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Present Absentees: Jonathan Cook

Panel: A state of all its citizens?

April 30, 2019 at 5:09 pm

Address by Jonathan Cook at MEMO’s ‘Present Absentees: Palestinian Citizens of Israel & the Nation-State Law’ conference held in London on April 27, 2019.

A British journalist, Jonathan Cook has been based in Nazareth since 2001.

He is a regular contributor to Middle East Eye, Al Jazeera and the National, as well as many online publications. He is a former winner of the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His books are ‘Disappearing Palestine’, ‘Israel and the Clash of Civilisations’ and ‘Blood and Religion’.

Panel: A state of all its citizens?

The passing of the Nation-State Law has rekindled debates over Israel’s claim to be “the only democracy in the Middle East”. Now legally defined as a Jewish State, the use of terms such as theocracy and ethnocracy must be reconsidered, prompting the question: Is Israel really a state of all its citizens?Further, by institutionalising racial differentiation between Israeli citizens, the Nation-State Law bears the marks of apartheid, literally defined as “separateness” or segregation. This impacts not only Palestinian citizens of Israel, but also other minorities within Israel including the Druze, Mizrahi Jewish and Christian communities. Together representing a quarter of Israel’s population, these minorities could use their united opposition on the Nation-State Law as a chance to foster cooperation and inter-community relations.