Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Thousands Protest Israeli Loyalty Oath Bill - Reports from Israel

Thousands Protest Israeli Loyalty Oath Bill - Reports from Israel


1. 8000 People Demonstrate in Tel Aviv in Defence of

   Democracy (Alternative Information Center (AIC))

2. Thousands protest loyalty oath bill (YNetNews)

3. US Reform Rabbis: Loyalty Oath Undemocratic - Central

   Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR)




8000 People Demonstrate in Tel Aviv in Defence of Democracy


Alternative Information Center (AIC)


Sunday, 17 October 2010 15:30


Some 8,000 people marched through Tel Aviv to the Ministry

of Defence last night (16 October) in protest of the racist

laws being promoted by the Israeli government and the

transfer exercises of the Israeli security forces.


A long list of organizations, movements and political

parties participated in the demonstration, including the

Hadash party, Hithabrut-Tarabut and the Negev Forum for

Civil Equality, amongst others.


Last Sunday (10 October) the Israeli government approved a

draft law of a new oath requiring any non-Jewish person

taking Israeli citizenship to swear allegiance to the

country as a "Jewish and democratic state, a proposal the

Knesset is expected to pass.


During the demonstration, Knesset Member Dov Hanin (Hadash)

said that "we are witness here to a demonstration of

strength of the left in Israel." He added that "Jews and

Arabs from throughout the country came tonight. We intend to

struggle against the wave of racist and anti-democratic Israel there exists a large group that is

willing to fight against racism and on behalf of democracy,

and this struggle will grow larger. Democracy has become a

fateful question for everyone and we all need to mobilize so

that the answer to this question is the correct one."




Thousands protest loyalty oath bill


      Masses gather in Tel Aviv to demonstrate against amendment to Citizenship Act. Demonstrators hold signs reading 'Lieberman, Lieberman, a fascist and a racist,' 'Together we'll protect democracy'


by Yoav Zitun


Published: October 16, 2010,7340,L-3970192,00.html


Protest over the amendment to the Citizenship Act continues

- some 6,000 people on Saturday evening gathered in Tel

Aviv's Gan Meir to protest of the loyalty oath bill, which

was approved by the government on Sunday.


The participants, who marched toward the Sarona compound,

carried signs reading: "Lieberman's voice, Netanyahu's

hands", "Fascism and ethnic cleansing are standing proud"

and "together we'll protect democracy."


Some demonstrators carried Israeli flags and red flags, and

chanted, "Lieberman, Lieberman, a fascist and a racist too".


Leading the procession were Members of Knesset Dov Khenin

and Muhammad Barakeh (Hadash), former MK Mossi Raz (Meretz)

and Peace Now Director-General Yariv Oppenheimer.


"We are here to protest with the entire street against the

dangerous policy of the government, which Labor  ministers

also support," Oppenheimer told Ynet.


"Democracy will prevail and racism will be defeated. There

is no room for (Prime Minister Netanyahu) Bibi and

Lieberman's games in the peace process. Everyone's interest

is for a two-state solution. There will be no (population)

transfer here," added MK Barakeh.


The protest organizers distributed leaflets titled: "The

Israeli government's loyalty oath to the citizens of this

country," which read, "I promise not to discriminate or

deprive anyone because of their descent, sex, nationality,

accent, color, culture, economic status or any other factor.

We demand the members of Knesset to be loyal to us and grant

us the right to live in dignity, security and hope for the future."


Many police officers were dispatched along the procession in

an effort to maintain order. Some demonstrators placed a

sticker on their mouths, which read: "I am being silenced."


The protesters marched to Sarona, in front of the Defense

Ministry, where they held a rally.


Speaking on a park bench in Sarona garden, MK Khenin said,

"The democratic freedom is in grave danger. The nightmare of

a transfer is turning into a realistic plan, and that's why

we stand here today. The foul wave that started with the

Arabs has now reached the Jews who dare think differently.


"Attacks on universities, artists and academicians have also

become part of the internal danger. We stand before a fatal

battle for our future," he added.


Meretz Chairman Chaim Oron also spoke during the rally and

said, "A bad spirit is hovering above this land. The test

that stands before us is complicated and complex. The

Knesset has 11 pending bills that are oozing of racism. We

must stop this wave.


"We cannot run a democratic country as long as there is an

occupation. We call on the government and the Knesset to

freeze all racist laws and continue to freeze the

construction in the settlements," he said.




US Reform Rabbis: Loyalty Oath Undemocratic


by Kobi Nahshoni


October 17, 2010,7340,L-3970731,00.html


      American Reform rabbis issue statement condemning

      amendment to Citizenship Law, saying 'oxymoronic

      law' will strengthen Israel's enemies. 'This

      legislation greatly diminishes Israel's Jewish

      character,' they say


US Reform rabbis issued a statement Sunday condemning the

loyalty oath bill, an amendment to Israel's Citizenship Law

that requires all new non-Jewish immigrants to pledge

allegiance to a Jewish democratic state.


The Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR), which

authored the statement, warned that forcing Arab citizens to

take a loyalty oath will strengthen Israel's enemies and

harm the State's security.


CCAR claimed that the oath, proposed by Foreign Minister

Avigdor Lieberman  of Yisrael Beiteinu  and supported by

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, creates "one law for Jews

and another law for non-Jews." The amendment was approved in

the Knesset on October 10.


"It would turn Israel into the very kind of country which

historically Jews themselves have rightly cursed for their

unequal treatment of non-Christians and non-Muslims," CCAR stated.


According to CCAR, which represents nearly 2,000 Reform

rabbis, the loyalty oath denies non-Jewish citizens the

political rights and the freedom of conscience guaranteed by

Israel's Declaration of Independence. The organization

quoted the declaration promising full and equal citizenship

to Arab Israelis, and asserted that the loyalty oath goes

against this provision.


"Our deep conviction that Israel is and must remain both

Jewish and democratic is precisely what compels us to oppose

this oxymoronic law," CCAR stated. "For in requiring non-

Jewish citizens to pledge loyalty to Israel as a Jewish and

democratic state, this legislation greatly diminishes

Israel's Jewish character and compromises its democratic



The organization was especially outraged that the loyalty

oath might send a message that co-existence between Jews,

Muslims and Christians in a Jewish state is impossible.


"More than symbolic loyalty statements, Israel needs its

non-Jewish citizens as partners in peace, equally invested

in the future of the state," CCAR said.


Moreover, the Reform leaders wrote that the loyalty oath

defies the Torah, which commands the Jewish people not to

oppress others living amongst it.


"If this legislation comes to the floor of the Knesset," the

statement concluded, "we implore all those who themselves

would be loyal to Israel's democratic and Jewish character

to oppose and vote down once and for all this un-Jewish and

un-democratic legislation."



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