The Polarizing Effect of the Proposed 'Nakba Law'

So everyone is talking about the two-state solution. Whether you’re on the Israeli side or the Palestinian side, accepting it appears to be the very benchmark of moderation. Apparently that’s not quite how Fatah member Abbas Zaki, Palestinian Ambassador to Lebanon, sees it. “With the two-state solution, in my opinion, Israel will collapse,” he says in this television interview.

Israel is abuzz with discussion about the proposed “nakba law.” Yesterday, the Knesset’s Ministerial Committee for Legislative Affairs approved a bill that would ban events marking the “nakba,” the Arabic word for the events of May 1948 that roughly translates as “catastrophe.”

The bill, unsurprisingly, was initiated by a member of the right-wing Yisrael Beiteinu party, Alex Miller. Equally unsurprisingly, it has provoked condemnation on the left, including among Labor ministers — three of whom have filed an appeal with the government secretariat trying to block it.

Their appeal claims that the proposed law “harms the freedom of expression and freedom of protest, which are the basic principles of a democratic state. This kind of law will increase separatism and estrangement in the society and will strengthen the extremist minority among Israel’s Arabs.”

There was also opposition to the proposed law from some in Likud, including minister Michael Eitan, and ambivalence from Shas.

Interestingly, the opposition to this proposal has been far more marked than when Yisrael Beiteinu lawmakers tried unsuccessfully to ban two Arab parties from contesting the February general election — a move which, as the Forward reported here, was supported across a wide political spectrum.

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The Polarizing Effect of the Proposed 'Nakba Law'

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