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The Israeli Knesset's Anti-Democratic Agenda

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Amending existing law, it calls for arresting anyone denying the existence of Israel as a Jewish, democratic state. In other words, it criminalizes minority or opposition political views. It passed its preliminary reading and may be addressed by the Constitution, Law, and Justice Committee ahead of its first reading.

(3) The Nationalization, Pledge of Allegiance Bill

It requires all Israeli citizens to pledge loyalty to Israel as a Jewish, democratic, Zionist state, and perform military or some form of national service. The government didn't endorse the bill. In May 2010, a ministerial committee rejected it, and in July the cabinet did as well so far. However, efforts to reintroduce it are expected.

(4) The Admission Committees of Communal Settlements Bill

Its provisions let admission committees reject communal settlement memberships for anyone "fail(ing) to meet (its) fundamental views," its social fabric, and other aspects of how they're run. Its real purpose is discriminatory - to exclude unwanted members based on their ethnicity, religion or political views. ACRI petitioned Israel's High Court opposing the bill. It passed its first reading and will be address by the Constitution, Law, and Justice Committee ahead of its second and third ones.

(5) The Funds from Foreign Political Entities Bill

In original form, individuals or groups receiving foreign funding must register with the party registrar and immediately report each contribution amount and its source. They must also publicly state they are funded by foreign nations and includes strict penalties. The bill tries "to delegitimize and impair on the activities of organizations that receive" outside funding, even though Israeli law already requires such reporting be made.

However, the new legislation expands on existing law to force "certain civil organization to mark their activities as subversive and illegitimate." It also focuses human rights groups (not others in favor) as a way to delegitimize and incriminate them unfairly. ACRI wrote the foreign minister warning against this type intervention. The Constitution, Law, and Justice Committee endorsed the amended bill. It will be presented for a first reading and addressed by the Committee ahead of its second and third ones.

(6) The Infiltration Bill

Among other provisions, it stipulates that infiltrators based on their country of origin and persons assisting them are subject to from five to seven years imprisonment. "This bill follows" the same delegitimizing trend against "human rights and aid organizations and individuals who help refugees and labor immigrants." The bill failed earlier, but key points will be reintroduced in the new measure, currently being drafted by the Justice Ministry.

(7) A Bill Against Boycott

It states that persons who initiate, promote, or publish material that might serve as grounds for an imposed boycott against Israel may be criminally charged. They're also ordered to compensate parties economically harmed, including fixed 30,000 shekels reparations, freeing plaintiffs from the need to prove damages.

Further, if the accused is a foreign citizen, he or she will be prohibited from entering or doing business with Israel, and if a foreign nation is involved, whatever debt it's owed may not be paid. The funds instead will be used to compensate aggrieved parties, and the country may be banned from further business dealings in Israel. In addition, the provisions "apply one year retroactively."

Again, the bill's purpose is discriminatory. It targets certain internal political groups, and it aims to "neutralize the (ruling coalition's) political opposition." It mainly rejects legitimate settlement product boycotts (including BDS ones)." It thus impedes "legitimate, legal, and nonviolent protest(s)," as well as Israeli free expression and assembly rights, what real democracies never prohibit.

The bill passed its preliminary reading. The Constitution, Law, and Justice Committee will next address it ahead of its first reading. Importantly, a ministerial committee rejected provisions pertaining to foreign citizens and states, fearing adverse outside reactions. It remains whether that consideration will hold.

(8) Bill on Revoking the Citizenship of Persons Convicted of Terrorism or Espionage

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I was born in 1934, am a retired, progressive small businessman concerned about all the major national and world issues, committed to speak out and write about them.

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