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Learn about naturalization, dual citizenship, and proving or renouncing your citizenship.
Become a U.S. citizen through naturalization
Naturalization is the process of voluntarily becoming a United States citizen. Learn the steps that lead to U.S. citizenship.
Proving U.S. citizenship
Learn how to prove your U.S. citizenship without a birth certificate or if you were born outside the U.S. to a parent who is a U.S. citizen.
How to get dual citizenship or nationality
Having dual citizenship, also known as dual nationality, means being a citizen of the United States and another country at the same time.
Renounce or lose your citizenship
Renouncing and losing your citizenship both result in no longer being a U.S. citizen. Learn how to voluntarily renounce your citizenship or how you might involuntarily lose it.
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Free Becoming a US Citizen Essay Sample
There are only two ways of obtaining citizenship of the U.S; by naturalization or through birth. Citizenship by birth requires no further action unless if, at the time of birth, the parents were overseas and failed to record the birth as a U.S consulate overseas. Other people may apply to for citizenship by naturalization. This essay describes the processes for naturalization, which is an administrative process governed by the country’s Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Becoming a U.S citizen may require the individual to follow certain general steps including; Finding out their eligibility, completing applications and collecting necessary documents, getting photographed, sending the applications to the Service centre, getting fingerprinted, attending an interview, receiving a decision and finally, taking a citizenship oath.
Check out the requirements for eligibility, which are:
Proof of continuous residence and physical presence in the United States
Be at least eighteen years old, with a permanent resident i.e. through green card
Should be married to and living with a U.S citizen; and living with the same citizen for past three years.
Ability to communicate in English (Read, write and speak), with a good understanding of the history and government f the United State.
Have good moral character.
The person should be attached to the U.S constitution principles with a favourable U.S disposition
Have a willingness to defend the country as well as its constitution.
Completing an application
The applicant should obtain and fill the N400 form, which is an official naturalization application document. The form is difficult while some questions are difficult to comprehend so the applicant must be careful and remain honest.
Together with the application form, the applicant needs to send copies of several documents such as their permanent
Resident card / Alien registration card, color photographs containing the applicant’s name and A-Number, IRS tax returns, and mortgage payment. In addition to these, the applicant must send an application fee of $ 675.00 through a check or money order.
After sending the application together with the documents, the applicant waits for the USCIS to send them a letter, directing them when and where to take their fingerprints
The USCIS sends emails to applicants to notify them of where and when to appear for an interview. For the interview, the applicant should carry their Alien registration card, passport and any re-entry permits they may have. Applicants must answer all questions relating to their background and application then take English and civics tests.
Receiving a decision
Applicants receive N-652 form after their interview. This form provides them with information concerning their interview. Depending on the information the applicant had provided USCIS, the USCIS may deny or grant them their application for citizenship by naturalization.
If USCIS grants the citizenship, applicants must attend a ceremony of taking allegiance oath to the United States o America. During the ceremony, an official slowly reads each section of the oath and asks the applicants to repeat the words. After the ceremony, applicants receive their certificates of naturalization.
In the case where an individual’s parents are all U.S citizens but the birth took place outside the United States, with no recording at a U.S consulate, the individual may need an immigration lawyer to help them obtain citizenship. other situations when an individual may require an immigration lawyer is when they are found to be not of good moral character, application is for adopted children, failed to list for selective services, and if the applicant provided false information to obtain benefits for immigrants.
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Essays on Citizenship
In your citizenship essay, you can explore different aspects of citizenship and how to acquire it. Citizenship essays define citizenship as one of the main concepts that indicate the belonging of a person to a certain state, from this connection arise the mutual rights and obligations of the state and its citizen, their responsibility to each other. Each country independently determines the set of rights and obligations that citizens have to follow, so many essays on citizenship explore or compare citizenship of different countries. Citizenship as social status is given from the moment of birth. Sometimes people change it, choosing another country for permanent residence. Feel free to go through our citizenship essay samples below. Hopefully provided essay samples will give you some ideas to include in your essay!
Immigration Policies and the DREAM Act Immigration policies have been used to define the social and political stability of many countries. In the US, several immigrants are undocumented. Over 1.3 % of the US population are illegal immigrants (Pang et al., 185).The DREAM Act policy introduced in 2001 to cover those...
The Natural Born Citizen Clause Natural Born Citizen Clause is a clause contained in the United States’ constitution requiring anybody aspiring to hold the office president and vice president to fulfill. This clause was intended to protect America from foreign influence (Maskell 2). This clause has been contentious since the USA...
Article II of the U.S constitution states that no individual other than a natural born citizen is eligible to take up the office of the president. The election of 2009 becomes the first presidential election in the history of America where questions regarding the citizenship were raised for both major...
Complexities of Citizenship in America: A Formal Standing or a Lived Experience? The United States of America is comprised of a population of citizens of different skin color, origins, and cultures. The mix is owed to the history of the country tracing back to the New World period, the slave...
The changes in population in the state of Texas are demonstrable by a consideration of documented demographics from census and population estimations provided by the US census bureau. First, the population estimates of 2016 show that the majority of residents in Texas are whites, numbering about 11.8 million. Hispanics are...
In this paper, Leti Vollp seeks to answer the question of identity and citizenship of the Middle-Eastern people. She states that the September 11 attack on the United States brought about the creation of a new stereotype against the people who appear Middle-Eastern, Muslim, or Arab as terrorists and their...
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The institution of marriage has gradually changed in today's culture. A marital partnership has preserved the nuclear family. Marriage always had a specific purpose, whether it was for establishing a person's legal, societal, or financial stability, legalizing their relationship or procreation, expressing their love in public, fulfilling their religious obligations,...
I concur that the Executive Order 13769 was issued with the purpose of providing American citizens with jobs. However, as you noted, it appears to disregard the plight of immigrants and refugees who might have been compelled to flee their home countries. More precisely, it appears to support racial profiling,...
The problems of racial inclusion, exclusion, and segregation are not new to American culture. Racial and ethnic identities were separate and determined naturalization, according to the first constitution, which the people ratified in 1790. Whiteness was a requirement for citizenship in the US; other races, such as the slaves, who...
One of the most urgent problems in the modern social, economic, and political landscape is the situation of undocumented immigrants. Many Americans have been thinking about the rhetoric regarding the influx of undocumented immigrants in the United States. Final screening and the construction of a border wall may reduce the...
The exercise of one's civil rights is a crucial factor in determining how nationalist a citizen will be in the process of creating the federal government. The criminal justice system has made an effort to start a procedure that will allow it to reduce the likelihood of convicts returning to...
The term power has sparked much debate and discussion as a concept that governs daily life in a variety of ways. Various politicians, philosophers, and academics have attempted to debate and develop the definition of the phrase over the years. Regardless matter how power is defined, the common thread is...
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Citizenship can be described as a state of belonging to a particular nationality or country, where one can practice his or her constitutional rights within the country’s jurisdiction. However, citizenship requires more than the sense of belonging to a particular country. It entails several values, roles and responsibilities of a citizen and requires one’s commitment to his or her nationality. This paper will study citizenship and what it means for one to be a good citizen to his or her country. It will also highlight the roles and responsibilities of a citizen in nation-building and what values good citizenship requires.
The main value of citizenship is creating positive impacts towards the development of one’s country. It entails engaging in unified activities with other people of the same nationality in an attempt to create a better society, (Sweet, 2006.) However, explanations on citizenship often take a socio-political course. In simple terms, the value of citizenship is closely attached to both social and political responsibilities, (Isin and Turner, 2002.) There are several social and political values that constitute to good citizenship. Many of these values are however dominated by both social and political virtues.
The first value of good citizenship is one’s concern about the welfare of other people, (Davies, Gregory and Riley, 2002.) This is one general point from which other points can be obtained. In simple terms, a good citizen should observe high standards of morals in social life, (Davies, Gregory and Riley, 2002.) An individual being concerned about others means that one will neither get involved nor advocate for violence in cases when there are two or more parties which seem to differ in ideologies. This value further calls for personal involvement in promoting peace and harmony. It also advocates in active participation in social welfares and organizations that champion for equal rights and equal treatment.
A good citizen should be patriotic in nature. However, the term patriotic may attract other definitions but in this case it is used to mean one’s commitment towards in serving his country. Patriotism is a crucial element of good citizenship, (Davies, Gregory and Riley, 2002.) In many cases, patriotism has been explained as the willingness of one to give up all, including his or her life for the sake of his or her country. However, many logical arguments are not often considered in this case. Instead of one being willing to die for his or her country, it could be prudent if patriotism could be seen as the willingness of one to live in order to offer his or her unlimited contribution in nation building. Some citizens often commit large-scale assaults on foreign nations and see their acts as patriotic acts due to this misconception.
Active participation in socio-political activities is also a value in good citizenship, (Konttinen, 2009.) Though, not all socio-political activities amount to good citizenship. For example, fighting particular groups in an attempt to secure political interest is not a sign of good citizenship. A good example of both social and political activities that can amount to good citizenship is voting. Voting is a constitutional right that enables one’s voice to be heard in electing leaders that will represent the interest of the voter. Voting is another way of creating order in a country whereby one’s participation in the exercise enables the establishment of a body that will ensure the peace is upheld and the state of affairs conducted in an orderly manner. Good citizenship creates can be a driving force behind the quest for justice, a matter that calls for the unity of purpose, (Sweet, 2006.)
The purpose of citizenship in a society varies from different social contexts, (Isin and Turner, 2002.) According to Isin and Turner, (2002), citizenship creates a sense of solidarity in the society. It enables the society to come up with a common goal and work in a unified way towards its realization. In simple terms, it helps the society to have a central focus or a common goal. Secondly, citizenship is important in the society as it gives an individual a sense of belonging. In this way, an individual is capable of feeling secure and accomplished as opposed to the feeling of stateless persons, who do not officially belong to a country and have no one to present their grievances to.
The world is slowly turning into a small village with several events unfolding in the world of technology. The world is no longer a vast spherical ball where movement from the East to the West could take long periods of time. This calls for a world citizenship plan, where all people can work in unity towards achieving common goals. This can be ensured by establishing a sovereign force that can effectively execute this plan, (Sweet, 2006.) It is hard to imagine what will be the impact of a united people committed to a common course of making the world a better place for anyone. Many environmental-friendly achievements can be made if the global population unifies its focus to this matter. However, that is almost impossible in the current setting where several groups have all established their own focus. A global unified focus can only be achieved by global citizenship and therefore, global governments should come up with a unified structure on World citizenship in order to create a better world for the quickly upcoming generations.
In conclusion, citizenship is an aspect that entails a variety of values, roles and responsibilities that are meant to hasten the economic growth of the nation. Its unifying nature should be taken advantage of and establish global citizenship in order to unite the world, considering the fact that many attempts have been made. Global citizenship can be helpful in eradicating major environmental problems by establishing a central focus in dealing with these issues. It will also be helpful in unity the global population and hence create a unity of purpose that can help a lot in pursuing issues of concern.
Davies, I., Gregory, I., & Riley, S. (2002). Good citizenship and educational provision. Routledge.
Konttinen, A. (Ed.). (2009). Civic mind and good citizenship. University of Tampere.
Sweet, M. E. (2006). Cosmopolitanism: World citizenship and the imagination.
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Type of paper: Essay
Topic: Citizenship , Citizens , Country , Election , Immigration , Immigrants , Applying , Laws
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In response to the impending Presidential Election in November this year, the US press has had much to say about citizenship. However this seems to have been directed more towards those who desire to become US citizens, rather than those who already hold this right. A recent story by New America Media, entitled “In Election Year, More Immigrants Applying for US Citizenship” outlined the issue of numerous new immigrants to the country applying to become citizens. What is the meaning of citizenship and is it something more than an inherited right or a rubber stamp on a document? Migrants to any country, especially those who are fleeing from oppression, poverty and war are always keen to be accepted in their new countries as legitimate citizens. And if they are so accepted, are willing to work hard to provide themselves and their children with better opportunities than they had experienced in their mother countries. Citizenship is not merely a validation of one’s rights to live in a country but embodies more than just living in a country and abiding by its laws. With those simple parameters, most people in the world could live as citizens almost anywhere they chose to be. Citizenship implies a deeper bond with the history of a country and an emotional connection to its ethos and an ability and willingness to abide by its laws. and pride in belonging. Many who consider themselves good citizens of the United States adhere to these beliefs, in total denial of what it actually means to be a good citizen. They continue to maintain their right to bear arms, discounting the fact that the intended purpose of the Second Amendment was to ensure the right of citizens to protect themselves, their families and their landholdings, with single shot muskets, and have translocated this amendment to encompass the use of AK47’s by anyone over 15 years of age. Good citizenship, in the true depths of its meaning, aspires for what is best in, and for the country in which they live. Good citizens abide by the laws of the country and vote for their elected leaders when they are required to do so, despite the fact that voting is not compulsory in the United State. But more than that –they love the country into which they were born or accepted and desire, through their actions, to support their leadership to undertake and support the principles of freedom, to which all citizens of a free nation aspire.
Advincula, A. “In Election Year, More Immigrants Applying for U.S. Citizenship.” 13 May 2016. New America Media: Election 2016. <http://newamericamedia.org/2016/05/in-election-year-more-immigrants-applying-for-us-citizenship.php>.
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Becoming a U.S. Citizen
There are only two ways of obtaining citizenship of the USA: by naturalization or through birth. Citizenship by birth requires no further action unless if, at the time of birth, the parents were overseas and failed to record the birth at a U.S. consulate overseas. Other people may apply for citizenship by naturalization. This essay describes the processes for naturalization, which is an administrative process governed by the country’s Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Becoming a U.S. citizen may require the individual to follow certain general steps including: finding out their eligibility, completing applications and collecting necessary documents, getting photographed, sending the applications to the Service centre, getting fingerprinted, attending an interview, receiving a decision and, finally, taking a citizenship oath.
The U.S Citizenship Apply Guide gives an overview on these steps that allows us to describe them in detail.
Check out the requirements for eligibility which are:
Proof of physical presence and continuous residence in the United States
- Be at least eighteen years old, with a permanent residence i.e. through Green Card
- Be married to and live with a U.S. citizen and live with the same citizen for the past three years.
Ability to communicate in English (speak, read and write) with a good understanding of the history and government of the United States.
Have good moral character. The person should be attached to the principles of the constitution of the USA with a favorable U.S. disposition.
Have a willingness to defend the country as well as its constitution.
Complete an application.
The applicant should obtain and fill the N400 form, which is an official naturalization application document.Â The form is difficult while some questions are difficult to comprehend so the applicant must be careful and remain honest.
Together with the application form, the applicant needs to send copies of several documents such as their permanent Resident card / Alien registration card, color photographs containing the applicant’s name and A-Number, IRS tax returns and mortgage payment. In addition to these, the applicant must send an application fee of $ 675.00 through a check or money order.
After sending the application together with the documents, the applicant waits for the USCIS to send them a letter directing when and where to take their fingerprints.
The USCIS sends emails to applicants to notify them of where and when to appear for an interview. For the interview, the applicants should carry their Alien registration card, passport and any re-entry permits they may have. Applicants must answer all questions relating to their background and application; after this they should take English and civics tests.
Receiving a decision.
Applicants receive N-652 form after their interview. This form provides them with information concerning their interview. Depending on the information the applicant had provided USCIS, the USCIS may deny or grant them their application for citizenship by naturalization.
Taking an oath and becoming a citizen.
If USCIS grants the citizenship, applicants must attend a ceremony of taking allegiance oath to the United States of America. During the ceremony, an official slowly reads each section of the oath and asks the applicants to repeat the words. After the ceremony, applicants receive their certificates of naturalization.
In the case where an individual’s parents are all U.S citizens, but the birth took place outside the United States, with no recording at a U.S. consulate, the individual may need an immigration lawyer to help them obtain citizenship. Other situations when individuals may require an immigration lawyer is when they are found to be not of good moral character, failed to list for selective services, application is for adopted children, and if the applicant provided false information to obtain benefits for immigrants.
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How to Write the National Honor Society Essay + Example
National honor society: four pillars and essay, five tips for writing your nhs essay, nhs essay example, time well spent.
What do former first lady Michelle Obama, actor Chadwick Boseman, singer-songwriters Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood, and baseball legend Cal Ripken Jr. have in common? They were all members of the National Honor Society (NHS).
As you apply for membership in this national organization, remember NHS membership is based on meeting criteria in four areas that the NHS calls its four pillars: Scholarship, Service, Leadership, and Character .
The first pillar, scholarship , requires that a student earns a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale or equivalent. Many high schools set a higher GPA bar for their school’s chapter. If you meet your school’s academic requirement, congratulations, you’ve passed the first hurdle.
Now it’s important that you carefully complete the application and write a compelling essay. Most high schools require students to write a 300-500 word essay that showcases their commitment and accomplishments in the other three pillars.
Service refers to the contributions you make to your school and or community on a volunteer basis, without receiving any compensation. For your most significant service activities, be sure to explain why you choose to support certain organizations and why you chose specific roles.
Showcase your leadership in your school and or community while working with or for others. Remember, stating that you are the captain of a team, president of a club, or supervisor of a shift does not prove that you are a leader. A leader makes things happen, sets a good example, and inspires others to give their personal best. Clearly state why you were selected to hold a leadership position and how you effectively lead. There are many successful leadership styles. Communicate your unique brand of leadership.
Character is how you conduct yourself with high standards of honesty, reliability, and respect for others. Many attributes define good character, and they all reflect a personal commitment to ethical and compassionate interactions with others as well as how you treat yourself. Results are only part of the story. How you achieved them is critically important to communicate.
Think about how many NHS applications your school counselor reviews each year. Not every student who completes an application is selected for the honor. So how do you make your essay stand out? Here are five strategies:
1. Make it Personal and Individual
Your application form provides the facts about the scope and range of your involvement and contributions to your communities. Be sure that you write your essay in a way that brings this data to life. A compelling essay enables the reader to feel a strong connection to you. Express your unique values, aspirations, and priorities. State the motivation behind your choices and the trade-offs you’ve made. Be honest about challenges and what you have learned through your mistakes. And be sure the tone of the essay sounds like you and nobody else.
2. Share Your Stories
People love to hear and remember stories, not simply facts and figures. Express themes and points that you want to share by relaying stories that bring these concepts to life. Stories can be poignant, funny, suspenseful, or surprising. Any approach that makes a reader want to continue reading is a great one.
3. Be Humble and Bold
Many students find it hard to express their hard-earned accomplishments without sounding boastful. Proudly stating your achievements without sounding brash is possible and important. Clearly state your motivations, your challenges, your vulnerabilities, and your mistakes to mitigate any concerns.
4. Follow Tried and True Essay Guidelines
Channel all the advice you’ve received over the years about how to write a great essay. Do you have a clear thesis around which you have organized your thoughts? Compelling topic sentences to hook your reader? Strong supporting sentences to back up your reasoning? Have you avoided clichés? Do you vary your sentence structure and word choice? Does the text flow and keep the reader engaged? Last, but not least, have you checked and double-checked your grammar, punctuation, and spelling?
5. Draft, Edit, Edit, Edit, Polish
Writing is an iterative process so give yourself the time necessary to land on the best approach for explaining why you are deserving of the NHS honor. There are many ways to tackle an essay. Try a few to determine which is the most effective. Then, when you determine the best approach and are satisfied with your latest draft, share it with someone whose opinion you value.
Looking for someone to read over your essay? Check out Collegevine’s free essay help ! Our peer review system will help you get feedback from other students so that you can improve your NHS essay and college essays.
While there is not a single template for a strong essay, here is an example of an NHS essay written by an 11th-grade student who was accepted into NHS.
Success is not only about improving yourself, but also about improving life for others. While my GPA shows my commitment to academics, how I spend my time and conduct myself outside of school reveal my commitment to making the world a better place, consistent with the values of the National Honor Society.
For the two years my grandfather lived in a nursing home, each weekend I took my dog EJ to visit him. I witnessed first-hand the healing power of animals as EJ lifted his and the other residents’ spirits. Because of this experience and because monkeys are my favorite animal, when I heard about Helping Hands (HH), the only organization in the world that raises capuchin monkeys to be live-in assistants to people with spinal cord injuries, I reached out to volunteer.
Both in the summer and during the school year, I assist the trainers. Monkeys begin training when they are teenagers. It typically takes three to five years until they are ready to be placed with a person. My first job is to clean the cages of 60 monkeys. (Not my favorite responsibility.) I also prepare meals and construct and distribute dexterity “toys.”
While not glamorous, my work is critical to the success of the initiative. The physical support the monkeys provide is unbelievable. They turn pages of books, scratch itches, pour water, and retrieve dropped items… Most importantly, I have seen the life-changing impact a monkey’s companionship has on a partner, including a college-age student confined to a wheelchair after a spinal cord injury from hockey.
In the spring, summer, and fall I also volunteer at Gaining Ground (GG), a non-profit that grows organic produce to donate to food pantries, shelters, and meal programs. When I volunteered at a local food pantry, it struck me that recipients receive mostly canned and packaged food. I think it is important that people in need receive fresh fruits and vegetables, and I enjoy the physical work of weeding, harvesting, cleaning, and packing produce.
Soon after I began volunteering at GG, my rabbi gave a sermon about the working conditions of tomato farmers in Florida. (It reminded me of Grapes of Wrath, and I couldn’t believe inhumane practices continue.) Her sermon motivated me to support the Coalition of Immokalee Workers by distributing postcards urging Trader Joe’s and Stop & Shop to only buy tomatoes from farms that agree to fair wages and human rights. Both chains have now agreed, showing that a little effort by many people makes a difference.
Last, I believe a story is the best way to explain my “behind-the-scenes” leadership. At the annual nighttime football game, one of my soccer teammates (not someone I hang with) was drunk. When our principal came over to the bleachers, my teammate’s friends fled. Concerned that my teammate would fall and hurt herself, I brought her outside the stadium, called her parents, and waited with her until they came — without worrying about social retribution. Despite getting grounded, she thanked me for my help.
I would be honored to be recognized by NHS for my service, leadership, and character. Thank you for your consideration.
The time you invest in composing an effective NHS essay will help you when you’re ready to write your college essays! Essays are important components of applications to selective colleges. Getting into NHS is also an honor that may boost your application at some schools. Remember, you can estimate your chance for acceptance using Collegevine’s free chancing calculator . This tool will factor in your GPA, test scores, extracurriculars, and more to calculate your odds of admission at hundreds of schools across the country.
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Arizona Legislators Must Testify About Voting Laws, Supreme Court Rules
Two Republican lawmakers had argued that they could not be questioned about their motives for supporting the laws, which require proof of citizenship to vote in federal elections.
By Adam Liptak
Reporting from Washington
The Supreme Court ruled on Monday that two Arizona lawmakers must testify about their reasons for supporting state laws requiring proof of citizenship for voting in federal elections.
The court’s brief order gave no reasons, which is typical when the justices act on emergency applications. No dissents were noted.
The Justice Department, the Democratic National Committee, civil rights groups and others had challenged the state laws, saying they violated federal laws and had been enacted with a discriminatory purpose.
After Arizona’s attorney general, Kris Mayes, a Democrat, declined to defend aspects of the laws, Ben Toma, the speaker of the Arizona House of Representatives, and Warren Petersen, the president of the Arizona Senate, both Republicans, intervened to defend it.
Lawmakers are ordinarily shielded by a legislative privilege from inquiries into their motives for sponsoring or voting for legislation. In September, Judge Susan R. Bolton , of the Federal District Court in Arizona, ruled that a different analysis applied when lawmakers voluntarily injected themselves into a litigation.
“The speaker and president each waived their privilege by intervening to ‘fully defend’ the voting laws and putting their motives at issue,” Judge Bolton wrote , adding that the two legislators could be compelled to testify about their activities.
At first, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit blocked Judge Bolton’s ruling but later lifted its stay, allowing depositions of the men to proceed. The lawmakers then asked the Supreme Court to intervene.
“Unless the court issues an immediate stay,” they told the justices in an emergency application , “the legislative leaders will quickly find themselves between the mythical Scylla and Charybdis: They’ll either need to submit to improper depositions or refuse to do so and expose themselves to potential sanctions and contempt charges. Either choice brings serious consequences that can’t be corrected.”
In response , lawyers for the Democratic National Committee wrote that the lawmakers were trying to have it both ways by arguing that the laws were not the product of discriminatory intent but refusing to be questioned about the matter. That, they wrote, is “wholly foreign to foundational principles of our adversarial judicial system, and to basic fairness.”
Adam Liptak covers the Supreme Court and writes Sidebar, a column on legal developments. A graduate of Yale Law School, he practiced law for 14 years before joining The Times in 2002. More about Adam Liptak
Supreme Court rejects Arizona GOP leaders' effort to avoid deposition in voting rights suit
Arizona legislative leaders will submit to depositions in a lawsuit over two voting rights laws after the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected their application for an emergency stay .
The court released a brief reply to the emergency application, stating "the application for stay presented to Justice (Elena) Kagan and by her referred to the Court is denied."
State Senate President Warren Petersen, R-Gilbert, and Speaker of the House Ben Toma, R-Glendale, both said they would comply. Toma's deposition is scheduled for Nov. 28.
The state's top lawmakers and their lawyers filed a 66-page emergency application for the stay on Nov. 20. They hoped to avoid the depositions of up to seven hours and additional demands for records such as emails with other legislators.
"Unless the Court issues an immediate stay the Legislative Leaders will quickly find themselves between the mythical Scylla and Charybdis: they’ll either need to submit to improper depositions or refuse to do so and expose themselves to potential sanctions and contempt charges," the motion to stay says.
The plaintiffs want to find out if Republican lawmakers created the bills with discriminatory intent.
The U.S. Supreme Court released a brief reply to the emergency application, stating "the application for stay presented to Justice (Elena) Kagan and by her referred to the Court is denied."
Civil rights organizations and the Democratic Party sued the state after former Republican Doug Ducey signed two bills into law last year that sought to stop non-citizens from registering to vote. U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton blocked key provisions of the law from taking effect in a Sept. 14 ruling.
If not for Bolton's ruling, House Bill 2492 would ban federal-only voters from voting by mail and in presidential elections unless they present a birth certificate or other proof of citizenship. Currently, such voters use only a federal registration form that asks them to check a box stating they're eligible to vote. It also would require the state attorney general to investigate cases in which authorities suspect a non-citizen voted or registered to vote. House Bill 2243 demands county elections officials to cancel the registration of voters on the rolls who couldn't prove their citizenship or had moved - or obtained a driver’s license - in a different state.
Arizona Freedom Caucus Chair Jake Hoffman, R-Queen Creek, sponsored both bills. The conservative Free Enterprise Club, which helped write HB 2492, wrote in an essay on its website last year that HB 2492 could "help stop illegals from voting."
The plaintiffs include Mi Familia Vota, Living United for Change in Arizona, the national and state Democratic Party, and others from seven consolidated lawsuits. Represented by the law firm of Washington D.C. Democratic Party lawyer Marc Elias and other lawyers, the plaintiffs claim in their federal complaint that the laws are unconstitutional and would harm people of color more than white people.
Petersen and Toma moved to intervene in the case in April, arguing that state Attorney General Kris Mayes "may not fully defend the constitutionality" of the two laws or "adequately represent the Speaker and President’s interests."
Mayes' defense of the laws rejected a primary aim of HB 2492: to challenge a 2013 U.S. Supreme Court ruling striking down a voter-approved 2004 ballot measure that sought to tighten proof-of-citizenship requirements for voters.
But her office has defended against some of the lawsuit's allegations, including the claim that the laws discriminate by race or national origin. The plaintiffs won't be able to prove that, state lawyer Joshua Whitaker said in an Oct. 19 trial brief.
Although Mayes does not represent Petersen and Tomas as intervenor defendants, Whitaker wrote in the brief that "plaintiffs may cite statements by individual legislators, but such statements must be considered in context and, in any event, 'may not be probative of the intent of the legislature as a whole.'"
Closing arguments in the trial are scheduled for Dec. 19.
Reach the reporter at [email protected] or 480-276-3237. Follow him on X @raystern .
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A Narrowing Citizenship Regime
Liberalism and colonialism, citizenship as a mobility regime, emergency rule and citizenship, institutionalizing racial hierarchy, the authoritarian shift, revoking citizenship, annexation by organizational means, a two-part coup, the citizenship regime change behind israel’s rule-of-law crisis.
Yael Berda is an associate professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Hebrew University.
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Yael Berda; The Citizenship Regime Change Behind Israel’s Rule-of-Law Crisis. Current History 1 December 2023; 122 (848): 342–347. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/curh.2023.122.848.342
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This article delineates the relations between the judicial overhaul launched by Israel’s right-wing government in 2023 and the mechanisms of Israel’s control over Palestinians, demonstrating that they are two parts of a regime change. The essay traces a series of changes in Israel’s citizenship regime the past decade: the enactment of an anti-terrorism law and a nation-state law that defined the exclusive right of Jews to self-determination in Israel; the domestic application of surveillance and control practices developed in the occupied territories; and finally legislation allowing the revocation of Palestinians’ citizenship and the de facto annexation of the occupied territories.
As hundreds of thousands of protesters filled the streets of Israel in early 2023, rallying under the slogan “No to the Judicial Overhaul” and calling for curbing executive power and preserving the separation of powers and the rule of law, Israeli society underwent a crash course in civics. Fighter pilots and senior reserve officers in the Israeli military threatened to refuse to serve, which would have been disobedience on an unprecedented scale, if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s new government went through with its plans to change the social contract with its citizens in an attempt to gain control of the courts and unrestrained executive power.
Yet the first part of the regime change or coup had already occurred, altering the citizenship system in Israel and Palestine. In February 2023, while the protest movement looked the other way, the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, passed a law enabling the revocation of the citizenship or residency of anyone indicted for anti-terrorism offenses who received monetary compensation for their activities from the Palestinian Authority. The vast majority of the Knesset, including most members of the opposition, voted for the measure.
The regime changes in Israel formally began with the enactment of a new anti-terrorism law in 2016 and the so-called nation-state law in 2018. These measures have facilitated the unification of the colonial regime in the occupied territories conquered in 1967 with the regime within Israel’s borders established in 1948. This process has created what political scientist Ian Lustick recently called a “one-state reality.”
The unification of regimes involves blurring the distinction between the political status of Palestinian citizens of Israel and that of Palestinian subjects in the occupied territories. The last stage of the change in the citizenship regime continued in 2023 with an executive decision to revoke the residency of a political activist from East Jerusalem. During the COVID-19 pandemic, moreover, Netanyahu’s previous government promulgated dozens of emergency regulations, imposing on Israeli citizens practices of surveillance and mobility restrictions that previously had been applied exclusively to Palestinians in the occupied territories.
Thus, the struggle to protect the liberal citizenship of Jews in Israel has occurred simultaneously with the citizenship of Palestinians being made formally revocable. This exemplifies how colonial Israel has coexisted with liberal Israel through the structure of the rule of law, which worked consistently to separate the two regimes. Yet the current government’s attack on what can be called the liberal rule of law and the separation of powers, particularly the status and authority of the Supreme Court (as the high court of justice, with the power to strike down legislation), renders the separation between the two regimes—the colonial and the liberal—impossible to maintain.
The content of citizenship lies at the intersection of these two parts of the judicial overhaul. One part brings an end to the façade of liberal citizenship in Israel; Palestinian citizens of Israel had served as living proof of its existence. The other part is designed to dismantle the liberal rule of law in order to solidify a regime of annexation and apartheid across Israel/Palestine. The attack on the independence of the judiciary and its subordination to the executive is a means of buttressing the first part of the regime change, the revocation of citizenship.
Citizenship is a useful lens through which to view such regime changes, because it teaches us about the relations between a political regime and its subjects. This essay traces how the transnational shift toward authoritarianism is taking form in Israel/Palestine, influenced by both the colonial legacy and the continuing colonial control over Palestinians through the legal regime of emergency regulations. It focuses on the triangle of citizenship, the annexation of the occupied territories (the one-state reality), and the end of the liberal rule of law brought about by the judicial overhaul.
This article was written before October 7, 2023, when Hamas killed some 1,100 Israeli civilians and captured 230 hostages, and the ensuing Israeli military campaign that has cost the lives of thousands of Palestinian civilians. Amid these events, the threat of revocation of the citizenship of Palestinian citizens of Israel is spreading to cases of those identifying with Palestinians in Gaza online, now perceived as support for terrorism. Attempts at authoritarian regime change are still underway, including repression of protests and an emergency directive enabling police to shoot protesters blocking roads.
Colonial Israel has coexisted with liberal Israel through the structure of the rule of law .
To understand the effects of the regime coup on citizenship, it is necessary to distinguish between liberal citizenship based on a European model and postcolonial citizenship. For minorities, the latter type of citizenship is not a path to national liberation, but rather is mainly a form of protection from deportation and refugee status.
Another important aspect of citizenship in Israel is that since 1949, the courts and the offices of legal advisers to the government have been the arenas in which the citizenship of Palestinians is negotiated and validated. In this way, legal institutions were and remain the major apparatus maintaining the separation between the Palestinian citizens of Israel and Palestinians living in the West Bank, Gaza, and the diaspora.
Sociologist Charles Tilly defined citizenship as a set of claims citizens make on the agents of the state. In the case of Palestinian citizens of Israel, the courts were a site of claims-making that enabled negotiation on the content, depth, and scope of their citizenship. The authoritarian assault on the Supreme Court is related to its role as an arena of claims for these citizens, who could not negotiate in parliament or in government agencies.
Over the past seven years, the changes in the citizenship regime accelerated. The regime coup began under a previous Netanyahu government with the passage of the anti-terrorism law, which incorporated the British colonial Defense (Emergency) Regulations. This was soon followed by the passage of the nation-state law, whose full title is Basic Law: Israel as the Nation-State of the Jewish People. It enshrines an exclusive Jewish right to self-determination in the state of Israel.
This series of actions culminated in 2023 with the passage of the legislation allowing revocation of citizenship. Subsequently, the defense minister designated six Palestinian human rights and civil society groups as terrorist organizations. This was soon followed by the revocation of the residency of a Palestinian inhabitant of East Jerusalem.
Postcolonial citizenship needed to define rights and political membership that did not exist in the racialized system of imperial citizenship, which created a “rule of law” of racial hierarchies. In my book Colonial Bureaucracy and Contemporary Citizenship , I argue that for minorities in postcolonial countries such as Israel and India, citizenship was a mobility regime.
The reason for this difference was that in the colony, there were only subjects under a legal emergency regime that suspended the rights of the entire population. For minority groups, postcolonial citizenship was not a binary process of inclusion and exclusion, but a political membership that enabled domination of different population groups based on racial, ethnic, or religious hierarchies. For those who had been turned into minorities—for instance, through the making of new borders and partition plans—citizenship was first and foremost a tool to prevent deportation and a basis for claims on the state. Palestinians in Israel had their citizenship granted within a military government regime.
From this vantage point on postcolonial citizenship, it is easier to comprehend how the struggle against the authoritarian assault on the liberal citizenship of Jews in Israel can be waged concurrently with the revocation of the colonial citizenship of the Palestinians. The liberal rule of law separated the two regimes, colonial Israel and liberal Israel, enabling different systems of law and governance for Palestinians and for Jews. In order to understand the judicial coup, we need to address the colonial legacy expressed in emergency regulations and the delineation of the boundaries of citizenship for Palestinians in Israel.
Despite the fact that the protest movement ignored the revocation of citizenship, it is a critical element of the regime coup, alongside the nation-state law and the annexation of the territories. The regime coup seeks to end the semblance of liberal rule over Palestinians—the liberal rule of law that enabled and maintained the separation between the state of Israel and the occupied territories. By overcoming the rule-of-law institutions, the government can use the nation-state law to create Palestinian subjecthood without citizenship after the annexation of the territories.
Historical sociologists and political scientists interested in the legacies of regimes rigorously trace the long-term impacts of past institutions. The regime in Israel/Palestine is not an exemplary case for researching institutional legacies, because of its continuous, direct colonial regime: military government over Palestinian citizens between 1949 and 1966, and since 1967 the military occupation of Palestinian subjects and territories, alongside indirect colonial rule over Palestinian citizens of Israel. Tracing the colonial legacy in this context, however, offers a rare opportunity to examine how institutions and practices of control shift in time, in space, and between populations. There has been a legal and institutional transition between colonial and postcolonial regimes (between British Mandate Palestine and Israel), as well as a spatial transition between the different territories and populations that Israel governs.
The judicial coup is not only an attempt at a historic change in the legal or bureaucratic infrastructure. Its main thrust is the transition of practices of control and surveillance between the different territories and populations, from the military government of the Palestinians in the occupied territories to the civilian regime within Israel’s 1948 borders.
In Israel’s one-state reality, the differences between the borders of 1948 and those of 1967 are blurred on all points aside from formal law. Most of the population that the government of Israel controls de facto does not have full citizenship or equal citizenship. The population is divided based on a hierarchy of status: citizens who hold a passport, residents of East Jerusalem who hold an identity card, and Palestinians who do not have political status in Israel and are the subjects of direct or indirect military rule and restrictions on rights and freedom of movement.
What previously separated these systems was the imagined reality of the border created by the permit and segregation regime, a remnant of the Oslo Accords. This imaginary boundary was maintained through the liberal rule of law, which treated the West Bank and Gaza as territory that Israel has no sovereignty over and is held by the military, while simultaneously adjudicating civil law for the Jewish residents of the West Bank.
The liberal rule of law, whose foremost representatives are the Supreme Court justices and the legal advisers of government offices (both currently under attack), was the buffer that provided legitimacy for the policy of control of the occupied territories in all its aspects. Perhaps more importantly, the Supreme Court was the main arena in which Palestinian citizens of Israel negotiated for their rights as citizens beyond non-deportability.
The first regime change whose purpose was to deplete the liberal citizenship of Palestinians in Israel began with two laws: the anti-terrorism law of 2016 and the nation-state law of 2018. Yet the early roots of this citizenship regime change for the Palestinians, or the blurring between Palestinian citizens and noncitizens, can be traced to the beginning of the second Intifada, in October 2000, when 13 protesters, Palestinian citizens of Israel, were killed by the police.
The next change to the content of citizenship for non-Jews in Israel was a 2003 amendment to the citizenship law. The amendment significantly diminished the citizenship of Palestinians by undermining the institution of family unification. On the basis of national identity, it enabled the revocation of the right of citizens of Israel to get married and have a family by attributing an alleged security threat, impossible to disprove, to inhabitants of the West Bank who are the partners of Israeli citizens.
This law imposed a cruel choice between family and state. Palestinian citizens of Israel who have partners who are Palestinians from the West Bank must choose either to move to the territories to live with their partners who cannot live in Israel, or to separate from their partners and stay in Israel.
The anti-terrorism law is not usually seen as directly influencing the citizenship regime, but its passage was a dramatic historical event. For 80 years, the state had used the emergency defense regulations inherited from British colonial rule as a tool to maintain two separate legal regimes for Palestinians and Jews. Now those regulations became formal legislation that in a sense unified the two regimes.
The system for classification, identification, and surveillance that the British colonial mandate bureaucracy developed was inherited by Israel in 1948, when the partition plan turned the Palestinian minority that remained within Israel’s new borders into a foreign population deemed hostile and dangerous. The minority population was labeled as such because it remained on the wrong side of the border, outside of the territory that it was supposed to have after the partition. Palestinians were perceived as foreigners belonging to a different political entity, permanently suspicious, de facto enemies of the state.
The population is divided based on a hierarchy of status .
The inheritance from the British was an organizational logic of managing a hostile population and preventing opposition to the regime through the use of emergency regulations. In the colonies, labeling dangerous populations was a product of bureaucratic practice and daily routines that developed in conditions of violent struggle. Under the expanding emergency authorities, such practices included making blacklists and categorizing political and security prisoners.
These classification and taxonomy practices turned the emergency defense regulations into a bureaucratic toolbox that served to prevent opposition to the regime by means of administrative detention and other impediments to movement. Officials engaged in labeling the population constituted “security threat” and “political threat” as fluid and unstable categories, feeding into each other. Confronting both Palestinian and Jewish national liberation movements, the colonial regime viewed political activity as a security threat and classified it as violent activity.
The 2016 anti-terrorism law gave new legal authority to this definition of colonial citizenship. It defines loyal citizenship through a cascade of governmental bureaucratic practices that blur the distinction between security threats and matters of identity and belonging. The law labels populations according to broad definitions of activity perceived as supporting terrorism. Kinship or area of residence is enough to classify someone as a terror supporter. Certain areas can be defined as “terror infrastructure.”
The anti-terrorism law turned the draconian emergency defense regulations, whose political legitimacy was a matter of controversy, into formal legislation through a procedurally democratic process. This process was meant to legitimize violations of the rights not only of the Palestinian population, but of all of Israel’s citizens, including Jews. The colonial inheritance was adopted into the formal legislation of the postcolonial democracy.
Two years later, the anti-terrorism law was followed by the nation-state law, which formalized the revocation of citizenship. Yet the nation-state law did not change the content of Israel’s citizenship regime and government. Its declaration that only Jews have a right to self-determination in the country simply institutionalized in formal law the principle of racial hierarchy, by which the state has given preferential treatment to the settlement of Jews for the past seven decades.
Social scientist Ahmad Sa’di has observed that the nation-state law institutionalizes a preference for Jews who are not citizens in the present (only potential citizens) over the non-Jewish citizens of the state. Many researchers view these declarative changes in the citizenship regime as an outcome of ethnonationalist and authoritarian politics. Others see them as a legacy of settler colonialism whose goal is the deportation and erasure of the indigenous Palestinians. But the nation-state law should be recognized as a future-facing citizenship scheme. Its goal is to enable the annexation of the occupied territories without offering Palestinians citizenship, as international law would require.
In January 2020, just a year and a half after the passage of the nation-state law, US President Donald Trump unveiled his “deal of the century” for the annexation of settlements in the West Bank and the Jordan Valley, along with a proposed transfer of a portion of Palestinian citizens of Israel into enclave areas offered to the Palestinian state. Palestinian representatives rejected the plan. The current Israeli government has proceeded with de jure annexation through the transfer of authority over occupied territories from the military to a civilian minister for the settlements.
The goal of the authoritarian coup is to prevent the intervention of the courts in the process of revocation and denial of citizenship. But alongside the regime change of citizenship through the antiterrorism law and the nation-state law, part of the authoritarian shift includes the movement of practices of control and surveillance from the occupied Palestinian territories into Israel itself—the territories within its 1948 borders.
During the pandemic, the Israeli government issued some 40 emergency decrees, more than any other time since 1948. Never had this form of executive power been so visible. Because Israel has been in a permanent state of emergency since its founding, the government has the power to decree emergency regulations at any moment, without any need for parliamentary authorization. It can also override parliamentary actions: emergency defense regulations can change legislation, making or suspending laws. The government can also invoke an emergency justification to remake constitutional arrangements without parliamentary consent.
In a 2022 study on the scope of Israel’s use of emergency defense regulations since 1948, Yoav Mehozay and Nir Kosty found that they have typically not been employed during actual emergencies, such as wars or other security crises. Instead, they are most often invoked to enable decision-making and policy implementation in more routine circumstances.
The pandemic marked a shift in the use of these emergency regulations, as the Israeli state began to apply to its own citizens security and surveillance practices that it had long used on Palestinian residents under military occupation. Despite a public debate over the legitimacy of such measures, the government (with Netanyahu again serving as prime minister) granted authorization to the security services to monitor the location and movement of Israeli citizens, including the Jewish majority, justifying the violation of privacy as proportional and temporary. The transition of control and surveillance practices from the 1967 territories to the 1948 territories further blurred the separation between the military government for the Palestinians and the civilian government for the Jews.
In October 2021, Defense Minister Benny Gantz declared six Palestinian groups with expertise in human rights research and community organizing to be terrorist organizations and ordered their offices closed. This was the first time that civil society organizations whose staff included citizens or residents of Israel were designated as terrorist organizations. The broad definitions of the anti-terrorism law enabled the government to classify their political and public relations activities as a security threat.
In March 2022, Salah Hammouri, a lawyer and researcher for the human rights group Addameer—one of the six groups designated for closure by Gantz—was taken into administrative detention. In December 2022, his residency permit was revoked, and he was deported to France. The Israeli government alleged that Hammouri, a resident of East Jerusalem and a French citizen, was a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which it had previously designated as a terrorist organization. A 2018 amendment to the Entry into Israel law provides the interior minister with discretion to revoke the permanent residency status of anyone accused of disloyalty to the state.
Hammouri’s political deportation drew international condemnation, but in 2022 more than 81 Palestinians had their residency status revoked in East Jerusalem. This was the largest number in five years. But the policy of revocation of citizenship by bureaucratic means, otherwise known as silent transfer by the Interior Ministry, dates back to 1995, even though international law bars revoking the residency of indigenous inhabitants of Jerusalem.
In the negotiations that led to the formation of the current coalition government headed by Netanyahu, the leader of the Religious Zionism Party, Bezalel Smotrich, demanded the position of civilian minister in the Defense Ministry. He stipulated that the position must be vested with authority over the civil administration and coordination of government actions in the occupied territories, so that he would be responsible for the Jewish settlers in the West Bank. He was granted this authority in February 2023.
The coalition agreement effectively called for de jure annexation of the territories, revealing the intent to solidify an apartheid regime for the Palestinian population. The full authority for legislation governing the West Bank was given to the political executive: the laws to be implemented there will not be made by the military or the parliament. The authority for Jewish settlement will have full discretion to rule by decree and promulgate legislation without parliamentary supervision.
The coalition agreement also annuls the status of the legal adviser for Judea and Samaria (as Israel calls the West Bank). This office operated for years under the military advocate general, giving independent legal counsel to the Central Command and the head of the civil administration for the territories. Although the legal adviser’s office drew much criticism from human rights organizations, this unit saw itself as committed to ensuring that the military command gestured at and selectively abided by its own version of international law, the law of war, the laws of belligerent occupation, and Israeli administrative and constitutional law.
Now even this performance will be discarded. The annexation means the end of this Sisyphean effort by the representatives of the liberal rule of law who worked tirelessly to create legal separation between the territories and Israel.
On February 15, 2023, soon after the government announced the judicial overhaul and in the midst of a giant public protest, 106 of the Knesset’s 120 members, including all of the opposition except for the Palestinian parties, voted for the bill that would enable the interior minister to revoke the citizenship of anyone indicted for a terrorist act. Despite the uproar over the crushing of the so-called rule of law, there was no controversy over this legislation.
During the most serious civilian crisis since the inception of the state of Israel, the two faces of the regime coup have come into focus. The first is the colonial coup, which has enabled revocation of the citizenship of Palestinian citizens of Israel under the anti-terrorism law. The second is the authoritarian coup—the attack on the institutions of the rule of law that maintained at least performatively the legal and political boundary between military rule over the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza and the liberal regime in Israel.
Through the attack on the institutions of the legal system, the authoritarian coup seeks to bolster for the long term the achievements of colonial conquest. If the government takes full control of the courts, it will end the possibility of reopening a negotiation on the boundaries of the citizenship of Palestinians in Israel. Yet the potential revocation of Palestinians’ Israeli citizenship has drawn only silence from the protest movement against the judicial overhaul.
Examining the two faces of the regime coup through the prism of citizenship reveals a formalization of a single regime in Israel/Palestine—a one-state reality. This is occurring through the blurring and ultimately the revocation of the distinction between Palestinians in the territories conquered by Israel in 1967 and Palestinians within Israel’s 1948 borders. The process encompasses annexation, the use of the nation-state law to prevent citizenship from being extended to the Palestinians in the West Bank, the use of the anti-terrorism law to revoke the citizenship of Palestinian citizens of Israel, and the use of practices that were developed to maintain military rule of the territories on Jewish citizens of Israel.
Given the relationship between the struggle over liberal citizenship and the end of the colonial separation system, it is obvious that the absence of Palestinians from the protests against the authoritarian regime coup, which is breaching the state’s contract with its Jewish citizens and threatening their rights, does not stem from symbolic issues such as the protesters’ use of the flag and national anthem, as some have suggested. Rather, it is an expression of the fact that the first part of the regime coup, the colonial part, has already taken place. Because of the resulting one-state reality, the only possibility for pushing back the authoritarian coup would be the creation of an equal citizenship regime in the entire territory of Israel/Palestine.
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