“New law, Racist and constitutes a thought crime”
Saed Bannoura – IMEMC & Agencies
As the Israeli Knesset was debating the new law, which punishes any citizen who does not recognize Israel as a Jewish Democratic State, Arab member of Knesset Jamal Zahalka, described the law as racist and a thought crime.
Zahalka said that any person who demands democracy and equality would be punished and imprisoned, and that this means dozens of Jewish and Arabs university lecturers, intellectuals and politicians who propose a bi-national state or a state for all of its citizens would be punished and imprisoned.
He also said that what this law means is that the state “would have to form a police unit that targets the thoughts of the residents, the intellectuals, and imprison them for having ideas and thoughts that are not coherent with the State’s policies.
Zahalka also said that no matter what laws are passed, the Arabs and progressive movements in Israel will not accept a Jewish State that is based on Zionism, and would always reject Zionism regardless of the price they would have to pay.
“You are presenting racist laws, day by day, your government is sick with delusions and racism”, Zahalka added.
His statements were met with anger by right wing members of the Knesset who shouted at him and said “if you don’t like our laws, then get out of here, and leave the country”.
He responded by saying “we are the natives of this land, you are the immigrants and we will remain in this country like a fork in your throats”.
Right wing MK’s then started insulting Zahalka and uttered dirty words against him, before the Knesset head forced him out and ignored the racist statements of right wing MK’s.
After he was forced out of the Knesset hall, Zahalka said that the atmosphere at the Knesset is poisoned with racism, and added that this law is a challenge to democracy and a challenge to Israel as a state for all of its citizens.
He added that Israel regards itself as the state of the Jewish people, which places the Arabs as an unwanted ethnicity.
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