Let the hand-wringing and denunciations begin. On Thursday, Israel finally expressed in constitutional law the basic achievement of Zionism: Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people. In the seven years since the new provision was first proposed, it has attracted a flood of criticism from the US and Europe. Foreign politicians have asked Israel not to pass the law, and they have not been appeased by the removal of most of its controversial provisions. A headline of Foreign Policy Month warned that Israel "is debating democracy itself." Arab Knesset members took copies of the bill after their adoption. It was called "the official beginning of fascism and apartheid."
In reality, Israeli fundamental law would not be out of place under the liberal democratic constitutions of Europe, including similar provisions that did not create controversy. The law does not violate the individual rights of an Israeli citizen, including Arabs; nor does it create individual privileges. Illiberalism here lies with the critics of the law, who would deny the Jewish state the freedom to legislate in a normal country.
The National State Law states that Israel is a country founded to instantiate the right of the Jewish people to national self-determination. Determination. "It constitutes symbols of this goal ̵
Consider the Slovak constitution, which reads" We The Slovak nation "begins and claims to" the natural right of nations to self-determination. "Some provisions are found in places such as the Baltics, which are very large estranged minorities.The Latvian constitution begins with the" unwavering will of the Latvian nation, one own state and an inalienable right to self-determination to ensure the existence and development of the Latvian nation, its language and culture over the centuries "the population is about 25% Russian.
The new constitution also writes Hebrew, the Main language of 80% of the Israeli population g, as official language. Previously, Israel trusted in a British mandate arrangement that gave official status to Hebrew, Arabic and English. Far from undermining democracy, the Basic Law aligns Israel with other Western nations. Most multiethnic, multilingual EU states only give official status to the majority language. The Spanish constitution, for example, makes Castilian Spanish the official national language and requires all citizens to know it, even if their mother tongue is Basque or Catalan.
Another controversial provision of the law explains "the development of the Jewish settlement" to a national value that the government should promote. It is assumed that the population is scattered in the periphery of the country. This essentially corroborates the policy adopted by the international community for Palestine in the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine in 1922. Again, the provision is only declaratory of values and does not prescribe or endorse specific policies , In contrast, the Hawaiian constitution authorizes land policy to promote the squatting of ethnic Hawaiians and offers them a preferred land policy.
In addition, the measure comes in the context of a land policy that discriminates against Jews. The Israeli Supreme Court has controversially decided that Arabs have the right to create housing communities in Israel that exclude Jews. A separate case denied the Jews the right to do so. In Jerusalem, the Palestinian Authority prescribes the death penalty for Arabs who sell land to Jews. The new constitution does not negate any of these injustices; it just creates a normative counterweight.
Israel also has no official religions, and nothing in the new constitution changes that. In this regard, Israel is more liberal than the seven European countries with constitutionally anchored state religions.
Perhaps the best proof that Israel needs a constitutional confirmation of its status as a sovereign Jewish nation state is to denounce the zeal of so many as undemocratic measures that are considered banal elsewhere.
Mr. Kontorovich is a scholar at the Kohelet Policy Forum, a think tank in Jerusalem that has supported the law of the nation state.