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Democratic Norms, Diasporas and Israel's Law of Return

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Publication Date: January 2009

Publisher(s): American Jewish Committee

Author(s): Amnon Rubinstein; Alexander Yakobson

Special Collection: Berman Jewish Policy Archive

Topic: Government (Nation state)
Law and ethics (International law)

Keywords: International Relations; Law; Israel advocacy; Diaspora Relations

Type: Other

Coverage: Israel


The authors confront an assertion made not only by Israeli Arabs and radical leftists, but also by a large and growing number of Israeli academicians: that Israel's definition as both a Jewish and a democratic state represents a paradox, or an oxymoron. (Especially criticized is Israel's Law of Return.) But the authors demonstrate that this assertion is based on fundamentally flawed assumptions. They examine the distinctions between these assumptions and the real content of Israeli law, and further examine parallel laws and policies in other countries in contemporary Asia and Europe.