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Yoaz Hendel
In praise of Nakba Law
Op-ed: Notion of cutting budgets of anti-Israel bodies should be shared by both rightists, leftists
Theater of the absurd: A sovereign state seeks to cut the budgets of institutions and bodies that reject its basic values, yet some people around here characterize this as an undemocratic step.

 

The debate over the Nakba Law passed in the Knesset last week, as opposed to the impression certain groups in the Left try to create, is not fundamental at all. The voices of protest merely show us that Israel is home to elected officials and delusional groups whose entire worldview is based on a conditioned reflex. They fire off harsh words without actual thought; hotheads under the guise of enlightened liberalism.

 

There is no other way to explain how the Nakba Law became automatically associated with the Right. Can one imagine that the leftist camp in this country doesn’t mind funding anti-Israel bodies with taxpayers’ money? Does the Left not care that for years now, my and your money promotes texts and activities that end up deepening the rift and sense of alienation between Jews and Arabs?

 

The answer is no. The Left I know – that is, the sane, Zionist Left that constitutes a significant part of society here – truly cares. It simply remains silent because others are speaking on its behalf.

 

I have a dream

Forget about the political debate over the bill. What we have here is a gulf between the needs of democracy and the ignorance, or even maliciousness, of its rivals. If there is anything ridiculous about this law, it’s the fact that the State of Israel is even forced to legislate such laws so that it would be permitted not to fund those who work against it.

 

Put aside the regular rhetoric. Despite the loud arguments, the Nakba Law does not aim to minimize criticism in Israel. Even in a democracy fighting for its legitimacy, it’s clear to everyone that one is allowed to voice “harmful views.” What we have here is a logical question: Why should a democratic state finance its own critics and those who harm it?

 

So one can continue sending petitions and warning the masses about a supposed era of fascism, McCarthyism and thought police, or look at the matter at hand honestly.

 

And just like Martin Luther King, I too have a dream: To see a day where the “champions of democracy” and “men of letters” start doubting their own conditioned reflex; to see them asking themselves whether a state that seeks a healthy democracy also needs to set some boundaries. I know that it happens to me too on occasion, the doubts.

 

 

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