, Rebecca Vilkomerson, summarized the organization’s criticism, stating that the new Nation State law “establishes that racist and discriminatory practices against Palestinians and non-Jews are legal.”
Jewish Voice for Peace is a national, grassroots organization inspired by Jewish tradition to work for a just and lasting peace according to principles of human rights, equality, and international law for all the people of Israel and Palestine. JVP has over 200,000 online supporters, over 70 chapters, a youth wing, a Rabbinic Council, an Artist Council, an Academic Advisory Council, and an Advisory Board made up of leading U.S. intellectuals and artists.