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Germany to discuss draft laws to make recognition of Israel a condition for citizenship

November 16, 2023 at 6:45 pm

Israel’s President Isaac Herzog gives a speech at the Bundestag, the German lower house of Parliament in Berlin, Germany on September 06, 2022 [Abdulhamid Hoşbaş – Anadolu Agency]

Germany’s Bundestag will discuss, on Friday, two draft laws that propose imposing harsher penalties for alleged anti-Semitic expression and making citizenship conditional on recognising Israel’s right to exist and steering clear of criticising the Occupation State.

According to a document published on the German Bundestag’s website, the federal parliament will “discuss for the first time two draft laws submitted by the CDU/CSU parliamentary group” on changing the criminal code on “combatting anti-Semitism, terror, hatred and incitement” and ending “the residence and preventing the naturalisation of anti-Semitic foreigners”.

The first bill is reportedly a reaction to the operation carried out by Palestinian Resistance group, Hamas, in Israeli-held territory on 7 October, which the Bundestag says “exacerbates the threat level for Jewish citizens in Germany as well. It is intolerable and unacceptable that Hamas terrorism and anti-Semitism are cheered and propagated, that Israel’s right to exist is publicly denied at demonstrations and that the destruction of the State of Israel is called for.”

The governmental body also reiterated Germany’s belief that “the protection of Jewish life is a state responsibility and non-negotiable. Jews should be able to feel safe in Germany. Furthermore, such acts damaged community cohesion and threatened the stability of society as a whole. The state is therefore particularly called upon to act here”.

The draft will also ensure that “the protection gaps in the event of a breach of the peace are to be closed and the current penalty range is to be increased and the criminal liability of … appealing for sympathy is to be restored”. It further stated that there should be an increase in “the range of penalties for sedition”, which it defined as “punishment for denying the right to exist of the State of Israel and for calling for the abolition of the State of Israel”.

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Regarding the second bill, the draft advocates that changes should be made to Germany’s residence, asylum and nationality law in order to “provide better protection against the further entrenchment and spread of anti-Semitism that has ‘immigrated’ from abroad”.

The parliamentary group reportedly aims to introduce into the country’s residence law the requirement that not only will an anti-Semitic crime result in expulsion of the alleged perpetrator, but also results in a conviction leading to “a prison sentence of at least six months and to the denial or loss of humanitarian protection in Germany”.

Under that second draft bill, the acquisition of German citizenship by refugees, asylum seekers or migrants will “be dependent on a commitment to Israel’s right to exist and a declaration that the naturalisation applicant has not pursued or pursued any endeavours directed against the existence of the State of Israel.”

As a consequence, if there are “actual, unshakable indications of an anti-Semitic attitude on the part of the applicant”, according to the bill’s goal, “naturalisation according to their will should be expressly excluded.” There would also reportedly be a new offence introduced into nationality law in which “people with at least one other nationality lose their German nationality if they are convicted of an anti-Semitic crime and given a prison sentence of at least one year.”

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