EU ambassador to Israel Emanuele Giaufret
EU ambassador to Israel Emanuele GiaufretMark Neyman/GPO

The European Union is pressuring Israel not to pass a law affirming Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people, claiming one of the clauses is racist, and if passed would harm Israel’s international standing.

The Nationality Law, backed by the Likud-led coalition government, would establish the status of the State of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people and the right of the Jewish people to self-determination in its homeland as a unique right for the Jewish people. It would also anchor the symbols of the state, Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, the Jewish calendar as the country's official calendar, and the Hebrew language as the official language.

The current draft also includes a controversial section, Clause 7, which would permit the establishment of town councils to maintain the character of a particular community, and bar would-be residents from other sectors of the population.

Critics, including Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, have called for the removal of the clause, arguing that could be used to discriminate against any number of religious or ethnic minority groups.

According to a report by Channel 2 on Thursday, the European Union has been actively lobbying Israeli lawmakers, especially coalition members, to vote against the draft as it is currently written, calling the law “racist” and warning that it could seriously harm Israel’s international standing.

Emanuele Giaufret, the EU ambassador to Israel, reportedly told Israeli lawmakers that the bill would “place Israel outside the bounds of the accepted norms of democratic countries.”

“The law stinks of racism, and it discriminates against various groups – particularly Arabs – and weakens the values Israel tries to uphold.”