Adalah to UN Committee: Proclaim that the Jewish Nation-State Basic Law is a racist law, violates the International Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and must be repealed

In an oral statement before the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), in advance of its review of Israel, Adalah representative, Attorney Soheir Asaad detailed how the Jewish Nation-State Basic Law legislated by Israeli Knesset in July 2018, falls within the bounds of absolute prohibitions under the Apartheid Convention, and clearly constitutes a breach of Israel's obligations under the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD).

The Committee will begin its review of Israel’s compliance with the ICERD , on Wednesday 4 December 2019 (15:00 Geneva) and will continue on Thursday 5 December 2019 at 13:00. Israel ratified the ICERD in 1991, and thus is a State Party to this treaty. The Israeli delegation is expected to reply to a wide-range of questions and concerns regarding possible violations of ICERD in the fields of land, demography/citizenship rights, racial incitement and more, predominantly against Palestinian citizens of Israel, including the Bedouin, and Palestinians living under Occupation. The Committee issued a “List of Themes” in October 2019, raising concerns about numerous issues, including this Basic Law. 


Other UN human rights bodies and officials have also already spoken out against Israel's Jewish Nation-State Basic Law.


In November 2018, four UN Special Rapporteurs expressed "deep concern" that the Jewish Nation-State Law is "discriminatory in nature and in practice against non-Jewish citizens and other minorities and does not apply the principle of equality between citizens, which is one of the key principles for democratic political systems".


In October 2019, in the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (UN CESCR) in its concluding observations on Israel called upon the state to amend or cancel the Jewish Nation-State Law in order to comply with the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights that it also ratified in 1991.


Adalah filed a petition to the Israeli Supreme Court in August 2018 on behalf of the Palestinian leadership in Israel against the Basic Law. The Supreme Court will hold a first hearing on the case before an expanded panel of 11 justices on 3 May 2020. Adalah argues in its petition that this Basic Law falls within the bounds of absolute prohibitions under international law, and is therefore illegitimate as a colonial law with characteristics of apartheid.


CLICK HERE to read Adalah’s full statement to CERD, 2 December 2019


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