The Nation-State Law

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In this week’s SemioBytes episode, Terry and I discuss the Nation-State Law that Israel passed in July 2018. 

Below you will find an embed of this post’s episode aired on Anchor and following it my response to the episode. I encourage you to subscribe to the blogs and podcast individually or sign up for emails to your inbox.

When it comes to politics and Israel, I must stress the issue of looking at credible sources for news. JPost and Haaretz may have their slants, but they are infinitely more accurate than European and American news sources. To learn more about this law, I recommend the article Haaretz penned.

The fact that the world is still here and Israel is no longer being grilled about this is a statement in and of itself. Sure, Israel is still in the news. When isn’t the country?

Did the Nation-State Law change much? No, it did not. In fact, hardly anything is different. Most of what exists in the law was already law, and the rest is simply symbolic. That’s a great place to apply semiotics, almost like the front door was opened just for our conversation alone.

What is the symbolism? What is the angst? Why does Israel matter? To ask these questions, honestly, is really too much to accomplish in a blog post. Maybe an epic essay or dicey dissertation… Here’s my nutshell:

  • Israel is symbolic
    • Symbolism to Jews: independence, freedom…July 4th for those of Jewish descent.
    • Symbolism to Christians: end times, apocalyptic stuff. Messiah’s coming soon, baby!
    • Symbolism to Arabs: depends on who you ask. Arab Israelis have a different view than Arabs in Gaza or neighboring countries.
    • Symbolism to America: it’s our baby project.
    • Symbolism to the rest of the world: this guy doesn’t play by the “rules.”
  • Israel is declaring the right to self-determination.
    • This seems logical.
    • People are in a huff but ask yourselves: why does every other country get to decide its Capitol? Where’s the equity here?
    • Everyone has a different narrative about the Middle East.
  • Israel is mis-represented.
    • As I’ve said, not much is different or “suddenly official.”
    • The news cycle will report one Gazan fatality of a terrorist but neglect the acres of crops burned by torched kites.

What people need to remember is that the Middle East is not like the rest of the world, especially Israel. They have a Prime Minister and a President, so they’re not completely democratic.