Israel’s Accelerating Descent

Another sign of an increasingly apartheid state:

The Knesset has approved a further extension of the “temporary” order known as the ‘Citizenship Law’ (83 votes for, 17 votes against). This temporary provision prevents Palestinian spouses of Israeli citizens from attaining citizenship.

This “temporary” law is now more than a decade old. And, as you can see, the Knesset doesn’t seem likely to repeal it any time soon. I know what it’s like to be legally married to an American and yet denied citizenship because of my HIV status (a situation now mercifully over). It’s an attack on the family, a way to prevent Israeli-Palestinian understanding, and an effective second-class status for Arab spouses of Israeli citizens. It surely risks radicalizing Arab spouses, rather than helping to integrate them.

This kind of racial discrimination is also seeping into US law. Israel wants to join the 37 countries that allow travel to the US without a visa. But AIPAC wants this free visa exchange to be different than any other country’s. They want to retain an ability to discriminate against Arab-American or Muslim American citizens. Even the most loyal toadies for the Israel Lobby see this as a step too far:

“It’s stunning that you would give a green light to another country to violate the civil liberties of Americans traveling abroad,” said a staffer for one leading pro-Israel lawmaker in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Notice the anonymity of the quote. Not that they’re scared of AIPAC, of course. To say that would be “anti-Semitic.” And note the bipartisan nature of this AIPAC campaign.

It’s led by Barbara Boxer, a California liberal who would never countenance racial discrimination against US citizens – unless she’s asked to by Israel. Boxer’s bill, moreover, is backed by the American Jewish Committee as well as AIPAC. Brad Sherman, another Democrat pushing for this bill, actually says Israel is better than the US in terms of discrimination:

“There are thousands of people with Arab American backgrounds who visit Israel each year and they face far less hassle than Israeli Christians, Jews or Muslims trying to visit the United States.”

More on this from Greenwald here and Richard Silverstein here. Meanwhile, those who still believe that Israel wants a two-state solution at some point have to grapple with the latest polling of Israeli Jews in that country:

The survey, conducted by the Geocartography Institute on behalf of the Israeli university in the West Bank, found that 35 percent of respondents said the government should annex the entire West Bank, 24% said only the settlement blocs should be annexed, 20% answered that any annexation should only take place as part of an agreement with the Palestinians, and 12% said Israel doesn’t need to impose its sovereignty over any part of the West Bank. Nine percent had no answer.

Greater Israel is here to stay. The only question is whether the US will continue to support its expansion.