The Zionist State's Laws Are Discriminatory

By Berger, Elmer | Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, February 28, 1990 | Go to article overview

The Zionist State's Laws Are Discriminatory


Berger, Elmer, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs


UN General Assembly Resolution 3379 of Nov. 10, 1975, defining Zionism as "a form of racism and racial discrimination" has been a subject of vigorous debate for these subsequent 15 years.

Enter Mr. Quayle

It is not entirely surprising that A.M. Rosenthal, The New York Times' indefatigable apologist for Israel and Zionism, chirped a hallelujah for a speech by J. Danforth Quayle in New York in December 1989. The American vice president, according to Rosenthal, had launched "a political and diplomatic crusade to repeal" G.A. Resolution 3379. Without any textual support, Quayle charged the resolution's supporters with the purpose of

delegitimizing the State of Israel and laying the groundwork for its expulsion from the United Nations and the world community to provide anti-Semitism -- thinly disguised as anti-Zionism -- with the appearance of international approval and respectability.

If the vice president had done any homework preparing his speech he might have studied the facts in Israel on the ground, or applied some of his academic training to a critical examination of duly enacted, codified Israeli law.

He would have found, for example, that Israel has no national constitution. Over the years, a body of individual laws was developed as a substitute. They are known officially as "fundamental" or "basic" laws, distinguishing them from statutory legislation. In chronological order of their Knesset enactment, the most important, in English translations of their titles, are known as "The Law of Return," "The Law of Nationality" and "The World Zionist Organization/Jewish Agency for Israel (Status) Law."

These three, "fundamental," discriminatory laws are indispensable pillars supporting the Zionist character of the state of Israel. A definitive description of them would be "Jewish people law." Each, in its own way, advantages all Jews and disadvantages all Arabs, natives of Israel, whether citizens of the state or "refugees." And the advantages are extra-territorial. They extend to "the Jewish people" -- all Jews worldwide. By virtue of Israel's proclaimed "Jewish people nationality" constituency, any Jew in the world has more national rights in Israel than any Arab/Palestinian Israeli citizen.

It is not necessary therefore, to point to Israeli repressions and brutalities against the Palestinians in the occupied territories to indict Zionism as a form of racism. These actions are properly subjects of international law. They may be and frequently are rationalized as temporary measures related only to the occupation. …

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