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Bibi the Traitor

In which the PM is an innocent bystander to the criminalization of dissent

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Prime Minister Netanyahu.(Sebastian Scheiner - Pool/Getty Images)

Last week, the Knesset passed a law, sponsored by Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu party, that would allow courts to revoke the citizenship of Israelis convicted of treason. “Any normal state would have legislated this bill years ago,” said MK David Rotem (whose name is associated with the notorious bill concerning conversions), shortly after it passed. “There is no citizenship without loyalty.” I propose the courts apply the new law immediately against an obvious offender: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The new law’s fine print defines treason according to sections of the Israeli criminal code that, as Haaretz’s Zvi Barel quickly noticed, include not only treason and espionage, but also far wider, and vaguer, actions: One section, for example, defines as treason “If a person commits an act liable to remove any area from the sovereignty of the State … then he is liable to the death penalty or to life imprisonment.” Section 97, alas, does not make any allowances for areas removed from Israeli sovereignty under the auspices of diplomatic negotiations—which means that Netanyahu, who ceded territory during his first term as prime minister, might want to instruct his lawyers to come up with a criminal defense for much more than the extreme corruption of which he is now accused.

In fact, there are ways around prosecution for the prime minister. But such a cloudy legal situation should worry even those who consider the new law to be commonsensical. Like other bits of political grandstanding recently orchestrated by the Israeli right—the Rotem bill, the loyalty oath, the Nakba bill, etc.—this one, too, imperils Israeli democracy by opening enormous holes without contributing anything of substance to safeguard the lives and well-being of Israelis. With a law already on the books condemning traitors to death or life imprisonment, revoking their citizenship is a laughably mild measure—unless it is seen as a future political tool against Israeli Arabs, leftists, and other undesirables.

Knesset Passes Law Revoking Citizenship for Treason [JPost]

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Steve Stein says:

Oh I’m liking this not at all. It’ll make the whole “who is a Jew” debate seem small. But I guess it’ll “solve” the demographic problem – absorb the West Bank, and declare all the Palestinians non-citizens. Voila! (Ugh.)

the law may be grandstanding as you say, but doesn’t Nettanyahu, as a Knesset member at the time of such land concessions, have parliamentary immunity for all acts as a government official?

BH in Iowa says:

Liel, do you really need someone to explain the difference beween dissent and treason?

Dorothy Wachsstock says:

Not worth dealing with when there are more important things to deal with why Jews in this country are still voting for the Radical socialists on the left when their ancestors ran from those countries and came to this free far.

Jews in this country do not know what it was like when their ancestors came without a dime in their pockets and now make telethons for other countries not for Israel.

God help us if one day, a Pres. like the one we have now, goes to war with Israel. What will those wealthy big mouth Jews in Hollywood do then?

Hide and say..we should have helped Israel before while Obama threatened them? Too late.

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Bibi the Traitor

In which the PM is an innocent bystander to the criminalization of dissent

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