Israel has passed a law that eases the process of revoking citizenship in a step denounced as a move to threaten primarily its Arab minority.
The amendment to a so-called “Citizenship Law” was the latest in a list of parliamentary measures taken this past month that civil rights activists denounce as undemocratic but Israeli rightists see as essential to the Jewish state’s defense.
The measure, which passed by a vote of 37 to 11 after a stormy debate, empowers Israeli judges to deny citizenship privileges to anyone convicted of espionage or committing violence with nationalist motives.
Some of the delights of the McCarran-Walters Act that made life in McCarthyite America such an “adventure”.
Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, whose ultra-nationalist party sponsored the measure, proclaimed victory after the vote, saying he had fulfilled a pledge to voters to crack down on any “citizen who sides with the enemy.”
Israel’s Association for Civil Rights issued a statement in protest saying that “in a democracy you don’t deny citizenship” and that the measure sends a “humiliating and discriminatory message that citizenship for Israeli Arabs is not automatic…”
Israeli Arabs, who make up about a fifth of Israel’s population, are descendants of Palestinians who remained in what is now Israel when hundreds of thousands were driven away or fled in a 1948 war over Israel’s establishment.
Unlike Palestinians living in territory Israel captured in a 1967 war, Israeli Arabs are fully enfranchised though many complain of discrimination…
Not an important topic for the Israeli government. Or their allies in our Congress. In fact a few of the latter are preparing similar legislation for the United States.