Government backs bill against discriminatory 'selection' at clubs

Government backs bill ag

The government announced Sunday its support for a bill that would outlaw racist entrance policies at nightclubs. "Experience teaches that methods and mechanisms have been developed [by clubs] to bypass the law," reads the bill. "One of the common methods to camouflage discrimination practiced especially in nightclubs and other places of entertainment is 'selection.' "A person who is part of a specific group does not come across an outright refusal to enter, but rather is 'just' asked to wait for an undefined period of time. "He waits until the point of shame - until he is forced to give up, while others, who are not part of that specific group against which the discrimination is being perpetrated, are allowed to enter." Such discrimination is an issue that has come to the forefront in recent weeks. Owners of Tel Aviv's Donna Martin nightclub were ordered to pay NIS 60,000 in compensation to two young men of Yemenite descent who were prohibited from entering the club because of the color of their skin. A few days ago, hundreds of people attended an anti-racism demonstration in front of the Galina nightclub in the Tel Aviv Port. With the goal of fighting this well-known phenomenon, the improved Selection Law declares that a place that does not allow visitors to enter based on the order in which they arrived, due to reasons such as race, nationality, sexual orientation or religion, will be considered discriminatory. The bill, which forbids discrimination in products, services, and entrance to places of entertainment and public places, was prepared with the help of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel and sponsored by MKs Shelly Yacimovich (Labor) and Shlomo Molla (Kadima). Lawyer Debbie Gild-Hayo, director of policy advocacy for ACRI, said "the bill was conferred to prevent the known 'trick' of the nightclubs, which allow in party-goers of a certain type or a certain color, and tell others to wait. "This will make sure the spirit of the law, which forbids selection, will be upheld. And it will ease the prosecution of club owners who continue discrimination. The government ministers have done well by passing this message of protest against racism in places of leisure."