Ferguson & Israel? Netanyahu Calls for Stripping Palestinian-Israelis of Citizenship

By Juan Cole

On Sunday Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said he was looking into whether Israel could strip citizenship from those who speak out against the continued statelessness of the Palestinians. (There are millions of stateless Palestinians outside Israel.

Netanyahu began his political career as a far-right Likud politician calling for the forced deportation of the 20% of the Israeli population that is of Palestinian heritage. He said Sunday,

“Israel is a nation of law. We will not tolerate disturbances and rioting. We will act against those who throw stones, block roads and call for the establishment of a Palestinian state in place of the State of Israel. Whoever does not honor Israeli law will be punished with utmost severity. I will instruct the Interior Minister to evaluate revoking the citizenship of those who call for the destruction of the State of Israel.”

Netanyahu’s remarks were made in the context of Palestinian-Israeli demonstrations in Kafr Kanna inside Israel, over a Ferguson, Mo., sort of incident. Police shot dead a 22 year old man whom they accuse of menacing them (videotape does not support the police story).

So this would be as though at the height of the Ferguson controversy, US leaders had threatened African-Americans with being declared stateless and being deported if they did not fall silent.

Netanyahu’s close colleague, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, has proposed administering loyalty tests to Palestinian-Israelis and stripping of their citizenship anyone who declined.

The step of denaturalizing people is a very unfortunate throwback to the arbitrary policies of fascist and communist regimes of the 1930s. Franco stripped the Spanish leftists of their citizenship when he won the civil war. The Soviets stripped the White Russians of their citizenship. The Nazis denaturalized many groups, including German Jews. Arguably, taking their citizenship rights was what made it possible for the Nazis to carry out the Holocaust.

Stripping citizenship is forbidden by the International Declaration of Human Rights and other UN instruments and treaties.

There is an increasing move to take away citizenship rights. Dissidents have been punished in this way in Bahrain and Kuwait. But now Britain has joined them, and Canada may as well. The Israelis, if they take this weighty step will be on the same page as the King of Bahrain and the Emir of Kuwait, not to mention some pretty unsavory dictators of the interwar period in the 20th century.

It is Palestinian statelessness that is causing trouble in the Mideast to begin with. More stateless Palestinians won’t help resolve the problems.

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Related video:

PressTV: “Clashes between Israeli forces, Palestinians continue in kafr kanna”

18 Responses

  1. “The Nazis denaturalized many groups, including German Jews. Arguably, taking their citizenship rights was what made it possible for the Nazis to carry out the Holocaust.”

    Perhaps you could expand on this point? Jews were a tiny minority in Germany (less than 1%). The Holocaust took place in Poland, where the Germans killed essentially the entire population of Jews, close to 3 million, in 1942, in the Baltics, and in regions of the Soviet Union. These actions took place in wartime conditions, were aided and abetted by the German Army, and had little to do with the niceties of citizenship status.

    • Well firstly, they got away with stripping Jews of citizenship before the war. That might have been their test of how far they could go as they expanded the Reich. Hitler was worried about making too many enemies too fast, and a genuine global backlash against his war on Jews might have made him hesitate on the mechanics of the Holocaust (i.e., essential trade with the remaining neutral states).

  2. An article posted on dailykos.com on this topic. It ends with

    “Unless an immediate shift occurs, such as a dramatic, diplomatic breakthrough leading to an end of the occupation or a shift in the way law enforcement treats minority residents in Israel, unrest is likely to grow in East Jerusalem, Kfar Kanna and Israel. Unfortunately, with inciting statements by public security officials embracing extra-judicial killings and Israeli politicians (including Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu) stating that Israel will never give up military control of the West Bank, the prospects of political leadership easing tensions is unlikely.

    It is entirely possible that unrest and instability will spread dramatically throughout Israel and the West Bank, creating a crisis the White House will no longer be able to address with vanilla statements and inaction.

    By then, it will be too late to quell what should have ended long ago”

    The title is “Ferguson Just Happened Again”

    link to dailykos.com

  3. “But now Britain has joined them, and Canada may as well.”
    Unlike Israel’s proposal to remove the Palestinian’s birthright citizenship, I’m assuming Britain is only talking about foreign born residents that have acquired citizenship through naturalisation.

  4. “Israel is a nation of law.”

    What preposterous rubbish. For openers Israel’s governing right-wing has been violating international law with impunity for decades thanks to its protection from the equally lawless political courtesans in Washington bought at auctions by the Israel Lobby.

    Then there is the factor that the law is not necessarily synonymous with justice, a term that seems to translate in Hebrew as vengeance.

  5. “Stripping citizenship is forbidden by the International Declaration of Human Rights and other UN instruments and treaties.”

    Correct… but as Israel repeatedly demonstrates, it more often than not sees itself as above the laws that apply to others. American aiding and abetting has encouraged Israel in this and other types of outlaw behaviour.

    But really proposed stripping of citizenship isn’t terribly surprising in a nation infected with xenophobia, racism and rabid right-wing nationalism.

  6. Using a favorite term of Israeli pols, blind US support for Israel has made it an existential threat to the US. Israel is headed toward a cliff of its own making with throttle fully depressed, with the US as passenger.

      • To the contrary, the US got itself into its Israel entanglement through politics that included politicians pandering to the Israel lobby.

      • Because Israel built its policies on racist memes that Americans essentially accept – we would do the same to blacks and Latinos if it was the only way to hold onto our goodies. So Israel had nothing to lose by making its minority more violent.

  7. Isn’t Israel to be tried for war crimes and crimes against humanity, for their brutality towards Palestine? I am sure I read, there was a petition that had gone around the globe? Many requested Harper be tried too. Harper encouraged Israel to make war on Palestine and had a support rally for Israel, right here in Canada. Harper also refused to have, Palestinian children to be bought to Canada, to be treated for their horrific war wounds.

    • Isn’t Israel to be tried for war crimes and crimes against humanity,…?”

      Not as while the Israel lobbies in the US, Canada and Europe continue to wield so much power.

    • Is Harper a Christian zionist? He behaves like one certainly. Canada used to be sympathetic to the Palestinians. You know, the ones who are being oppressed.

  8. Read the research published by B’Tselem to get a glimpse on how Israeli “law” is applied in the case of Palestinians. A Jew from Brooklyn can make ayala to Israel and the next day walk down the hill from his illegal settlement and nearly club an 80 year old Arab woman (picking olives) to death with an ax handle and never face criminal prosecution.

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