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Avraham Burg

  • The 'Jerusalem Intifada,' the president and the cliff

    When the Left is right. For years, Cassandras on the Left warned that the festering captivity of the stateless Palestinian population living under military rule would reach a breaking point. There would be a third intifada, maybe a bloodbath. At the very least, said the Left, there would be a drastic collapse of Israel as we know it — the Israel we dreamed of. Israel would become an isolated pariah state with a cruel elite ruling over a desperate, legally inferior people, or else a neutral political entity with no traces of Jewish anything. They said that the two-state window…

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  • WATCH: Encouraging Europe to label Israeli settlement products

    Will Israel's largest trading partner (the EU) use its economic muscle against Israeli settlements? Some famous former officials from Israel and beyond are calling for just that. The European Union once again dragged its feet on a decision to implement the labeling of products from Israeli settlements this May, in deference to John Kerry’s latest peace efforts. Depending on the outcome – or lack thereof – of Kerry’s diplomacy, however, the issue could soon reappear on the EU agenda and a number of high profile Israeli, international and Palestinian figures are making clear their support for labeling. The Elders, a…

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  • Israel's Memorial Day: A day of mourning and militarism

    Today is not only a day of sadness for fallen Israeli soldiers, it's also one of public declarations that all those bloody conflicts were righteous and necessary - just like the current ones and those that lie ahead.  Maybe in another country, a country that goes to war once in a generation or longer, Memorial Day can be a day strictly of sadness for the soldiers who were killed, and can even be a day to look back and ask: Was that war, or the one before it, really necessary? Did some of these soldiers we're mourning, did this family's…

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  • Demystifying one-state, acknowledging facts

    The question is no longer about whether one state should be considered, as there is only one state which governs over two people. The question is which kind of state it will be: the left or the right-wing version. The protests a few weeks ago in the West Bank against Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, once the hope for an institutional and economic state-builder for Palestine, look like one more sign of failure for the emergence of a de facto if not de jure Palestinian state. In the lead-up to September 2011, the Palestinian state appeared poised to advance towards greater general legitimacy. Internationally, the political zeitgeist was…

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  • Why it’s time to discuss the one-state solution

    Secular, binational, and more: there are plenty of one-state models that can and should be discussed. But what's becoming increasingly clear to figures from both the right and the left is that the feasibility of the two-state solution must be reconsidered.  By Yoav Kapshuk It is time to start a public discussion about possible and realistic arrangements for the area between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River. The importance of the discussion does not lie in reaching a consensus about a desired arrangement of one state or two states, but rather in creating an opening through which to understand…

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  • Response to Burg: Israel's democracy flawed from inception

    The New York Times continues to push the myth that Israel was once liberal and democratic, and is now growing detached from these values. Now it publishes an op-ed by a former Knesset speaker, which promotes this notion and similar misconceptions about the United States and the U.S.-Israel relationship. Only a couple of weeks after its unusual editorial arguing that Israel’s democracy is in peril, the New York Times has published an op-ed in the same vein, written by a prominent Israeli public figure. Avraham Burg, a former speaker of the Israeli Knesset, who almost became leader of the Labor party in the early 2000s,…

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  • The strange voyage of Avraham Burg

    Avraham Burg was the chairman of the Jewish Agency. Now he speaks of a bi-national solution. What to make of him? I can’t figure Avraham Burg out. I was listening on Wednesday to a debate between him and Peace Now’s director, Yariv Oppenheimer, at Tel Aviv University. To be frank, I came to listen to MK Ahmed Tibi, who did not show up. The debate was about, sigh, Zionism and democracy. While Oppenheimer took an openly admitted conservative position - which was predictable, somewhat boring, and out of touch with the few dozen radicals in the hall - Burg was…

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