The public debate over the introduction of the “Jewish Nation-State bill” in Israel calls the bluff of Israel’s insistence that it can be both a democracy and a Jewish state, laying bare its Apartheid-like laws and policies for the international community to witness and to respond.
It is time to act before Israel’s propaganda machine at home and abroad begins a damage-control campaign that would most likely justify the adoption of the new bill as a “national security” matter. After all, Israel has gotten away with using the “national security” excuse to build an Apartheid wall and to convince the world that it is merely a “separation fence,” to operate bypass roads for Jews and tourists only, and to create a network of hundreds of checkpoints across the West Bank, designed to restrict Palestinians’ mobility and livelihood.
In the past when critics would point out that the practices mentioned above are reminiscent of South Africa’s Apartheid laws, Israel’s supporters were quick to come to its defense, using a powerful secret weapon: the Holocaust. Israeli propaganda has managed to convince the world time and again that its military aggression and blatant violations of international law are beyond scrutiny because of its traumatic past.
My father, a Holocaust survivor who witnessed my grandfather’s murder in a concentration camp at the age of 13, could not forgive the international community for failing to act in time. A militant Zionist, my father used the mantra “Never Again” to justify Israel’s aggression against Palestinians. The exclusive interpretation of “Never Again” makes no sense to me.