As Gideon Levy, one of Ha’aretz’s two fearless opponents of Zionism’s racism said Ayelet Shaked, Israel’s far-right ‘Justice Minister’ is to be congratulated for her honesty. Whereas Labour and ‘liberal’ Zionists usually hide their racism beneath the flowery language of universal values, Shaked was blunt and honest. Zionism is in conflict with individual rights and the principles of democracy and it is the latter which must give way.
The hypocritical Labour Zionists, epitomised by the Jewish Labour Movement in this country, pretend that a Jewish state and a Democratic state are compatible. The Jewish National Fund, one of the pillars of Zionism, a para-state organisation that controls 93% of the land of Israel, in its reaction to an adverse Court ruling in 2006 (later overturned by the Knesset) which said it could not refuse to sell or lease property to Arabs, was quite explicit that there was a fundamental contradiction between being a Democratic and a Jewish State. It posted that:
A survey commissioned by KKL-JNF reveals that over
70% of the Jewish population in Israel opposes allocating KKL-JNF land to
non-Jews, while over 80% prefer the definition of Israel as a Jewish state,
rather than as the state of all its citizens.
Zionism is based on the
principle that Israel is a Jewish state not a state of its own citizens. Zionism therefore stands in opposition to the modern idea that all citizens are fundamentally equal, that the State does not favour or prioritise any citizen on the basis of their religious or ethnic origin. This was the fundamental principle of the Enlightenment that gave French Jews Emancipation. The principles of a Jewish state stand in direct opposition to equality and liberty for all.
Shaked claimed that ‘the justice system gives
insufficient consideration to Zionism and the country’s Jewish majority.’ Imagine if in Britain, the Justice Minister
were to assail the Supreme Court with failing to acknowledge the rights of the
White Christian majority and demanded a privileged position for them. Those who
regularly cry ‘anti-Semitism’ at the drop of a hat would indeed be screaming
anti-Semitism or maybe they would take the next plane to Israel.
It is precisely for this reason that White Supremacists admire Israel so much, to the extent that Richard Spencer, the neo-Nazi who founded the US’s Alt-Right movement, claimed to be a White Zionist. He demands for Whites in the United States the same privileges that Israeli Jews take for granted. In an interview with Israel’s Channel 2 he explained that:
“As an Israeli citizen,” Spencer told his Israeli interviewer, “someone who understands your identity, who has a sense of nationhood and peoplehood and the history and experience of the Jewish people, you should respect someone like me who has analogous feelings about whites. I mean, you could say that I am a white Zionist in the sense that I care about my people. I want us to have a secure homeland that’s for us and ourselves just like you want a secure homeland in Israel.”
Nor is there any pretence that Zionism is a nice and cuddly strand of Jewish identity and self-expression. Shami Chakrabarti in
her Report spoke of the ‘rich range of
self-descriptions of both Jewishness or Zionism’, although it was clear she
knew little of either. Shaked has no
truck with this idiocy. Shaked’s Zionism is focussed on the need to
ensure that Israel stays a Jewish majority state.
The Israeli Labour Party when
it was in government between 1948 and 1977 did likewise, relentlessly pursuing a policy of ethnic cleansing and discrimination against the Israel’s Palestinian citizens. It expelled at least 3/4 million Palestinians in 1947-48 and then set up the apparatus of permanent discrimination via para state bodies like the Jewish Agency and JNF over those who remained.
Shaked also referred to ‘the Jewish population of the Galilee.’ The Israeli Labour Party pursued policies of Judaification in the Galilee and Negev such as the Koenig Plan. The Koenig Plan spoke of the need to “examine the possibility of diluting existing Arab population concentrations“. It was exposed in April 1976 in Al Hamishmar that it had been adopted bythe then Labour government under Yitzhak Rabin . The same plan is being used in the Negev today which is why Bedouin villages like Umm al-Hiran have been demolished in order that it can make way for the Jewish town of Hiran. Koenig himself was a member of the Israeli Labour Alignment, who served as Northern District Commissioner in the Galilee for 26 years. He was in effect the colonial administrator for Galilee’s Arabs.
The difference between Labour and Likud’s version of Zionism was their approach to public relations. To a domestic audience the Labour Zionists spoke in the same language as the ‘right-wing’ Zionists about the need to reduce the influence of Arabs in a Jewish state but to the outside world Labour Zionism talked the language of
human rights and universal principles. Ayelet Shaked and her colleagues in Likud and Jewish Home are more honest.
She speaks the same racist nonsense whoever she is talking to!
Shaked euphemistically speaks of ‘national challenges’ that the courts have failed to address and which she considers to have become “a legal blind spot.” In other words the Court should actively
discriminate in favour of the majority Jewish population by explicitly including the priorities of Zionism in its rulings. Could there be any clearer incitement to racist discrimination? It is all the more remarkable for coming the Justice Minister?
Ms Shaked was exercised by the
fact that ‘The Israeli judicial system places too much emphasis on individual
rights.’ Zionism has always had a
problem with individual rights because it is, like its fascist twin, a statist
movement that believes in subordination of the individual to the State. Individual rights should take second place to national goals.
Zionism began as a reaction to
the Emancipation of the Jews which it disapproved of. The granting of
individual rights to Jews meant that there was nothing to stop them
assimilating to the non-Jewish majority and marrying out. Zionism hated inter-marriage as much as the
religious Jews, but for racial not religious reasons.
When the Jewish nation/race is your most important concern, then the
rights of the individual must suffer. To
talk of collective Jewish rights vs individual rights cannot be anything other
It means that instead of Israeli courts dealing with the individual on
their own merits, regardless of their religion/race/ethnicity, Shaked is
demanding that the principles of Zionist racism be an essential component of judicial
decisions. There is no other interpretation of her words.
Shaked believes that the forthcoming Jewish nation-state Bill which the ruling coalition are preparing will set matters right, labelling it a ‘moral and political
revolution’. The obvious question is a
revolution against whom and the answer is obvious – Israel’s Palestinian
citizens. It will make it clear that
Israel is a Jewish state first and foremost. Democracy will be an after-thought.
Shaked doesn’t hide
what she is demanding. Why should it matter if Jews are a
majority? Should a non-Jew receive different treatment? In
practice the Supreme Court and Israel’s courts have indeed been careful to bow
at the Zionist altar but they weren’t attentive
enough. Some decisions slipped through
which should not have been taken e.g. the decision in Kadan that the Jewish National Fund could no longer refuse to rent
property to a non-Jew.
Repeatedly the Supreme Court has approved of the confiscation of land in Israel and the West Bank from Palestinians. It has approved the demolition of Arab villages and the use of torture, administrative detention etc. It is extremely ‘security’ conscious and has as a matter of principle refused to interfere with army justifications that measures are justified on the basis of national security.
If there is any doubt about what Shaked was saying one should ponder what Shaked meant when she
referred to ‘the matter of demography and
the Jewish majorityas values that
should be taken into consideration.” The ‘demographic problem’ in Israel means that there are too many
Palestinians, non-Jews. Shaked is
arguing for an Israeli Nuremburg Law, recognising the national rights of the
majority population vs the minorities.
What is amazing about this speech is its shamelessness.
What particularly irked Shaked is that the Supreme Court has placed
obstacles in the way of deporting Israel’s African asyum seekers. Although the Court allowed their deportation
if they refused then Israel wasn’t allowed to gaol them indefinitely. Shaked made her displeasure known.
Shaked particularly hates the way that the fact that race ‘isn’t relevant when we’re talking about infiltrators from Africa who have
settled in south Tel Aviv and established a city within a city…’ This statement would be shocking if it were
not Israel. Asylum seekers are described
not as refugees but ‘infiltrators’. Most people outside Israel won’t understand the significance
of the phrase ‘infiltrators’. This was the term used
about Palestinian refugees who, after the war in 1948, attempted to come back
into Israel and to their lands. Israel
rejected the very idea of a return of the refugees. It was incompatible with a Jewish majority state.
Those who attempted to come back were called ‘infiltrators’ and shot on
sight. The African refugees of course
were never expelled from Israel but they are also referred to as infiltrators
because they too are not Jewish and therefore they are in the same category as
the original Palestinian refugees.
Shaked in her speech repeated herself several times as if to emphasise her points. She said that she ‘considered the system of individual rights important’, but “not when it is disconnected from
context, from our national tasks, from our identity, from our history, from our
Zionist challenges.” In other
words the Zionist tasks of increasing the Jewish majority and the idea of Jewish Supremacy took priority
over such outdated western ideas as individual human rights.
And still there are people who claim that Zionism is not a racist
ideology! But at least we can be
grateful to Shaked for her honesty, unlike the reaction of Labour’s Isaac
Herzog and the former Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, who agree with Shaked
politically but wish she would say it more diplomatically!
The Israeli judicial system
places too much emphasis on individual rights, Ayelet Shaked claims,
while labeling the nation-state bill a ‘moral and political revolution’
Revital Hovel Aug 29, 2017 6:45
Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, right, sits alongside Supreme Court President Miriam Naor at a conference organized by the Israel Bar Association on August 28, 2017
Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked criticized the Supreme Court on Tuesday,
claiming that the justice system gives insufficient consideration to Zionism
and the country’s Jewish majority.
Speaking at a conference of the
Israel Bar Association in Tel Aviv, Shaked said that Zionism and “national
challenges have become a legal blind spot” that carry no decisive
weight in comparison to questions of individual rights. She added that the court’s rulings do not consider the matter of
demography and the Jewish majority “as values that should be taken into
Shaked’s comments come the day
after the Supreme Court, sitting as the High Court of Justice, ruled that
asylum seekers may be deported to Rwanda and Uganda but may not be jailed for
more than two months if they refuse to go.
“Zionism should not continue, and
I say here, it will not continue to bow down to the system of individual rights
interpreted in a universal way that divorces them from the history of the
Knesset and the history of legislation that we all know,” Shaked
told her audience, which included Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit, Supreme
Court President Miriam Naor, State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan and Military Advocate
General Sharon Afek.
Shaked’s speech was momentarily interrupted when some of the lawyers in
the audience yelled that Israeli was an apartheid state.
The minister also said that the
nation-state bill now being advanced by the government will be a “moral
and political revolution.” The controversial bill holds that Israel is “the national home of the Jewish people” and that the right to realize
self-determination in the state is unique to them.
Shaked said that the court’s
rulings reflect an attitude according to which “the question of the Jewish majority isn’t relevant in any
case.” With regard to the Supreme Court ruling, she added: “It
isn’t relevant when we’re talking about infiltrators
from Africa who have settled in south Tel Aviv and established a city
within a city, pushing out the residents of the neighborhoods, and the response
of the judicial system in Israel is to strike down again and again the law that
seeks to deal with the matter.”
With regard to the Jewish majority, Shaked also mentioned increasing
the Jewish population of the Galilee.
Shaked said she considered the system of individual rights important,
but “not when it is disconnected from context, from our national tasks,
from our identity, from our history, from our Zionist challenges.”
She added that “since the
rights revolution, we have stopped seeing ourselves as a community.”
Regarding the nation-state bill,
Shaked said that those who oppose it “believe that a Basic Law that gives
prominence to our national and Zionist values will make us less democratic. I,
on the other hand, see the individual rights that the Knesset has recognized as
an absolute truth, and I also see our national and Zionist values as an
She added: “Only a moral and
political revolution along the lines of the one we experienced in the 1990s
that will reconfirm the main achievements of Zionism since its inception will
change this problematic trend.” The minister said that this trend has led
to legal “interpretation that has turned our national uniqueness into an
empty symbol and an empty vessel.”
Reacting to Shaked’s comments,
the leader of the opposition in the Knesset, Zionist Union Knesset member Isaac
Herzog, said: “In the face of a
government that is ignoring the orphan, the disabled, the foreigner and the
widow, we need a strong judicial system that will not show bias. The coalition
parties should head off Shaked’s revolution, for the good of the public as a
The head of the Hatnuah faction
of the Zionist Union, Tzipi Livni, said: “Zionism isn’t bowing down to human rights. It is proudly raising its
head, because protecting [human rights] is also the essence of Judaism and part
of Israel’s values as a Jewish and democratic state.”
In response to the Monday’s
ruling on asylum seekers, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Interior
Minister Arye Dery, together with Shaked, called for legislation that would
allow asylum seekers to be deported against their will. Public Security
Minister Gilad Erdan criticized the Supreme Court ruling, saying that it
nullified his decision when he was interior minister “to apply the policy
of removal to a third country and leaves the state without an effective tool to
Israel Justice Minister Shaked said
the truth loud and clear: Zionism contradicts human rights, and thus is indeed
an ultranationalist, colonialist and perhaps racist movement
Gideon Levy Aug 30, 2017 11:30 PM
Thank you, Ayelet Shaked, for
telling the truth. Thank you for speaking honestly. The justice minister has
proved once again that Israel’s extreme right is better than the deceivers of
the center-left: It speaks honestly.
Israel’s Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked sits at a conference by the Israel Bar Association in Tel Aviv, Tuesday, August 29, 2017. David Bachar
If in 1975, Chaim Herzog
dramatically tore up a copy of UN General Assembly Resolution 3379, equating
Zionism with racism, the justice minister has now admitted the truthfulness of
the resolution (which was later revoked). Shaked said, loud and clear: Zionism
contradicts human rights, and thus is indeed an ultranationalist, colonialist
and perhaps even racist movement, as proponents of justice worldwide maintain.
Shaked prefers Zionism to human
rights, the ultimate universal justice. She believes that we have a different
kind of justice, superior to universal justice. Zionism above all. It’s been
said before, in other languages and other nationalist movements.
Had Shaked not pitted these two
principles against each other, we would have continued to believe what has been
drilled into us since childhood: Zionism is a just, morally unflawed movement.
It sanctifies equality and justice: Just look at our Declaration of
Independence. We memorized “the only democracy in the Middle East,” “a land
without a people for a people without a land,” “everyone is equal in the Jewish
state”; we learned about the Arab Supreme Court justice and the Druze cabinet
minister. What more could we ask? It’s so just, so equal, you could cry.
If this were all true, Shaked
would have no reason to come to the defense of Zionism in the face of human
rights. For Shaked and the right, the debate on human and civil rights is
anti-Zionist, even anti-Semitic. It seeks to undermine and destroy the Jewish
Thus Shaked believes, as do so
many around the world, that Israel is built on foundations of injustice and
therefore must be defended from the hostile talk of justice. How else can the
repulsion to discussing rights be explained? Individual rights are important,
she said, but not when they are disconnected from “the Zionist challenges.”
Right again: The Zionist challenges indeed stand in contradiction to human
What are today’s Zionist
challenges? To “Judaize” the Negev and Galilee, remove the “infiltrators,”
cultivate Israel’s Jewish character and preserve its Jewish majority. The
occupation, the settlements, the cult of security, the army — which is
primarily an occupation army — that is Zionism circa 2017. All its components
are contrary to justice. After we were told that Zionism and justice were
identical twins, that no national movement is more just than Zionism, Shaked
came to say: just the opposite. Zionism is not just, it contradicts justice,
but we shall cleave to it and prefer it to justice, because it’s our identity,
our history and our national mission. No activist for the boycott, divestment
and sanctions movement would say it more sharply. But no nation has the right
to spurn universal principles and invent its principles that call day night,
the occupation just and discrimination equality.
Zionism is Israel’s
fundamentalist religion, and as in any religion, its denial is prohibited. In
Israel, “non-Zionist” or “anti-Zionist” aren’t insults, they are social
expulsion orders. There’s nothing like it in any free society. But now that
Shaked has exposed Zionism, put her hand to the flame and admitted the truth,
we can finally think about Zionism more freely. We can admit that the Jews’
right to a state contradicted the Palestinians’ right to their land, and that
righteous Zionism gave birth to a terrible national wrong that has never been
righted; that there are ways to resolve and atone for this contradiction, but
the Zionist Israelis won’t agree to them.
Now, then, is the time for a new
division, braver and more honest, between those Israelis who agree with
Shaked’s statement and those disagree. Between supporters of Zionism and
supporters of justice. Between Zionists and the just. Shaked did not provide
for a third option.
ring when the minister appointed to defend Israel’s courts announces that
Zionism will ‘no longer bow its head to a system of individual rights’
Haaretz Editorial Aug 30, 2017
The Supreme Court’s ruling on
Monday, which said the state was entitled to send asylum seekers to Uganda and
Rwanda, but couldn’t jail them for more than two months if they refused to go,
is imperfect. It contains various problematic elements, like the court’s
approval of secret agreements governing the asylum seekers’ transfer to third
countries. Its principal importance lies in the fact that it banned the use of
unlimited detention as a way of obtaining “voluntary consent” to leave Israel.
Nevertheless, the prime minister
and his senior ministers weren’t bothered by the various problems the court
pointed out. Instead, they have been assailing the ruling incessantly. Interior
Minister Arye Dery complained that the court “deprived me of a very important
tool,” and Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan claimed the decision voids the
deportation policy of all content. But Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked’s
comments were particularly grave.
The very person who is supposed
to defend the court was the one who spoke out in a way that should trouble any
citizen who wants to live in a democratic country. Shaked said on Tuesday that
“Zionism has become a blind spot in the law” and that “national challenges are
a legal blind spot.” She then criticized the justices, saying that for them,
“the question of the Jewish majority is irrelevant when we’re talking about
infiltrators from Africa who have settled in south Tel Aviv and created a city
within a city while pushing residents of these neighborhoods out.”
She said that individual rights
are important, but not when they are “disconnected from our national goals,
from our identity, from our history, from our Zionist challenges.” And finally,
she issued a threat: “Zionism should not – and I’m saying here that it will not
– continue to bow its head to a system of individual rights interpreted in a
Shaked’s remarks reflect the
ethnocentric principle that her party, Habayit Hayehudi, is trying to promote.
In the view of party members, Israel is first of all a Jewish state and only
afterward democratic; they believe even the courts should give Jewish concerns
priority over democratic concerns.
With a combination of ignorance
and manipulativeness, Shaked has had the gall to harness “Zionism” for her own
purposes by claiming that a contradiction exists between Zionism and universal
human rights. In other words, Israel should violate human rights in the name of
Zionism. In Shaked’s view, Zionism is nothing but a euphemism for racism or
The prime minister should have
responded to her remarks by firing her. A state that defines itself as
democratic cannot tolerate an undemocratic justice minister. Instead, Benjamin
Netanyahu actually preceded her by saying, “We’ll have to enact new laws that
will enable us … to send the illegal infiltrators out of our country.” And he
thereby proved once again that he, too, is unfit for his office.
The above article is Haaretz’s
lead editorial, as published in the Hebrew and English newspapers in Israel