After living in Nazareth, Israel for more than a dozen years, British journalist Jonathan Cook decided to apply for Israeli citizenship. Because he is not Jewish, it took several years and several letters from his lawyers, but he finally suceeded. In this illuminating OFIP webinar, Cook explained how despite its claims to be “Jewish and democratic”, in practice Israel discriminates against its non Jewish citizens (most of whom are Palestinians) in a myriad of practical, frustrating and sometimes hidden, ways. Watch the webinar….
The exchange of rockets between Gaza and Israel in May 2021 in which over 200 people, almost all of them Palestinians were killed, overshadowed the large demonstrations by Palestinian citizens of Israel all over Israel. Haifa, Lod, Nazareth, Jaffa among others. All put down violently by Israeli police.
Why are the Palestinian citizens of Israel also unhappy? We are repeatedly told they have “equal rights” to those of Jewish Israeli citizens. So what are they complaining about?
The answer lies in the very nature of Israel as a “Jewish State” – something that was made explicit two years ago by the adoption of the “Nation State” law. Few Canadians understand what Israel means by a “Jewish State”.
Jonathan Cook does understand. Very well, He is a British journalist who has been living in Israel for over twenty years. He is married to a Palestinian citizen of Israel (i.e. not Jewish), and publishes a regular blog called “the View from Nazareth.”
As non-Jews, he and his family face many obstacles, so he decided to apply to become an Israeli citizen. After a legal battle, he now holds Israeli citizenship. But he is still not equal to Jewish Israelis.
In this OFIP webinar, Peter Larson and Grafton Ross, OFIP Vice-Chair and head of research, interview Jonathan using his own struggle to get Israeli citizenship to better understand what Israel means when it defines itself as a “Jewish State”. It means a lot more than just a state where there are a lot of Jews.
Israel’s two citizenship laws
I have had several occasions to bring many Canadians to meet Jonathan Cook in Nazareth. His presentations are always clear and to the point. Here is a link to a 19 minute long presentation he gave to a group of us on one of the many peculiar characteristics of the Jewish State – it has TWO DIFFERENT citizenship laws – one for Jews and another for non Jews, designed to allow Jews in and keep others out.
For Canadians who assume that a state that claims to be democratic would automatically mean equality for all its citizens, Israel’s discriminatory practices are unfathomable. They would be comparable to Canada saying that our “Charter of Rights and Freedoms” only apply to “white” Canadians, or perhaps only to “English speaking Canadians”. But those Israeli discriminatory practices have gone unnoticed by most Canadians. It is time that that changed.
Canada Talks Israel Palestine (CTIP) is the weekly newsletter of Peter Larson, Chair of the Ottawa Forum on Israel/Palestine (OFIP). It aims to promote a serious discussion in Canada about Canada’s response to the complicated and emotional Israel/Palestine issue with a focus on the truth, clear analysis and human rights for all. Readers with different points of view are invited to make comment.
Want to learn more about us? Go to http://www.ottawaforumip.org