"THE PEOPLE Demand Social Justice!" 250 thousand protesters chanted in unison in Tel Aviv last Saturday. But what they need -- to quote an American artist - is "more unemployed politicians".
Fortunately, the Knesset has gone on a prolonged vacation, three months. For as Mark Twain quipped: "No man's life or property is safe while the legislature is in session."
As if to prove this point, MK Avi Dichter submitted, on the very last day of the outgoing session, a bill so outrageous that it easily trumps all the many other racist laws lately adopted by this Knesset.
"DICHTER" IS A German name and means "poet." But no poet he. He is the former chief of the secret police, the "General Security Service" (Shin-Bet or Shabak).
("Dichter also means "more dense," but let's not dwell on that.)
He proudly announced that he had spent a year and a half smoothing and sharpening this particular project, turning it into a legislative masterpiece.
And a masterpiece it is. No colleague in yesterday's Germany or present-day Iran could have produced a more illustrious piece. The other members of the Knesset seem to feel so, too -- no less than 20 of the 28 members of the Kadima faction, as well as all the other dyed-in-the-wool racist members of this august body, have proudly put their name to this bill as co-authors.
The very name -- "Basic Law: Israel as the Nation-State of the Jewish People" -- shows that this Dichter is neither a poet nor much of an intellectual. Secret police chiefs seldom are.
"Nation" and "People" are two different concepts. It is generally accepted that a people is an ethnic entity, and a nation is a political community. They exist on two different levels. But never mind.
It is the content of the bill that counts.
WHAT DICHTER proposes is to put an end to the official definition of Israel as a "Jewish and Democratic State."
He proposes instead to set clear priorities: Israel is first and foremost the nation-state of the Jewish people, and only as a far second a democratic state. Wherever democracy clashes with the Jewishness of the state, Jewishness wins, democracy loses.
This makes him, by the way, the first right-wing Zionist (apart from Meir Kahane) who openly admits that there is a basic contradiction between a "Jewish" state and a "democratic" state. Since 1948, this has been strenuously denied by all Zionist factions, their phalanx of intellectuals and the Supreme Court.
What the new definition means is that the State of Israel belongs to all the Jews in the world -- including Senators in Washington, drug-dealers in Mexico, oligarchs in Moscow and casino-owners in Macao, but not to the Arab citizens of Israel, who have been here for at least 1,300 years since the Muslims entered Jerusalem. Christian Arabs trace their ancestry back to the crucifixion 1,980 years ago, Samaritans were here 2,500 years ago and many villagers are probably the descendents of the Canaanites, who were already here some 5,000 years ago.
All these will become, once this bill is law, second-class citizens, not only in practice, as now, but also in official doctrine. Whenever their rights clash with what the majority of the Jews considers necessary for the preservation of the interests of the "nation-state of the Jewish people" -- which may include everything from land ownership to criminal legislation --their rights will be ignored.
THE BILL itself does not leave much room for speculation. It spells things out.
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