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Analysis

  • Family life forbidden for migrant workers in Israel

    Legal advocates decry Israeli policies toward migrant workers as inhumane and claim that they violate the laborers’ human right to family. Maris Delusong, a 36-year-old caregiver from the Philippines, is alone at Tel Aviv’s Central Bus Station. She stops at a sale rack outside a clothing store. She looks at the baby clothes, pulls a pink onesie off the rack and runs her fingers over the soft fabric. Her face is sad as she puts the outfit back and moves along. “It’s hard to be alone,” Delusong says. She found herself drawn to the baby clothes, she says, because “I…

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  • World’s delayed reaction to Gaza war kicks in

    A week of encouraging signs augurs revival of anti-occupation cause. My view of the chances that the occupation will end someday fluctuates between pessimistic and despairing. Since the war in Gaza, I’ve felt the cause was effectively lost; I figured that if the monstrous devastation that Israel visited on the Strip and its people did not light a fire under the world’s ass, then the anti-occupation movement was on a slow boat to nowhere. But just in the last week there have been a number of delayed international reactions (and even one from Israel) to the Gaza war, and they add…

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  • Facing increased right-wing violence, Israeli leftists learn to fight back

    Attacks against Arabs in Jerusalem became routine this past summer and in Tel Aviv left-wing activists faced violence from the Right. ‘We don't want to attack Baruch Marzel's headquarters or anything, but we believe the victimhood of the Left must end here,’ one activists explains. Thursday and Saturday nights in downtown Jerusalem have become terrifying. On those days, a group of youth gathers in West Jerusalem’s Zion Square, often next to a permanent pop-up stand manned by members of anti-miscegenation group Lehava. The youth meet there and then take to the streets chanting “Death to Arabs,” harassing and assaulting Arab cab drivers, women…

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  • A siege of inertia: Israel's non-policy on Gaza

    One government inherits the siege from another, the prime minister admits it’s more harmful than helpful, the cabinet never formulates or even discusses a policy, and one minister goes as far as admitting that the only driving force behind Israel’s Gaza policy is inertia. By Itamar Sha’altiel There is something tempting about trying to connect all the dots, which show that every decision made by successive Israeli governments have just been part of one giant, logical process. It doesn't matter whether the final outcome is cold and cruel — at least we can find solace knowing that all the pain and…

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  • What Israelis really mean when we talk about the Left

    It is a shameful lie to make opposition to 47-year military rule an issue of supporters or traitors of Israel. The war in Gaza yielded a large crop of articles about Liberal Zionism. Suddenly numerous authors felt an urgent need to reject, redefine, defend or deconstruct a term that the vast majority of Israelis have never heard of. However, Israelis are familiar with the same basic concept, except they call it the “Zionist Left,” or national left. They embrace the label “Zionism,” but unlike diaspora-based writers, don’t spend too much time trying to define it.  I can’t recall anything like…

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  • Labour MPs: Vote yes on Palestinian statehood

    In an appeal that demonstrates the complete bankruptcy of the peace camp, the Israeli Labor Party is  calling on its British counterparts to oppose the motion on Palestinian statehood Monday, 'in the name of peace.' Netanyahu couldn't have put it better. The British Parliament will vote Monday on a motion supporting the Palestinian Authority’s request to recognize it as a state. The vote is mostly symbolic, and the British government will still be able to take any form of action it wants. The big drama is taking place within the ranks of Labour. The opposition party is supporting the motion,…

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  • Seven years later, Israel decides Gaza blockade is ineffective

    After seven years of siege, the defense establishment has suddenly discovered that the blockade on Gaza is not helpful. It's no coincidence, of course, that this realization comes after a war that devastated the Strip and has the Palestinians focused on reconstruction.  "Israel now admits that the almost-airtight blockade of Gaza has done more harm than good." I am always amazed at the ease with which these sentences are written by this or that analyst. Written so nonchalantly to the point that it feels like the writer might as well just shrug and say, "Well that didn't work, let's try…

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  • Going rogue: How the Ministry of Finance plays by its own rules

    When it comes to getting its way, the Finance Ministry will go to no end to force other governmental bodies to bend to its will.  By Hagai Kalai Like public authorities in Israel, the Ministry of Finance aims to promote public interest to the best of its understanding. However, like all public authorities, the ministry suffers from a narrow perspective: it gives higher value to its own policies, while undervaluing the importance of proper administrative process. Yet, while most public authorities try and promote their agenda through the standard legitimate government mechanisms, the Ministry of Finance has developed a long…

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  • Why the IDF cannot be trusted to investigate itself

    The occupation is violence: costly to the occupied, cheap for the occupiers. Only a credible, independent and effective inquiry into IDF actions can begin to make that violence costly to its perpetrators. By Hagai El-Ad (translated by Keren T Rubinstein) Recently it was announced that the IDF had already begun looking into 99 incidents that took place during Operation Defensive Shield. Of these, a criminal inquiry was initiated in five cases, while seven other cases have already been closed. Seemingly, this is commendable news. Alas, experience proves otherwise. Time after time, official and quite ceremonious promises to establish the truth after…

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  • Why won't Israel sign the Arms Trade Treaty?

    Twenty years after its inception, the Arms Trade Treaty finally looks like it is going to be enshrined in international law. But despite supporting its passage, Israel refuses to sign it. By Idan Itzhaky A critical moment for human rights took place last week: the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) became a reality. This is a historical treaty, that like many other historical treaties, makes something that is patently obvious illegal by international law: the sale of weapons, which could be used to commit genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and other serious violations of human rights. Thus, the treaty will serve…

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  • The Kurds must not be abandoned again, this time to ISIS

    If there are any people on earth who deserve the world’s protection from slaughter, it is the Kurds. Despite the stereotype of Mizrahi Jews in Israel resenting Arabs because of the way they were treated in the old country, there are plenty of Mizrahim who have good memories of their relations with their former Muslim neighbors. However, there is no Mizrahi community in Israel that feels a kinship with their Muslim former countrymen like the Kurdish Jews do. Today ISIS appears to be on the verge of slaughtering the people in the town of Kobani, the heart of a Syrian…

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  • Does a strengthened Hezbollah make Israel safer?

    The catastrophic outcomes of another Israeli-Hezbollah conflict  for both sides is likely deterring escalation into all-out war.  By Aaron Magid Since the Gaza war ended, Israeli media quickly shifted its focus to the next conflict - with Hezbollah. Channel 2 aired an extensive interview with a senior Israeli military officer under the headline “The 3rd Lebanon War” detailing the immense costs such a clash would incur, as if another conflict with Hezbollah is a pre-determined fact.  Referring to the threat, longtime Israeli journalist Ben Caspit warned, “not since the War of Independence has the sovereignty of the Jewish State been in such peril.” Ironically…

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  • ‘Open Hillel’ seeks to redefine U.S. Jewish debate on Israel-Palestine

    A student-led movement is seeking to 'open' a prominent U.S. Jewish campus group to a broader range of voices, and it's gaining ground. This weekend, Open Hillel will seek to model an inclusive Jewish community that embraces marginalized voices.  By Naomi Dann “What’s wrong with conflict?” A professor once challenged me, a student of peace and justice studies and non-confrontational by nature. “Points of tension and moments of debate are productive, we learn from them.” This weekend, a student movement known as Open Hillel will host a historic conference that promises vibrant debate and plenty of conflict over the relationship…

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