Professor and author Bernard Avishai published an article in Harper's Magazine that sparked a +972 debate on Zionism. Here, in a post that originally appeared on his blog, he responds to some of the charges against his positions that have since been sounded in the blogosphere. By Bernard Avishai At bottom, the question my Harper's piece tries to answer is deceptively simple and by no means relevant to the Palestinian right of return alone. It is this: how can a democratic state, a commonwealth of free citizens, be reconciled with the right of citizens, collectively, to sustain national distinction? How is an…Read More... | 54 Comments
Earlier this week, an Israeli security company named Hashmira has announced it will stop supplying equipment to the West Bank. Hashmira is owned by Danish giant G4S, which was under considerable pressure due to its projects in Israel. This was another success for the boycott campaign, which seems to gain momentum, especially when it targets activities directly involved in the occupation. The Boycott is extremely controversial in Israel. While there is some tolerance, especially on the left, for the boycott of the settlements, supporting the BDS is a political taboo. Furthermore, a new Knesset bill would make it illegal for…Read More... | 12 Comments
Bernard Avishai thinks that BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanction) is mostly ineffective, and so do I. But our reasoning is not only different – it actually relies on completely opposite premises about the role of liberal and cosmopolitan elites in Israeli society. This is the first in a series of posts about those elites. Bernard Avishai's basic argument against divestment in international companies implicated in the occupation of the Palestinian territories is highly confused, verging on the bizarre. He seems to imply that these companies are incapable of distinguishing between the products they sell to the settlements or the IDF,…Read More... | 6 Comments
There was something slightly frustrating about the J Street conference. At times, participants seemed to be discussing the same old problems, wondering why the same old solutions haven’t worked, while talking about them in the same old terms. Meanwhile, the Middle East is undergoing enormous changes with every new minute. Old policies have become slogans, drained of meaning by failure. We need an arsenal of new ideas; empty rhetoric is a liability that must be exposed. You can’t take aim at the future with a cartridge full of blanks. Take one example: “the peace process.” At the conference, the columnist…Read More... | 35 Comments
The Israeli leadership wants to hold on to the status-quo, the Palestinian leadership is split, and the US discovers the limits of its power. Under these circumstances, the problem is not the lack of solutions for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but the absence of political forces that could implement them. A response to Bernard Avishai Some 20 years ago, just before I started my mandatory service in the IDF, I remember reading "No Trumpets, No Drums" by Sari Nusseibeh & Mark Heller. The Israeli and Palestinian authors of the book conducted negotiations for several months, leading to the outline of the…Read More... | 8 Comments
The settlers and the ultra-orthodox are not the cause for Israel's collapsing public services. The professional middle class, which considers itself a "silent majority" of "responsible citizens" but is quite the opposite, should take a hard look in the mirror. This is the third and final installment in a series of posts, examining arguments, which have resurfaced following the Carmel fire, that assign the blame for Israel's problems to the ultra-orthodox or the settlements. To read the first post, dealing with the ultra-orthodox, click here. To read the second post, dealing with the settlements, click here. The debacle surrounding the…Read More... | 3 Comments
The settlements are a moral and practical disaster, but they are the symptom rather than the cause of Israel's ills. This is the second in a series of three posts, examining arguments, which have resurfaced following the Carmel fire, that assign the blame for Israel's problems to the ultra-orthodox or the settlements. To read the first post, dealing with the ultra-orthodox, click here. The third and final post will examine the myth of Israel's "silent majority" of "responsible citizens". The settlements are a moral and practical disaster. They have already exacted a brutal toll from Palestinians, but eventually, Jews…Read More... | 4 Comments
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Children under occupation
The effects of occupation on minors.
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Israeli man kills four at bank, reportedly after being denied credit http://t.co/EH6gIG7WUW
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