American Jews are pledging to ask Members of Knesset visiting American communities to explain why they voted in favor of the racist, discriminatory Nation-State Bill, which fundamentally damages democratic values in Israel. The pledge was announced today by leading American Jewish organizations including the New Israel Fund, Truah, J Street, Ameinu, Americans for Peace Now, National Council of Jewish Women and Partners for Progressive Israel. Participants are promising to raise specific questions about the MKs’ votes in support of the measure at any opportunity, including speaking engagements in U.S. Jewish communities and delegation visits.
The text of the pledge, which is available online here, reads:
If any of the 62 Members of Knesset who voted for the Nation-State Law speak in my community, or at a conference I am attending, or on a delegation I participate in, I will ask these questions.
- Israel’s Declaration of Independence states that Israel will “ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex and “guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture.”
- Do you believe that non-Jewish citizens of Israel deserve all of the same rights as Jewish citizens of Israel?
- If so, why did you vote for the nation-state bill, which pointedly disenfranchises Israel’s minorities — and never once uses the words “equality” or “democracy”?
- Defenders of the Nation-State Law say it provides a necessary legal defense of Israel’s Jewish character.
- Can you explain what you perceive to be the threat to Israel’s Jewish character that necessitated this new law?
- Can you name any way in which this law actually accomplishes this stated goal?
- One of the consequences of the Nation-State Law was to create a needless crisis with Israel’s Druze citizens.
- Despite their generations of service and sacrifice for Israel, do you not see the Druze as equal citizens and partners in Israel’s society and future?
- If you do, why did you vote for the Nation State Law and what will you now do to repair this damage?
- The provisions of the Nation-State Law, which you supported, also discriminate against Israel’s non-Orthodox Jews.
- Do you understand that this alienates the majority of American Jews, damages their connection to Israel and weakens overall support for Israel in the United States?
- Does this concern you?
- Many critics feel that the Nation-State Law – and others the current Knesset has passed – move Israel further from the family of Western liberal democracies, and closer to so-called “illiberal democracies” like Hungary and Poland. That view is reinforced by Israeli leaders’ rhetorical attacks on Arab citizens of Israel, the judiciary, the media and civil society organizations. Many American Jews feel Israel is becoming less and less recognizable to them as the country they thought they knew and long supported.
- Does this concern you?
- If so, what do you propose to do about it?