Monday, November 17, 2008

Ballot question against Israeli state racism--

"Palestinian Rights Win on Question #4"

November 5, 2008

On Boston Indymedia at:

In Somerville and Cambridge, Massachusetts, a ballot question supporting the right of Palestinians to "live free from laws that give more rights to people of one religion than another" passed in both cities, on November 4, 2008.

This was an effort launched by the Somerville Divestment Project (SDP) last year.

SDP has worked in coalition with organizations such as, Cambridge Residents for Human Rights (CRHR) and Jamaica Plain Residents for Human Rights (JPRHR), to highlight the needs of Palestinians to live free of intimidation on their lands.

This letter describes the successful ballot question in more detail:



"Question 4 targets Israel"

In "Cambridge Chronicle" & "Cambridge TAB", at:

Oct 30, 2008

Cambridge -

If a country has laws that explicitly discriminate against people of a given religion then it impossible for victims of the discrimination to appeal to a court of law for redress since the laws themselves are discriminatory. This is the subject of Question 4 in Somerville and Cambridge.

Question 4 calls for our federal government to “support the right of all people, including non-Jewish Palestinians citizens of Israel, to live free from laws that give more rights to one group than another.”

That such laws exist in Israel is undeniable. The Law of Return explicitly allows Jews from anywhere in the world to immigrate to Israel automatically, without any complications, while non-Jews cannot. Even non-Jews whose relatives are UN-registered refugees from the area are denied the same rights as Jews are given.

This has real consequences for non-Jewish citizens of Israel. A non-Jewish person, who has a sick grandfather that wants to come to live in Israel in order to be taken care of by loving relatives, is out of luck. A Jewish person in the same situation can bring his/her grandfather with no questions asked.

Not surprisingly any person, Jewish or non-Jewish, who advocates that laws change to make Israel a real democracy with equal rights for all citizens is explicitly forbidden to participate in government (see Basic Law 7A).

Legalized discrimination is not new. The US and South Africa once had such systems; they were unfair and dehumanized both the advantaged group and the disenfranchised group. The only chance for reconciliation of conflict in the Middle East begins with ending the legalized discrimination against people who are supposed to be “equal citizens” in a supposed “democracy.” Indeed, what kind of democracy does Israel have if 20 percent of its citizens live under dramatically different laws because on their religion?

Legalized discrimination is a core illness in Israel, in place since its founding, and has resulted in many decades of unfortunate symptoms that involve human rights violations against Jews and non-Jews. Instead of judging people by the “content of their character” Israel’s founders chose to judge people by the Jewish content of their blood.

A “yes” vote on Question 4 sends a signal that blatantly discriminatory laws against non-Jewish Christian and Muslim people is not the way toward resolving the conflict and in fact is the way to perpetuate it.




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