During a parliamentary meeting of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) on July 24, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called Israel the “most Zionist, fascist, and racist state in the world.” Referring to the recent passage by Israel’s Knesset of the “Basic Law: Israel as the Nation State of the Jewish People,” Erdogan attacked the Israeli government’s view as “no different from Hitler’s obsession with the Aryan race.”
In fact, there is nothing “fascist” or “racist” in Israel’s new law. On the contrary, as David Hazony noted in the Forward:
“This law has been in the works at least since the early 2000s, a time when two major forces arose that threatened the Zionist project as it was historically understood. The first was the rise of ‘post-Zionism,’ a small but passionate intellectual-political movement that explicitly repudiated the idea of a ‘Jewish state’ and sought to transform the country into a “state of all its citizens” by stripping it of any connection to Jewish history, peoplehood, or symbolism.
“The second, more important factor was the ‘constitutional revolution’ led by then-Supreme Court President Aharon Barak, which recognized earlier Basic Laws as having constitutional status, and which culminated in the passing of two new Basic Laws (Basic Law Human Dignity and Liberty, and Basic Law: Freedom of Employment) that established the core rights of Israeli citizens, Jewish or not.
“These basic laws were not at all a bad thing. The fact is, Israel is both a Jewish state and a liberal democracy, and basic freedoms must be protected for all.”