Current Knesset is the most racist parliament in Israel’s history, anti-racism centre says

March 21, 2010
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Knesset

The current Knesset is the most racist parliament in Israel’s history, a report published on Sunday by the Coalition Against Racism and the Mossawa Centre has said.

The number of laws that discriminate against Arab citizens proposed in the current Knesset increased by 75 per cent and bypassed all previous years, the centre said.

“There has never been a Knesset as active in proposing discriminating and racist legislation against the country’s Arab citizens,” Lizi Sagi and Nidal Othman, the report’s authors, were quoted as saying by Israeli daily Haaretz.

The report, published to mark International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, said that the proposed legislation decreases the civil rights of Israel’s Arab citizens in order to de-legitimize them.

The report’s data show that in 2008 there were 11 bills defined as racist presented to the Knesset, with the number going up to 12 in 2009.

However, the number of proposed bills that included discriminatory elements against the country’s Arab citizens increased to 21 in 2010.

Among the proposed legislation mentioned in the report is a bill that would jail for a year anyone who publishes or says something that would “bring contempt upon or discomfort to the country.” That proposed bill was passed in a first reading in the Knesset, Haaretz said.

Another bill in the report would change all street names in Israel to “Hebrew names.”

Some coalition members openly attempt to harm Arab citizens’ rights, try to separate Israeli Jews and Arabs and even call for the expulsion of the country’s Arab population, the report said.

         

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About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Career
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
Education
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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