Israeli lawmakers kill ‘equality for all citizens’ bill before it is even introduced

Palestine Center Brief No. 314 (June 6, 2018)

By Mohamed Mohamed

“Israel is an apartheid state, but you don’t have to take my word for it. All you have to do is take a look at the actions of the lawmakers in the Israeli Knesset, the national legislature of Israel.

On June 5, the Knesset issued a press release stating that its Presidium (a group consisting of the speaker and deputy speakers) voted to disqualify a proposed bill that called for Israel ‘to be defined as a state of all its citizens’ to be placed on the Knesset’s agenda.

By its own admission, the Knesset mentioned that this was an ‘unusual move,’ since it is the ‘first time proposed legislation has been disqualified before being discussed in the plenum (the entire assembly of Knesset members) during the past two Knesset terms.’ This means that such a swift shooting down of legislation has not occurred in at least five years.

This begs the following question: what content in this bill was so shockingly offensive that Israeli lawmakers could not even allow it to be discussed in the full Knesset session? The bill’s major offense lies within its simple objective, which is ‘to anchor in constitutional law the principle of equal citizenship while recognizing the existence and rights of the two, Jewish and Arab, national groups living within the country.’


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This article originally appeared in Mondoweiss.

Mohamed Mohamed is the Executive Director of the Palestine Center. 

The views in this brief are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The Jerusalem Fund.