Gideon Levy: And now apartheid is being sneaked into Israel's very foundations

Nov. 27, 2014 | 5:23 AM | 3

Elkin - Ofer Vaknin
Likud MK Zeev Elkin. key backer of Jewish nation-state bill. Photo by Ofer Vaknin

It may be better to take the right wing seriously for a change. Of course, we may despise this whole silly Jewish nation-state law affair, its creators’ lust for party primaries and greed for high ratings, and think that it will be quickly forgotten anyway. We might look at it in the context of an I’m-bigger-than-you contest among the right wing’s leadership. Of course, we might also take it more seriously and be afraid that it will harm the Arab minority living in the State of Israel.
We might also suggest a different, much more serious and dangerous reading of the bill: It conceals a plot more far-reaching than it seems. This bill is legal preparation for the right wing’s one-state solution, the annexation of the territories and the establishment of the Jewish apartheid state. The bill is the constitutional foundation, and its acceptance is the laying of the cornerstone of the binational segregation state that the right wing is setting up quietly and methodically, unseen and unhindered.
Israel is definitely a state ruled by law. Since its establishment, it has based all its injustices on laws. The Jewish nation-state law will one day be the first article in its constitution. Its ramifications at that point will be more serious than they appear: They will not apply only to the Arab minority, the country’s citizens, as it seems now they will; they will apply to half the inhabitants of the incipient apartheid state. That is the bill’s true purpose.
The proof of this is indisputable. Anyone who still believes in the two-state solution will never need a Jewish nation-state law. The two-state solution is supposed to ensure a clear and decisive Jewish majority – and then, what will all the fuss be about?
It is only in a binational state that the bill is essential. Only there must all the privileges of one nation be anchored in law, as opposed to those of the other. Only there must the precedence of the Chosen People over the inferior indigenous nation be assured. Only there is a Jewish nation-state law necessary.
True, the right wing’s insistence on passing the bill into law stems from long-term concern over the future of the state – the apartheid state. The weakness of the center-left, which has proposed “amendments” to the bill – as if amending a nation-state bill were even possible – illustrates how the right wing’s deception has hoodwinked us as well.
Gray characters such as Zeev Elkin, Yariv Levin and even Ayelet Shaked are incapable of giving the impression that they are motivated by any vision other than Jewish nationalism and hatred of Arabs and foreigners. No one has ever suspected Benjamin Netanyahu of being a strategist either. Yet we cannot ignore the possibility that this could be a fraud with a crucial outcome. The appearance of inaction, populism, manipulative scheming, survival and clinging to power may be concealing a well-organized, dangerous plan that is coming true before our wide-shut eyes.
It is no accident that the Jewish nation-state bill was introduced only after the right-wing government succeeded in (almost) completely killing the two-state solution. Now that it is obvious that there will not be two states, they must start worrying about the character of the one state, which is already in the formative stages. They must make sure, at any price, that it will not be democratic and egalitarian.
And what do we have that is more effective and vital than a Jewish nation-state law? This is how the last excuse of the apartheid-deniers, who claim that unlike in South Africa there are no racial (or national) laws here, will fall. The Jewish nation-state law will shape the character of the one state according to its spirit – the spirit of apartheid. The law will ensure what the right wing has always been saying: that this country has room for two peoples, one superior and one inferior. One with all rights, and one with none. From now on, under the protection of the law, according to which everything is done. First in sovereign, occupying Israel, and soon in the annexing and colonialist one, too.


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