Zionism: Quest for legitimacy

Israeli communist Moshé Machover examines the significance of Zionist claims that Israel is the ‘nation-state of the Jewish people’

The strategy of Israel’s leadership towards the ‘peace process’ is patently designed to prevent the supposed outcome of that process: a two-state ‘solution’, with a sovereign Palestinian Arab statelet ‘alongside Israel’.

On the ground, the actions of all Israeli governments since 1967 speak for themselves: they have persistently initiated and promoted Israeli colonisation of Palestinian lands, seizing and devouring chunk after chunk of the territory vital for any viable Palestinian state. In the negotiating chamber, presided over by its American senior partner, Israel’s tactics and manoeuvres have been quite transparent, revealing the strategy behind them: dragging the process out interminably, periodically upping the ante by stipulating new preconditions that the Palestinians were required to concede before the talks could resume. If the Palestinian side - represented by the grotesquely misnamed Palestinian Authority - rejected the new condition, Israel broke off the talks, blaming the Palestinians’ ‘intransigence’, which ‘proved’ that Israel has no-one to negotiate with. But if the PA humbly accepted the new condition, Israel found some pretext to suspend the process. Typically, the pretext was some bloody and globally publicised atrocity committed by Palestinians, following a series of Israeli actions - such as ‘targeted’ assassinations of Palestinian activists and their families and neighbours - carefully calibrated to provoke revenge, but pass under the radar of the ever-indulgent western media. It worked every time.

And so the charade went on intermittently for over two decades. In April 2014 it collapsed once again; or, as US secretary of state John Kerry put it onomatopoeically: it went “poof”. This time the ‘peace process’ is not merely deadlocked, but seriously dead, like that famous Norwegian Blue parrot. In any case, by now there is precious little land left to negotiate about. Untypically for a senior US official, the exasperated Kerry on this occasion put the main blame on Israel. According to The New York Times, he told the Senate foreign relations committee: “the precipitating event … was Israel’s announcement of 700 new housing units for Jewish settlers in east Jerusalem. That came three days after a deadline passed for Israel to release Palestinian prisoners, and it undercut an emerging deal to extend the negotiations … Poof, that was sort of the moment. We find ourselves where we are.”1

Then, at a press conference on July 11 2014, day four of the ‘Protective Edge’ onslaught on Gaza, Netanyahu - speaking only in Hebrew - made his position clear. The Times of Israel reported: “For some, his overall outlook will seem bleak and depressing; for others, savvy and pragmatic. One thing’s for sure: Nobody will ever be able to claim in the future that he didn’t tell us what he really thinks. He made explicitly clear that he could never, ever, countenance a fully sovereign Palestinian state in the West Bank.”2

Risky strategy

This strategy of Israel’s leadership, designed to torpedo the two-state ‘solution’, appears bizarre because it is risky from a Zionist point of view. If the prospect of a Palestinian Arab state is finally extinguished and Israel remains in control of the whole of pre-1948 Palestine, the present presumption, whereby Israel’s post-1967 occupation of Palestinian territories is in principle temporary and provisional, will no longer be sustainable. A de facto single Israeli/Palestinian polity will emerge in that territory as a configuration for the long duration. An officially discriminatory regime, denying the Palestinian Arab inhabitants of the West Bank and Gaza Strip basic civil and political rights in that polity, would be increasingly hard to maintain. But granting such rights would put an end to Jewish hegemony, negating the very aim of the Zionist project.

Israel’s leaders are, of course, aware of this dilemma, and they have long been making plans for forestalling the ‘ethnic peril’ of being outnumbered by Arabs in an expanded Israel. These plans envisage new waves of ethnic cleansing, so as to secure a ‘safe’ Jewish majority in the entire territory.3 A version of such a scheme, the Sharon plan, was described in 2002 by the eminent Israeli military historian, Martin van Creveld.4 Netanyahu himself is on record advocating something along these lines as long ago as 1989.5 Indeed, from a Zionist viewpoint, major ethnic cleansing of Palestinian Arabs is the only acceptable long-term alternative to the two-state ‘solution’.

However, relying on this alternative is a high-risk strategy. It can only be implemented under certain local, regional and global conditions. First, mass deportation of the targeted Palestinian population requires a pretext, such as a state of insurrection that can be branded as widespread ‘terrorism’. Second, a stampede of Palestinians from the West Bank across the river Jordan - as the Sharon plan envisages - would cause extreme destabilisation to the Jordanian state. The present Hashemite regime shelters under American wings. So ethnic cleansing in the West Bank will either have to find some way of overcoming US objections, or occur in a situation in which the Hashemite regime is already seriously destabilised or overthrown by local or regional forces. Such a conjuncture is by no means impossible; but it is clearly not a dead cert. Israel’s leaders must have very strong motives for betting on this eventuality.

In this article I propose to show that opposition to any sovereign Palestinian Arab state, however puny, west of the river Jordan - and hence rejection of the two-state ‘solution’ - is by no means a position confined to the rightwing Zionist camp, let alone to this or that pugnacious individual Zionist leader. It is, on the contrary, shared by all mainstream Zionist parties: that is, by every party that has ever led an Israeli government. Moreover, this position is deep-seated in Zionist ideology, as it concerns the legitimation sought by Zionism for its state. I will also show that what is inaccurately reported as Israel’s demand to be recognised as ‘a Jewish state’ is likewise rooted in its quest for legitimation and self-justification.


Israel’s problem of legitimacy is unique and very real; it causes acute anxiety and insecurity to its Zionist leadership - feelings that diffuse and permeate through the majority of its population.6

To understand this problem, let us compare Israel to other settler states of the same general type: where the indigenous people were displaced and excluded - rather than being exploited as a source of labour-power and thus subsumed in the settlers’ political economy. The settler states of the US and Australia were - like Israel - established on the ruins of indigenous societies and on lands violently robbed from them. For decent members of these settler societies this may now be a matter of wistful admission, even shame; it motivates moves for just treatment of the surviving indigenous people, for responding to their demands for compensation and atonement for the historical iniquity. But none of this is felt as an existential threat to the US or Australia as currently constituted, because it is a matter of historical iniquity that can no longer be properly redressed, let alone reversed. The settlers are an overwhelming majority, and the indigenous people have been reduced to remnants, struggling for equal civil rights and striving to preserve and develop vestiges of their culture - within the dominant matrix of the settlers’ polity and culture.

But let us conduct a thought experiment. Imagine that the indigenous dispossessed population of North America were at present still as numerous as the settler nation of the US. Imagine further that this population, with its deep sense of grievance, constitutes a single, modern national entity, rather than a large number of diverse pre-capitalist peoples, speaking different languages and often warring among themselves (as was historically the case). Imagine finally that this indigenous national community was itself part of a larger nation, sharing its language and culture, and inhabiting countries that border on the United States and almost surround it. The very idea that the indigenous nation may try to retrieve at least part of its land and exercise national self-determination upon it would no doubt induce in the settler nation profound anxiety about the legitimacy of its own state, a feeling of insecurity that would manifest itself as extreme aggressiveness. Acts of resistance by the dispossessed would be branded as ‘terrorism’ and mercilessly suppressed.

This imaginary scenario is a fictionalised version of Israel’s reality. Israel - armed with the latest weapons - is facing in the 21st century a situation not dissimilar to that of the United States in the 19th, when it was in the process of fulfilling its ‘manifest destiny’: ethnically cleansing the land and colonising it. But Israel, despite its overwhelming military superiority, is at a serious disadvantage compared to that of the 19th century US (or Australia), for two reasons, both of which have been alluded to above. First, the national cohesiveness and modernity of the indigenous Palestinian Arabs and their relationship with the entire Arab nation. The second is numerical: by the middle of the 19th century, the settlers already significantly outnumbered the indigenous people in North America, and to a lesser degree in Australia. But in both North America and Australia the trend was unmistakable, due to mass immigration, which was largely unhindered and even encouraged, at least as far as Europeans were concerned. In Israel, due to the religious-ethnic restrictiveness of Zionism, only Jews (and their non-Jewish immediate relatives) are accepted. By now, all major reserves of potential mass Jewish immigration to Israel are pretty much exhausted. So Zionist colonisation is stuck with an exceptional situation of rough numerical equality between settlers and indigenous populations, both crystallised as discrete and distinct nations. By the way, this gives the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which is essentially colonial, a misleading surface appearance of a symmetric dispute between two nations.

By other means …

This existential anxiety and insecure legitimacy gives rise to Israel’s resolute opposition, shared by all mainstream Zionist parties, to Palestinian Arab sovereignty over any piece of land between the river Jordan and the Mediterranean Sea.

In order to demonstrate that this is a long-established position, which could and should have been known to all concerned before the fake ‘peace process’ got going, let me quote from an article comrade Emmanuel Farjoun and I co-authored in August 1976.

The minimal demand, which even the most moderate current in the [Palestine Liberation Organisation] cannot give up (so long as it exists as an independent actor), is the establishment of a sovereign Palestinian state in the occupied territories, which would exist for an entire historical period alongside the Zionist state of Israel.

The Americans for their own part could accept this demand in order to tranquilise the national ferment. From a purely American viewpoint, as from that of the moderate current in the PLO, a compromise that includes the establishment of a sovereign Palestinian state under US protection would be acceptable. But in practice such a compromise is precluded by the resolute Zionist opposition and the special position of Israel in the American set-up in the region.

The decisive majority of the Zionist leadership, both in the government7and in the rightwing opposition, is resolutely opposed, as a matter of fundamental principle, to the establishment of any kind of independent Palestinian state.

First, the Zionist legitimation for the existence of the state of Israel as an exclusive Jewish state has always been entirely based not on the right to self-determination of the Jews who live in this country, but on the alleged “historical right” of all Jews around the world over the whole of the “Land of Israel”. From this viewpoint, recognition of the existence in Palestine of another people, the Palestinian Arab people, that has a legitimate claim in it would undermine Zionism’s legitimation and self-justification.

Second, the Zionist leadership indeed takes into account the eventuality that within the framework of a settlement Israel would be obliged to withdraw also from parts of its conquests west of the Jordan river. But from a Zionist viewpoint any withdrawal from any part whatsoever of “the historical Land of Israel”, especially west of the Jordan, is - in principle - temporary and contingent on transitory conditions. From this viewpoint, Israel must reserve the ability and right to reconquer these territories, if that becomes politically possible or militarily necessary. But in international politics there is a huge difference between conquering part of another state and conquering the whole of a ‘third state’ [ie, a Palestinian state between Israel and Jordan]. The world would be much more likely to accept, under certain conditions, an Israeli reconquest of part of Jordan (or of Greater Syria) than the total erasure of a sovereign Palestinian state. The establishment of such a state would therefore impose a severe constraint on Israel’s political and military strategy.

Third, the Zionist leadership is worried that the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, however small, may be the starting point of a historical process whereby that state would expand step by step at Israel’s expense. The Zionists in fact know from their own experience all about a process of this kind: at first they agreed to the establishment of a small Jewish state within the borders recommended [in 1937] by the Peel Commission, and later within the borders of the [UN] partition plan of 1947, but they expanded the borders further and further, step by step.8

Let me elaborate on the worry just mentioned, whereby the Zionist leaders project onto their Palestinian counterparts a mirror image of their own long-term strategy (they are going to do to us what we have done to them …).

The Palestine Royal Commission, headed by Lord Peel, was appointed by the British government in 1936 to investigate the causes of ‘unrest’ - in fact an Arab uprising, including a six-month-long general strike - in mandatory Palestine. The commission concluded that the mandate was no longer workable and recommended partitioning Palestine into two states: a Jewish state comprising the western coastal strip and the Galilee, and an Arab state on the rest of Palestine, the latter to be reunited with Trans-Jordan (the present kingdom of Jordan). Although the area proposed for the Jewish state was larger than that already colonised, it fell far short of Zionist ambitions. Nevertheless, the Zionist leadership, headed by David Ben-Gurion, accepted the proposed deal. In a letter (dated October 5 1937) to his teenage son, Amos, Ben-Gurion explains his position.

Of course I don’t like the partition of the country. But the country that they [the Peel Commission] are partitioning is not in our actual possession; it is in the possession of the Arabs and the English. What is in our actual possession is a small percentage, less than what they are proposing for a Jewish state. And if I were an Arab my feelings would have been badly hurt. But in this partition we will get more than what we already have - true, much less than we deserve and desire. The question is: would we obtain more without partition? If things were to remain as they are, would this satisfy our feelings? What we want is not that the land remain whole and unitary. What we want is that the whole and unitary land be Jewish. A whole Eretz Yisrael would be no source of satisfaction for me - if it were Arab.

From our standpoint, the present situation is deadly poison. We want the situation to change. But how can this change come about? How can this country become ours?

And the decisive question is: Does the establishment of a Jewish state [in only part of Palestine] advance or retard the conversion of this country into a Jewish country?

My assumption is - which is why I am a fervent proponent of a state, even though it is now linked to partition - that a Jewish state on only part of the land is not the end, but the beginning

We shall admit into the state all the Jews we can; we firmly believe that we can admit more than two millions. We shall build a multi-sector Jewish economy - agricultural, industrial and maritime. We shall organise a superb defence force, a first-rate army - I have no doubt our army will be among the best in the world - and then I am confident that it will not be beyond us to settle in the remaining parts of the country, either by mutual agreement and understanding with our Arab neighbours or by other means.9

No to self-determination

In our article quoted above, Farjoun and I mention another point worth elaborating. The only grounds of general principle on which a sovereign Palestinian Arab state in any part of ‘Eretz Yisrael’ can be legitimised is the right of national self-determination, according to which a national group may - if it so wishes - form its own sovereign state on a territory in which it constitutes a clear majority. But if it is admitted that the Palestinian Arabs have this right now, it raises an immediate question: when did they acquire it? The only possible answer is that it is an inherent right, which they possessed, in principle, at the beginning of Zionist colonisation, or at the very least right after World War I, when the principle of national self-determination became generally recognised in international relations. But this would cast serious doubt on the legitimacy of Zionist colonisation, and of the state of Israel.

This reasoning (combined with the projection worry) was pointed out by Moshe Dayan in 1975:

Fundamentally a Palestinian state is an antithesis of the state of Israel … The basic and naked truth is that there is no fundamental difference between the relation of the Arabs of Nablus [in the West Bank] to Nablus and that of the Arabs of Jaffa [in Israel] to Jaffa … And if today we set out on this road and say that the Palestinians are entitled to their own state because they are natives of the same country and have the same rights, then it will not end with the West Bank. The West Bank together with the Gaza Strip do not amount to a state … The establishment of such a Palestinian state would lay a cornerstone to something else … Either the state of Israel - or a Palestinian state.10

This resolute rejection of a Palestinian Arab state, as a matter of Zionist principle, can hardly be clearer. That was Dayan in December 1975. Above I have quoted Netanyahu’s equally adamant rejection some 39 years later (July 2014). And in between we have Yitzhak Rabin saying the same thing. On October 5 1995 (one month before he was assassinated) prime minister Rabin brought the Oslo interim agreement to Israel’s parliament, the knesset, for ratification. In this, his last knesset speech he said:

We view the permanent solution in the framework of State of Israel which will include most of the area of the Land of Israel as it was under the rule of the British mandate, and alongside it a Palestinian entity which will be a home to most of the Palestinian residents living in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

We would like this to be an entity which is less than a state, and which will independently run the lives of the Palestinians under its authority. The borders of the State of Israel, during the permanent solution, will be beyond the lines which existed before the Six-Day War. We will not return to the June 4 1967 lines.11

No Palestinian sovereignty, no national self-determination for the Palestinian Arabs: Dayan 1975, Rabin 1995, Netanyahu 2014. Surely, it is a firm, persisting consensus of mainstream Zionist parties. This does not mean that it cannot be overcome. But that would require massive international - primarily American - pressure, which at present does not seem to be forthcoming.

What is perhaps even less clearly understood by most observers, including those on the left, is that mainstream Zionism does not claim the right of national self-determination for the Hebrew (aka Israeli-Jewish) nation, and does not attempt to legitimise Israel on such a claim. Indeed, Zionist ideology - flying in the face of reality - denies that the Hebrew community constitutes a distinct nation, but insists that it is part of the worldwide Jewish ‘nation’ of Zionist myth.12 Demanding the right of self-determination for a Hebrew nation, simply on the grounds that it has come into existence, would (at least implicitly) admit that the Palestinian Arabs possess that right a fortiori, and would negate the Zionist claim over the whole of ‘Eretz Yisrael’.

Thus the assertion that a Hebrew nation exists, and the right of national self-determination should apply to it under certain conditions, is not a concession to Zionism, but, on the contrary, a challenge to it.

‘Not in our name!’

In this connection I would like to elucidate what is inaccurately reported as Israel’s demand to be officially recognised as ‘a Jewish state’.

Israel is commonly described as ‘a Jewish state’. This has a range of meanings. At its most innocuous, it may simply be a neutral, descriptive term, denoting the fact that the majority of its population is Jewish or of Jewish background, without implying any special privileges for members of this majority. At the other end of the range, the meaning of ‘Jewish state’ is very nocuous indeed. It denotes the fact that non-Jewish, particularly Arab, residents and even citizens of Israel are underprivileged in a myriad of ways, some enshrined in laws, and many more in regulations and practices ranging from petty insult to severe discrimination and legalised robbery of their lands.13

But what Israel wants to legislate formally is a self-definition not simply as a ‘Jewish state’, but as ‘the nation-state of the Jewish people’ (which I will abbreviate as NSJP).14 And it demands to be recognised as such internationally - in particular by the Palestinian Authority. Thus, Ron Prossor, Israel’s envoy to the UN, repeatedly asserts that “peace must be built on a clear recognition that Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people”.15 The two definitions differ fundamentally in their meaning, intention and implications. The ‘Jewish state’ formula in its malign meaning and actual application in practice is about individual rights. The NSJP formula is about national rights, which are not individual, but collective.

This all-important distinction requires some explanation. Zionist colonisation deprives the indigenous people, the Palestinian Arabs, of two distinct kinds of right. Like all colonisations of modern times, it discriminates against the indigenous people in matters of individual human and civil rights. Like all colonisations, Zionism is racist in its actual practice. But it also deprives the Palestinian Arab people of their right to national self-determination. Put briefly, Zionism practises national oppression. However, national rights do not pertain to individuals; they are collective rights. Therefore Zionist oppression of the Palestinian Arab people cannot be reduced to racism or racist practices: this leaves out the important national dimension.16

Many critics of Zionism are - no doubt unintentionally - guilty of this reductionism. They concentrate solely on denouncing Zionism as a racist apartheid system. This one-sidedness has a superficial propagandist advantage, because racism is nowadays officially regarded as a Bad Thing even by the dominant ideology of our rulers. But at bottom it may be due to the widespread tendency to use South African apartheid as a model and analogue of Israel’s Zionist regime. In fact, as I have pointed out on many occasions, the two systems are fundamentally dissimilar because of their very different political economies. And it so happens that one of the salient differences is that the issue of national self-determination of the indigenous people did not arise in the South African liberation struggle.17 That struggle had an obvious class dimension, as well as raising democratic demands for equality in individual civil and human rights. But it was not a national liberation struggle in the usual sense of this term. Obviously in this respect - as in many other important ones - the analogy between apartheid South Africa and Israel is highly misleading.

So Israel’s insistence on recognition as the NSJP has been attacked as ‘racist’. This is an instance of the reductionism I referred to above, and is misdirected. The import and intention of the NSJP formula does not concern (in any direct way) the individual rights of Israel’s citizens. Its aim is not to introduce new forms of racist discrimination or justify existing ones. Indeed, Israel’s demand to be recognised as the NSJP is usually coupled with a solemn promise that this will not imply discrimination against non-Jews in matters of individual rights. Of course, it would be naive to believe that Israel will cease discriminating against its Palestinian subjects. Severe racist practices will certainly continue - but not specifically as an implication of the NSJP formula.

It may perhaps come as a surprise to some readers that the NSJP formula has long been enshrined in Israeli law, albeit in a negative formulation. Israel has no written constitution; instead, it has a number of ‘basic laws’ that have privileged quasi-constitutional status and are intended to be incorporated in a written constitution if and when it is enacted. One of these is Basic law: the knesset, passed in 1958, which deals, among other matters, with the way the knesset gets elected. The ninth amendment to this basic law, adopted in 1985, includes a section (7A) that bans certain kinds of party lists from running for election.18 Here is the official English translation:

Prevention of participation of candidates’ list

7A. A candidates’ list shall not participate in elections to the knesset if its objects or actions, expressly or by implication, include one of the following:

(1) negation of the existence of the State of Israel as the state of the Jewish people;

(2) negation of the democratic character of the state;

(3) incitement to racism.19

Note that here too the NSJP formula is - quite typically - coupled with a pious rejection of racism.

If the NSJP claim is not about the individual rights of Israeli citizens, what is it about? Very simply, it is about legitimation. It attempts to legitimise the Zionist state not as the political expression of its own citizens, or even that of its Hebrew majority, but as the nation-state of a fictitious, worldwide Jewish ‘nation’. It implies that the nation state of Jews anywhere is not determined by their place of birth, or long residence, or citizenship, or personal choice, but willy-nilly is the Zionist state, which claims to represent all Jews and act on their behalf, whether they like it or not.

Moreover, it implicitly asserts that this nation of Zionist myth has a claim over the whole of ‘Eretz Yisrael’ that trumps any right to self-determination of the indigenous Palestinian Arabs, based as it is on mere long-established presence over many generations. Because the claim of the worldwide Jewish ‘nation’ is in the end based on divine promise, which takes precedence over any sublunary rights.

This legitimation by divine promise is the Zionist analogue of the 19th century US doctrine of ‘manifest destiny’. Who can overrule the Almighty? Who dare defy the verdict of destiny?

Another great advantage of the NSJP claim is that, although in the entire area currently under Israeli rule Arabs will soon be a majority (if they are not so already), the number of Jews around the world is much greater. So no need to worry about the demographic peril.

Alas, this fantastic attempt at self-legitimation suffers from some weaknesses - not least among them is a growing revulsion among diaspora Jews, especially younger ones (under 30s), at Israel’s atrocities and the shame of being represented by such a state, as Israeli propaganda claims (and the anti-Semitic anti-Zionism of fools echoes). A growing number of Jews are coming out as individuals and in groups to protest: ‘Not in our name!’


1. M Landler, ‘Mideast frustration, the sequel’ The New York Times April 8 2014.

2. ‘Netanyahu finally speaks his mind’ Times of Israel July 13 2014 (emphasis in the original).

3. See my article, ‘Netanyahu’s war wishWeekly Worker February 9 2012. See also I Pappe, ‘Israel’s incremental genocide in the Gaza ghetto” The Electronic Intifada July 13 2014.

4. M van Creveld, ‘Sharon’s plan is to drive Palestinians across the Jordan’ The Sunday Telegraph April 28 2002.

5. Jerusalem Post November 19 1989, quoted in my article, ‘Netanyahu’s war wish’ op cit.

6. Googling the single word ‘delegitimise’ produces nearly half a million results; a very high proportion of these are about delegitimisation of Israel!

7. The Israeli government of the time was a coalition led by the Labour Alignment, with Yitzhak Rabin as prime minister.

8. E Farjoun and M Machover, ‘The national movement in the Arab East at the end of the road’ (Hebrew) Matzpen No80, February 1977. There is an English translation in M Machover Israelis and Palestinians: conflict and resolution Chicago 2012, chapter 6.

9. My translation from facsimile in the Ben-Gurion archive. All emphases except the last two are in the original. Other translations are available online: eg, www.palestineremembered.com/download/B-G%20LetterTranslation.pdf. Reading this very revealing letter in full is highly recommended.

10. Ha’aretz December 12 1975, quoted in E Farjoun and M Machover op cit.

11. www.mfa.gov.il/mfa/mfa-archive/1995/pages/pm%20rabin%20in%20knesset-%20ratification%20of%20interim%20agree.aspx (my emphasis).

12. For a fuller discussion see my article, ‘Zionist myths: Hebrew versus Jewish identity’ Weekly Worker May 16 2013.

13. See S Jiryis The Arabs in Israel New York 1977; SC Molavi Stateless citizenship: the Palestinian-Arab citizens of Israel Chicago 2014.

14. See, for example, ‘Netanyahu pushes to define Israel as nation state of Jewish people only’ The Guardian May 5 2014; ‘The nation state of the Jewish people’ Jerusalem Post September 8 2014.

15. See, for example, www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2013/sc10985.doc.htm; www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2014/sc11373.doc.htm.

16. For detailed discussion of these two distinct forms of oppression, see chapter 16 of Israelis and Palestinians: ‘Zionism, national oppression and racism’ (op cit).

17. The Inkatha Freedom Party, led by Mangosuthu Buthelezi, did raise at one point a demand of this kind on behalf of the Zulu nation; but this was generally regarded as a divisive manoeuvre, serving the apartheid regime.

18. Elections to the knesset are by the list system of proportional representation: each voter votes for a list of candidates presented by a given party, rather than for an individual candidate.

19. www.knesset.gov.il/laws/special/eng/basic2_eng.htm. “Negation” here is a slight mistranslation of the original Hebrew word, which in the present context means denial or rejection.