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Adalah calls on UN to condemn Israel’s Nation-State Law

March 14, 2019 2:31 P.M. (Updated: March 19, 2019 4:40 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, called on the United Nations Human Rights Council to condemn Israel’s Nation-State Law, on Thursday.

According to an Adalah press release, Adalah’s Attorney, Myssana Morany, spoke during an Interactive Dialogue with the UN Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues in Geneva and appealed to the UN body to demand that Israel repeal the law due to its racially discriminatory impact on Palestinian citizens of Israel.

Morany said, “There is no democratic state in the world that defines its constitutional identity on exclusive racial grounds, and as serving one ethnic group.”

Following an appeal by Adalah, four UN Special Rapporteurs, including on minority issues, sent a joint communique to Israeli authorities in November 2018 demanding clarification of potential human rights violations resulting from the law.

Morany stressed, “The Nation-State Law contains no commitment to democratic norms or equality, and no prohibition of discrimination on the basis of race, nationality, or ethnicity. For these reasons, this law bears the distinct characteristics of apartheid as defined under international law.”

He continued, "Just last week, opposition to the Nation-State Law was exploited as a justification for disqualifying an Arab political list from the upcoming Israeli national elections – so this is clearly not a theoretical or symbolic issue. This racist law has direct and immediate implications for the human rights of Palestinians on both sides of the Green Line.”

Morany added, “The Israeli prime minster even commented this week that Israel is not a country for all its citizens, specifically citing the Nation-State Law to support his claim. This rightly made headlines around the world precisely because what is taken for granted in every democracy – equality for all citizens – is considered a subversive and hostile idea in Israel.”

The controversial law, which was passed by the Israeli Knesset in July, enshrines the status of the State of Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people and includes legally preserving Israel's "democratic" character, its state symbols (national anthem, flag, icon), Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, Hebrew as the official language and the right of return for Diaspora Jewry.

Meanwhile, the Arabic language will receive a "special status" as Israel's second official language. The law, however, would not require making state services accessible in Arabic.

Critics of the law raised concerns that it will permit the exclusion of various populations, based on nationality or religion, and allow the illegal establishment of Jewish settlements and communities only.

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