Some matters cannot be resolved through legislation. We cannot be forced to dance or show regret, be merry or mourn. At most, we can be given a day off in order to do that. Hence, to begin with, the so-called “Nakba Law” cannot be legislated, and this bill will not turn into law even if it passes a thousand readings.
What exactly will the police do, detain people who wear black clothes on Independence Day? This bill makes pretenses of creating government permits for joy and sadness, thereby constituting a sort of “thought terror.”
In this respect, the bill joins a series of infamous laws such as Czar Nicholas’ ban on the use of the word “progress,” or Lenin’s order calling for purging all the “parasites and insects” from Russia, meaning homeowners, teachers, choir members, priests, and pacifists.
This bill is also unconstitutional. Israel’s’ Basic Law: Human Dignity and Freedom limits the Knesset’s legislation power. It stipulates that human rights can only be undermined “through a law that is commensurate with the State of Israel’s values, that is intended for a proper objective, and that is not disproportional.” Judges in the Bank Mizrahi case ruled that the courts have the power to annul such laws.
To this day, the courts annulled a very small number of laws having to do with peripheral human rights issues. For the time being, the courts have shied away from annulling the citizenship law banning family reunification, because they accepted the security argument regarding the danger inherent in the entry of Palestinians into the country.
The Nakba bill, should it be passed, will not enjoy the benefit of the doubt. It undermines the hard core of
fundamental rights: Freedom of expression, freedom of thought, freedom of conscience, a person’s self-determination, and one’s freedom to celebrate and decide how to do so. Should this law pass, our democracy would lose its soul.
Banning expressions of mourning or sorrow is a surrealistic and contemptible move. It teaches us something about the current government. When the Palestinians agree to something, it’s suspicious; when they protest, it’s afraid. One wonders what it will do when they ridicule us.