Israel's Cabinet approves "Only our version of history allowed" law
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The Israeli Cabinet's ministerial legislation committee has just approved a somewhat milder version of the infamous "Nakba Law". Since the Cabinet's coalition has an automatic parliamentary majority, and since anyway only a couple dozen out of the Knesset's 120 members oppose this law, it is sure to pass now - unless the international price Israel pays is deemed too high by its politicians.
The law's original version - penned, of course, by one of Avigdor Lieberman's party members - outlawed any public commemoration of the Nakba - the 1948-1949 displacement of 60% of the Palestinian people and their turning from an ordinary indigenous people into a broken, fragmented, global "nuisance".
Some Labor ministers balked (yup, in case you've forgotten Israel's Labor party is in bed with these fascist jerks), and so now the law became sneaky, almost innocent-sounding. Now they 'only' ban such events from being state-funded. But in practice the law is nearly the same. Why - below.
It is even more sneaky. The main intention - shutting down the increasingly open discussion of the painful "side-effects" of the way Israel was born - is still the same. But now the law is cloaked and masked by a host of other prohibitions that sound quite straightforward:
The new bill prohibits funding of activities that reject the existence of the State of Israel as a Jewish state or deny the democratic character of the state.
It also outlaws funding for activities that fall within the definition of armed struggle or terrorist activities - by an enemy state or a terror organization - against Israel.
Additionally, the bill prohibits funding for activities that could harm the honor of the flag, the state or state symbols.
Who's against defunding support of terrorism? A no-brainer, right?
Well, the English version somehow left this out:
reject the existence of the State of Israel as a Jewish state ... includes, among other things, marking Independence day or the founding of Israel as an occasion for mourning.
So the State will not fund any public mourning of the Nakba. Still sounds perhaps not too bad; who needs the State? Well, Israel is a centralized system where the State is everything. It funds all local government, the entire school system, and all universities.
So, say, if an Arab college student organization (which receives like any student group some university funding) wants to mark the Nakba, it will get in trouble. Or will have to give up its recognized status.
Not to mention Arab K-12 schools. Palestinian students with relatives in refugee camps or abroad, will perhaps be able to academically discuss the mysterious phenomenon whereby their extended families became refugees, but the school - or even any single classroom - will not be able to hold any event, organize any activity, commemorating this tragedy.
In short, it's the Lieberman agenda all over again. He wants to roll Palestinian Israelis back to the 1950's - when they were a frightened, cowering minority under military rule, and their teachers and "leaders" were vetted by, and collaborating with, the Shin Bet secret police. A reality recently brought to light by the amazing historian Hillel Cohen. I think Lieberman will fail in this mission. But in the process he is making great political hay for himself.
Here's a glimpse into the world-view of the bill's originator MK Miller:
...We've gone through a terrible Holocaust, six million were murdered. It is inconceivable that any group will make this [Independence] day into a mourning.
Israel's wingnuts have no problem shoving the Holocaust into the collective Palestinian face, whether relevant or not. But when Obama dares suggest that the Holocaust is Israel's main moral argument for existing, the Zionist right twists up in a knot of outrage.
What's sad in all this is not just the Lieberman phenom. What's sad is that 90% of Israeli Jews and their representatives go along with this crap without batting an eyelash. Lieberman has discovered a magic recipe to tap into the semi-conscious prejudices and fears of Israeli Jews - and out them in a way that legitimizes and further reinforces them. Needless to say, this generates yet more power for him.
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