Constitutionalizing Sophisticated Racism: Israel’s Proposed Nationality Law

This essay analyzes the political motivations behind the Jewish Nation-State Bill introduced in the Knesset in November 2014, shedding light on the ascendancy of the Israeli political establishment’s radical right wing. It argues that there were both internal and external factors at work and that it is only by examining these thoroughly that the magnitude of the racist agenda currently being promoted can be grasped. The essay also discusses the proposed legislation’s long history and the implications of this effort to constitutionalize what amounts to majoritarian despotism in present-day Israel.

Amal Jamal is a professor of political science at Tel Aviv University and the head of theWalter Lebach Institute for Jewish-Arab Coexistence through Education. He is the author of, among other books, ArabMinority Nationalism in Israel: The Politics of Indigeneity (New York: Routledge, 2011) and The Arab Public Sphere in Israel: Media Space and Cultural Resistance (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2009).