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July 17, 2016 8:12 pm

New Report Refutes NGO’s List of Israeli Laws That ‘Discriminate’ Against Arab Citizens; Accuses Group of Delegitimizing Jewish State to Negate Its Existence

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Institute for Zionist Strategies. Photo: Facebook.

Institute for Zionist Strategies. Photo: Facebook.

A key method of the BDS movement is to delegitimize Israel by portraying it as an apartheid state, which discriminates against its Arab citizens through its legal system, the project manager of an Israeli think tank told The Algemeiner on Sunday.

Adi Arbel from the Institute for Zionist Strategies (IZS) was explaining the impetus behind his research organization’s newly released report refuting a list of more than 100 “discriminatory laws,” compiled by the Israeli NGO, Adalah-the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, and posted on its website.

The 62-page Hebrew report, titled “Adalah vs. the State of Israel,” did not take ideological issue with the NGO, said Arbel. “One can argue about the validity or wisdom of all kinds of laws in Israel,” he told The Algemeiner. “But twisting what they actually contain for political purposes is inexcusable, as it presents a warped picture of the Jewish state, which is then used by its enemies to demonize it.”

Two examples cited in the report are the Law and Administration Ordinance, which defines the country’s official days of rest, and the Law for Using the Hebrew Date, both of which are included in Adalah’s list. According to IZS, both “explicitly exclude institutions and authorities that serve non-Jewish populations for whom the law provides for definitions and procedures appropriate for their specific needs.”

Another example is the Israeli flag, which Adalah claims is a discriminatory symbol, due to its depiction of a Jewish Star of David. IZS says that, applied elsewhere, this claim does not stand up to scrutiny. “This reasoning would mean that any country, the flag of which bears a cross or crescent discriminates against its non-Christian or non-Muslim minorities,” it wrote.

The report also highlights “a number of legislative amendments to the Criminal Procedure Law and the Prisons Ordinance aimed at assisting the security forces in preventing terror attacks,” which “adversely affect only those clearly suspected of engaging in terror activity without distinguishing between Jews and Arabs.”

According to IZS, these amendments are bemoaned by Adalah as discriminatory against Arabs. Yet, IZS wrote, such an attitude is itself “woefully discriminatory because it presumes that Arab citizens of Israel are generally hostile and prone to terror activities.”

Another “absurdity in Adalah’s approach,” the report states, can be seen in its designation of the Trading with the Enemy Act, which evolved from British Mandatory law, as discriminatory to Israeli Arabs, because – as it claims — “the countries declared as such (Iran, Syria and Lebanon) are Arab and/or Muslim states.”

Adalah considers Israeli criminal law to be discriminatory against Arabs, as well, wrote IZS. “According to [its] logic, [I]f members of the Arab sector of the population are the main criminal violators of a certain law, then that particular law perforce is deemed racist. This could apply to laws against theft of property, against sex crimes or against driving through red lights.”

IZS summarized its report, in part, as follows:

All nation states promote their respective identities while the democratic nation states, such as Israel, also preserve the civil and human rights of all citizens, including its minorities. The report demonstrates how Adalah promotes patently false claims and manipulates its presentation of facts, from incorrect quotations to biased interpretation.

A comparison to western countries, mainly to those in Europe and to the U.S.A, revealed that contrary to Adalah’s claim, Israel’s laws conform to advanced western standards.

Adalah’s claims that the State of Israel is a country that systematically discriminates against minority citizens is baseless and made in bad faith. A fair analysis leads to the conclusion that in many respects, Israel is more protective of minority rights than a large number of western countries. Moreover, an in-depth examination of Adalah’s “discriminatory” laws in the context of internationally accepted practices leads to the important conclusion that not every preference constitutes discrimination. Indeed, most of the laws cited in Adalah’s database do not discriminate against Israeli Arabs at all but rather, assist in promoting Israel as a more Jewish and democratic country actively striving for the welfare of all its citizens.

Adalah’s claims are trumpeted by members of the BDS movement seeking to promote boycotts, divestment and the imposition of sanctions on the State of Israel (and not just the settlements in Judea and Samaria) with the clear objective of undermining and even negating its existence as the nation state of the Jewish people.

According to a profile of Adalah created by NGO Monitor — an Israel-based research organization that produces and distributes reports on international and local NGO networks and documents distortions of human rights and international law in the context of the Arab-Israeli conflict — “…Adalah received NIS 12,719,902 from foreign governmental bodies between the years 2012-2015.”

Adalah (“justice” in Arabic) defines itself as “an independent human rights organization and legal center, established in November 1996. Its self-described mission is “to promote and defend the rights of Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel, 1.2 million people, or 20% of the population, as well as Palestinians living in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT)… [It] seeks to achieve equal individual and collective rights for Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel and to defend against gross human rights violations against Palestinian residents of the OPT.”

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  • Arthur Cohn

    This article is written very very opaquely!

  • Ben Tzur

    The report analyzing Adalah falsifications and distortions will do little to counter the group if it is not made available to non-Hebrew-speaking readers. It will consequently have no global impact at all, and will be largely wasted effort. I would suggest that the Institute for Zionist Strategies might consider the strategy of putting out their reports in English translation, at the very least, and preferably also in French, German, Arabic and other commonly spoken languages.

  • nat cheiman

    Adalah, is devoid of any intellect

  • robert davis

    As long as 3 million arabs will squat Judea/Samaria + 1 million gaza + 1 million Galelee Israel has no chance to ever be left in peace reason why no other nation in the world accepts to keep a minority of 50% ie 5 millions on a total of 13 millions (8 m.+ 5 m.. Do we want to keep arguing for another century? The only SOLUTION is expelling them and they will stop their lies and rhetorics when they understand Palestine is not for them.

  • God, the same here in India:the Muslim minority of 14% population which grows at an alarming rate, is not satisfied with the Constitutional rights and privileges which in fact exceed that of the Hindu majority. They also clamor constantly for obliterating the national symbols of India’s cultural identity! After all, democracy being a game of numbers, and the Jews constitute 80 per cent of the Israeli population, the Muslim minority should meet the requirements fairness, an understanding of the facts and circumstances and some humility in the face of their minority status!

  • Excellent. Adalah’s claims are a pack of lies, from a pack of liars.

  • Lia

    Like mush Arabic ‘justice’ Adalah has no sense of justice, of morality or of ethics.

  • stevenl

    As long as the West supports antisemitism and condones Islamism, the west will be a LOSER!
    The issue is a lack of ETHICS from the antisemites and Islamists.

  • manley kiefer

    Whether these laws are discriminatory or not they are the laws of the land. If they do not favor you, you are free to leave the country (providing you are not under arrest).

  • Yaakov

    He makes a number of valid points. For example, to say that laws making some kinds of hunting illegal are discriminatory against Arabs because most of the hunters, including illegal hunters, are Arabs would be ridiculous.

    On the other hand, in countries in which shechita is problematic because slaughter without stunning runs contrary to some animal welfare laws, Jews are frequently heard claiming discrimination.

    Reasonableness must prevail, and ultimately you do need to get input from the group claiming discrimination.

    We have to admit that, laws aside, Arab communities in Israel have sometimes gotten the short end of the stick in terms of support for their infrastructure and in terms of services received.

    Fortunately, there are some good people, like President Rivlin, who do care about the Arab sector.