Germany proposes bill to enforce pro-Israel sentiment as citizenship requirement

Germany proposes bill to enforce pro-Israel sentiment as citizenship requirement
3 min read
17 November, 2023
The German Bundestag will discuss draft laws to ‘combat antisemitism' by enforcing residents to support "Israel’s right to exist".
Germany is set to propose draft laws to criminalise Israel criticism [Getty]

Germany's parliament is set to discuss draft laws that condition obtaining citizenship on recognising Israel’s right to exist.

The Bundestag said that an 80-minute debate on Friday would discuss two draft laws that propose imposing strict penalties for alleged antisemitic expression and making citizenship conditional on recognising Israel and keeping clear of criticising it.

The laws, submitted by the Christian Democratic Party’s (CDU) parliamentary group, were described as a bid to combat antisemitism amid rising tension in the country following Israel’s war on Gaza.

The bills would criminalise the denial of "the right of the State of Israel to exist", as well as German citizenship to be "made dependent on a commitment to Israel's right to exist".

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However, critics have noted the potential impacts of the bills, particularly as it would affect those seeking residency, asylum, and naturalisation as the laws would "provide better protection against the further entrenchment and spread of antisemitism that has 'immigrated from abroad'."

"Germany has completely lost it. This is fascism," writer Farah-Silvana Kanaan posted on X. 

"The state that recently ethnically cleansed an entire people based on their identity will make it law to be committed to protecting a state where the offspring of the people Germany genocided, are committing their own genocide and ethnically cleansing an entire people based on their ethnicity," journalist Ahmad Eldin added

The move came after Germany faced accusations from Muslim countries over silencing pro-Palestinian voices and failing to do enough to tackle Islamophobia in a United Nations review of its human rights record. 

German authorities have cracked down on pro-Palestinian groups since 7 October and refused to authorise many pro-Palestinian protests, alleging that the curbs were there to stop public disorder and prevent public antisemitism. 

Supporters of Palestinians say they feel blocked from publicly expressing support or concern for people in the besieged enclave of Gaza without risking arrest, their jobs or immigration status.

"The rise of attacks on mosques and NSU (neo-Nazi) murders does demonstrate deep systemic failures of the German police and justice system in tackling such crimes," said Turkey's envoy to the UN in Geneva.

"We recommend Germany to take serious steps against Islamophobic and xenophobic attacks and practices, including a comprehensive review of its police force and justice system, as well as additional protection for mosques," the envoy added.