We don’t seek to conquer the lands of others as did the colonialist Arab, British or European empires of old. We simply want to determine our own future, the future of the Jewish people, in our own land.
It seems the greatest threat facing humanity today is not the Islamic terrorism we see visiting almost every corner of the world. It’s not the continuing Iranian quest for weapons of mass destruction – weapons that could well be turned on western democracies. It’s not the Syrian civil war, where the death toll has exceeded half a million people, igniting a refugee crisis that has changed the entire face of Europe. It’s not even an increasing world population with so many more people fighting over seemingly so fewer resources, like water and power sources.
No, it seems the greatest threat facing humanity today is when a small bunch of Jews declare Jewish sovereignty in their own Jewish country.
Predictably, the OIC (Organisation of Islamic Unity) were among the leaders of the chorus of condemnations. They claim that Israel’s nation state law is “racist, unlawful and illegitimate” which is quite a remarkable declaration considering a good chunk of their membership list consists of countries that are racist, unlawful and illegitimate.
Try finding a synagogue or a church in Saudi Arabia and you’ll soon find out you have a long search ahead of you, because the Saudi authorities do not allow the practice of faiths other than Islam. And if you’re so inclined to become a part of this ‘tolerant’ society, you’ll also find you’re out of luck, since only Muslims can become citizens, and if you by any chance do convert to a religion other than Islam, you’ll find yourself on the receiving end of a sword, since such actions are punishable by death.
Kuwait and Qatar are even more shining examples of their concept of tolerant societies, where workers imported into the country are treated more like slaves than employees. But it looks like things are improving, because just a few weeks ago, Kuwaiti beauty blogger, Sondos al-Qattan, was caught in an Instagram video complaining bitterly that her imported Filipino slave (er…worker) got to keep her passport AND was entitled to 4 whole days off a month! Oh – the horror!
Europe, never failing to miss an opportunity to criticize Israel, also joined the condemnations saying such a law would “complicate a two state solution” in the quest for peace. It’s kind of Interesting how they don’t see Hamas’s stated objective of killing all Jews or the Palestinian Authority’s racist declaration of no Jews to be allowed in their future fantasy state, as things that would complicate a peaceful future.
The reality is that there exists today countries that have very similar laws, yet remain outside the microscopic scrutiny the way Israel is. The Spanish Constitution says that “national sovereignty is vested in the Spanish people.” The Latvian constitution says the same, talking of the “immutable will of the Latvian nation and its inextinguishable right to self-determination.” And in the constitution of Ireland, one of Israel’s fiercest critics, it asserts the “inalienable, indefeasible, and sovereign right of the Irish people to self-determination.”
Now, it’s true that there are many Druze who are unhappy with the nation state law – and the Druze are indeed an integral part of the State of Israel who contribute enormously to the security and fabric of the country – but the nation state law does not take, or attempt to take away, any of their rights at all. Arabic, which is their main language, is designated a special status and the law specifically states that while Hebrew is the official language, this “does not change the status given to the Arabic language before the basic law was created.”
However, despite the objections, this law is necessary, because not a day passes where the country is not under attack by various institutions and organisations who are trying desperately to dismantle the Jewishness of Israel. They pass resolutions ignoring Jewish history. They claim our two holy temples never existed. They deny irrefutable evidence of our archaeological artefacts.
They try to deny our most basic sovereign rights – the right to determine our own destiny.
And yes, there are Jewish organisations as well, who are rallying against it and demonstrating against the fact that the Jewish State is daring to say it is… well… Jewish!
This law will not stop those attacks. It will not stop the resolutions. It will not stop the monotonous drone of condemnations either. But in a way it’s aimed not just outwardly, but inwardly too. Because the Jewish people, unlike others who have disappeared over the centuries, still have our culture, our history, our stories, our language and yes… our land. Rather than shy away from this, we should embrace it, for it is a source of immense pride to us and immense honor.
We are not a people who seek to conquer the lands of others, such as the colonialist Arab, British or European empires of old. Rather, we’re a people who simply want to determine our own future – the future of the Jewish people – in our own land – the same land we’ve been on for almost 4000 years. This minuscule land is the only land we’ll ever be on and the only land in which we can plot our own future as a people and as a nation and if we can’t state that proudly with clarity and confidence and unmitigated belief – then why should anyone else believe us either?
The nation state law is not about denying the personal rights or freedoms of anyone else who live within the borders of Israel, but it is about simply reaffirming something that we all know to be true in our hearts and in our heads and in our very souls. It is the undeniable truth.
Israel is the Jewish State.
Justin Amler is a noted South African born, Australia-based writer and commentator on international issues.