Why All the Outrage over Israel’s Nation-State Law?

The controversial new law has been reviled as “an assassination of democracy” and a subversion of the founding principles of the Jewish state. It’s neither.

Israeli Druze and their supporters protesting the country’s new nation-state law in Tel Aviv. JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images.

Israeli Druze and their supporters protesting the country’s new nation-state law in Tel Aviv. JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images.

Essay
Oct. 8 2018
About the authors

Moshe Koppel is a member of the department of computer science at Bar-Ilan University and chairman of the Kohelet Policy Forum in Jerusalem.

Eugene Kontorovich is a professor at George Mason University Antonin Scalia School of Law, director of its Center for International Law in the Middle East, and a scholar at the Kohelet Policy Forum in Jerusalem.


After working its way through the Knesset for years, Israel’s nation-state law, whose official title is Basic Law: Israel as the Nation-State of the Jewish People, finally passed on July 19 by a margin of 62 to 55 votes. Almost immediately, it was denounced in the strongest possible terms, and has continued to be denounced, by the political opposition at home, by the Palestinian Authority, and by a wide variety of observers abroad.

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More about: Israel & Zionism, Israeli politics, Nation-State Law, Politics & Current Affairs