Israeli High Court’s racist ruling: Where is the international community? 21Jan12 January 21, 2012

by Yuri Yacobi Keller  -  The Alternative Information Centre  -  18 January 2012

The Israeli High Court’s racist ruling approving the citizenship law that differentiates between Jews and non-Jews is a turning point. Activists and organizations working for human rights in Israel-Palestine must take the High Court’s move seriously and begin to petition international courts on behalf of the Palestinians.

When I was in high school, my history teacher emphasized that one of the clear signs of Germany’s transformation into a totalitarian state in the 1930s was the intervention of the government in the love lives of its citizens – the prohibition of “Aryans” from having romantic relations with “undesirables” such as Jews. Interesting what he would have said about the new citizenship law approved by the High Court, which in essence prevents Israeli citizens from having romantic relationships with Palestinians from the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT).

This was expected – Israel’s High Court finally approved a law that fundamentally detracts from the definition of Israel as a “democracy.” With the current wave of anti-democratic legislation, the possibility existed that the court would approve one or two laws in order to appear “balanced.” Even if the court hadn’t approved the law now, it is reasonable to assume that some monstrous law would have been approved down the road. As Gideon Levy pointed out in Haaretz, High Court President Dorit Beinish ensured that she could vote against the law, maintaining the illusion of dissent, but that it would still be approved.

The Israeli High Court of Justice is taking a chance here – it hopes that the results of approving such a racist law will not cause too many waves in the international arena, so that it can retain some credibility there while simultaneously preventing additional internal attacks against Beinish and the court.

This is where the international community must come in to denounce the Israeli High Court, to apply tremendous pressure on the racist state the court is a part of, and to expel Israel from the community of “democratic” states. Due to political and economic interests, however, the international community will not do this at the moment. And because the international community won’t live up to its obligations to protect human rights, organizations promoting a just peace in Israel-Palestine must push the international community to act by appealing Israeli High Court rulings to international authorities.

It is reasonable to assume that a decision of the International Court in Hague, for example, will not change Israeli policy on the ground much, but international courts of this type possess great importance on the international level. And they are also taken into consideration by Israeli courts, which desire to preserve Israel’s image on the global level.

Decisions of international courts can be a good foundation for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaigns against Israel.

Those who care about human rights in Israel/Palestine must expose the Israeli High Court for the farce that it is and to create deterrence – yes, deterrence – against it. The international community also must make it clear to the Israeli High Court that it possesses no tolerance for such undemocratic laws and that no one will take a body that approves such a law seriously.

With each one of the thousands of Palestinian families threatened by the citizenship law, we must consider turning to the highest international courts.

Translated to English by Connie Hackbarth for the Alternative Information Center.


PHOTO: How many Palestinian grandfathers will be prevented from playing with their grandchildren? (Illustrative photo: flickr/Tato_p2p)

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