US position is that Israel is Jewish and democratic state in which all citizens should enjoy equal rights – USDoS press briefing/Non-UN document (excerpts)

Jeff Rathke

Director, Press Office
Daily Press Briefing

Washington, DC

November 24, 2014






1:19 p.m. EDT


QUESTION: What’s the U.S. reaction to Israel’s nationality law approved by the government?

MR. RATHKE: Well, this is the beginning of a process, and so I don’t want to speculate on the outcome. It would be our general view, though, that we would expect any final legislation to continue Israel’s commitment to democratic principles.

QUESTION: That means that every person should have a vote, not just Jewish people?

MR. RATHKE: Well, the United States position, which is unchanged, has been clear for years – and the President and the Secretary have also reiterated it – is that Israel is a Jewish and democratic state in which all citizens should enjoy equal rights.

QUESTION: Yeah, but you’re not sort of – when you – I mean, you’re saying it should – and I’m sorry, I forget the verb now, but you stressed the importance of any final outcome on the legislation being one which strengthens or is in line with —

MR. RATHKE: Or continues.

QUESTION: Continues the —

MR. RATHKE: “Continues” was the verb, if that’s —



QUESTION: — democratic principles. That means you’re worried that it won’t continue democratic principles, and it suggests that you’re worried that Israeli Arabs may be disenfranchised. Is that your concern here?

MR. RATHKE: Well, I would say also that this is a process that is underway. It is not final. And naturally, it has aroused quite a bit of interest, so I think it’s not strange that we would be expected – that we would be asked and that we would offer our view.

QUESTION: And is it fair, then, to say that your concern is that it will not continue – that it’s possible it won’t continue democratic principles?

MR. RATHKE: Well, I’m not going to speculate about the shape and final outcome of the legislation, but simply to point out that we would expect it to continue Israel’s commitment to democratic principles.



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