Last week I wrote about the outdated feeling the debate over the occupation renders. One commenter wondered why both Larry Derfner (who also commented on the article) and I are “disappointed” with Knesset members from Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party, even though they say the very same thing we write about on this site. I didn’t vote for Lapid, but his pact with the extreme right is enough of a reason to dismiss any hope that he will contribute to the end of the occupation in the foreseeable future. However, the issue here is not the existence of one, or…Read More... | 10 Comments
An Israeli decision to continue the occupation is illegitimate, even if it was reached through a democratic process. Democracy has no meaning when the population at hand is not allowed to take part in it. This is a slightly modified translation of my weekly op-ed in the Israeli daily Maariv. "Occupation denial" is the latest trend in the Israeli (and American) conversation regarding the conflict. Conservative scholars are presenting a revisionist reading of the Fourth Geneva Convention, claiming that it never applied to the West Bank and Gaza, while politicians are claiming that the term "occupation" is biased. Yet all those…Read More... | 33 Comments
Khalil Gharra has been taking part in daily vigils in support of hunger striking Palestinian prisoners. After arresting him in the middle of the night, police fail to present any evidence against him, and he is released without bail. Shortly after midnight on Sunday, armed plainclothes policemen entered Khalil Gharra's room in the dorms at Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The detectives waved a warrant at Gharra and another friend who happened to be there. They searched his room, confiscated a couple of laptops and threw Gharra in a cell at the infamous Russian Compound in Jerusalem. This wasn’t the first time Gharra…Read More... | 38 Comments
One simple answer to the question of why elections matter is that I feel part of something when I vote in Israel. Being away for four months, living deep inside the world of other peoples’ conflicts, provided a few more answers. For the first time since moving to Israel 15 years ago, I was not in the county on election day yesterday. Since Israel has no absentee voting for regular citizens, I was not able to participate. Given the wild demonization of the Left over the last few years, some people probably wonder why I even care. My colleagues at…Read More... | 7 Comments
While pundits recycle the same stale political issues and celebrities take part in almost-satirical get-out-the-vote campaigns, beyond the façade of Israeli democracy, true change lies beyond the ballot box. By Fiona Wright Commentary on Israeli elections is stuck in a depressing stalemate that masks deep cynicism toward a democratic process few believe can bring real change. Election after election, pundits weigh in on minor political shifts to the right, the effects of the latest war or the inevitable question of Palestinian-Israeli citizens’ ambivalence towards the whole process. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. What is conspicuously under-analyzed, however,…Read More... | 6 Comments
Moshe Feiglin is one of the Likud party's most extreme members, and one of its most clear and systematic ideologues. He is the head of the party's 'Jewish Leadership' group, and the 23rd name on the Likud-Beitenu list for the next Knesset elections. The following is an attempt by religion researcher Tomer Persico to assess Feiglin's views on popular sovereignty and democracy. By Tomer Persico The coming elections in Israel will introduce many new faces to the Knesset. Unless something very surprising happens, among those will be Moshe Feiglin, who heads a group called Jewish Leadership and has for the past…Read More... | 18 Comments
A new government regulation enables the indefinite incarceration of refugees suspected of committing crimes, even if there is not enough evidence to indict them. Were this regulation applied to Israeli politicians, many of them would be in prison. By Asaf Weitzen The upcoming elections will affect not only the lives of Israeli citizens, they will also affect the fates of more than 60,000 African immigrants living here. Ignorance regarding the circumstances of their arrival to Israel, along with fear and rare bureaucratic creativity, have led to a series of laws and regulations depriving them of their most basic legal protections, which…Read More... | 2 Comments
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,…Read More... | 102 Comments
The New York Times published a laudable, bold editorial this weekend that highlights a number of creeping threats to Israeli democracy. The article is vital for reaching audiences who really care about Israel's future. After three years of onslaught on Israel's democratic foundations (which were already deeply flawed), the situation is now urgent. Every day, truly scary signs of under-the-radar McCarthyism can be seen – just this morning Haaretz reported on the attempt to oust an official (Hebrew) in the Education Ministry responsible for civics education, who has come under a right-wing witch-hunt, despite protests by both left- and right-leaning colleagues. The legitimization…Read More... | 9 Comments
The new coalition demonstrates the absurdity of "the only democracy in the Middle East" slogan. Ninety percent of the Jewish public is now represented by the government, while most Palestinians under Israeli control have no political representation at all. With 94 Knesset Members behind him, Benjamin Netanyhu is now the strongest prime minister in Israeli history since David Ben-Gurion, the founding father of the country. Netanyahu's Likud party alone has more seats than all the opposition parties combined. The opposition's 26 seats are not even enough to call an unscheduled Knesset session – and even this number is misleading, because…Read More... | 35 Comments
I love Bradley Burston's writing. He is clever and passionate, and more often than not, he is upset by the same things I am. But I found his post on Apartheid Week deeply misguided, both morally and politically. Briefly, Burston claims that "Apartheid Week" is both a political failure and a moral abomination, since it is organized by the BDS movement that aims to destroy Israel. Mixing the moral issue – whether Apartheid Week is justified – with the question of effectiveness (is it working?) tends to blur the debate. To make things simple, I won't address BDS' and Apartheid…Read More... | 64 Comments
Lisa Levi tries to defend the undefendable boycott law at The Jewish Week. After making the old case that the Israeli boycott law is anything like the French or the American (simply false claim, as any form of the current boycott movement is perfectly legal in the United States. In fact, a Knesset research report, prepared during the work on the boycott bill, concluded that it couldn’t find examples of similar laws in Western democracies, and resorted to citing examples from countries such as Venezuela, Eritrea and Ethiopia), comes this bizarre paragraph: Finally, it is essential here to keep in…Read More... | 17 Comments
NGO Monitor tries to silence us by going after our donors. Supporting +972 is the best response! By Noam Sheizaf Dear Readers, +972 Magazine is at the center of a negative piece published today in the Jerusalem Post. According to the piece, a right-wing watchdog group called NGO Monitor has launched a public attack on the German Heinrich Böll Foundation for supporting the site with a grant of 6,000 euros, received last year. In recent years, NGO Monitor has systematically targeted human right organizations, academics and progressive groups in Israel. A recent piece in Haaretz reported that right-wing groups…Read More... | 35 Comments
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Last Metro to Taksim
Yuval Ben-Ami reports from Istanbul.
Reports, maps, infographics and other documents on human rights and democracy.
Children under occupation
The effects of occupation on minors.
On the challenges facing a growing population of asylum seekers and refugees in Israel.
A series of striking infographics.
- MOST READMOST COMMENTED24 HOURS|WEEK|MONTH
Is a binational identity possible in Israel? http://t.co/yFmq5vBPGV
The unwitting common ground in the debate over binationalism in Israel http://t.co/qDoWMqR8fO by Jeremiah Haber
VID: Former female Israeli soldiers break their silence http://t.co/2H7V47Cj9I by @MairavZ
Israeli MK's 'sexy' pose goes viral on Facebook http://t.co/vktM2Rk4OH by @AmiKaufman
The soldiers' stories that Israel lacks the courage to hear http://t.co/rlleFPDVVq By Larry Derfner, cc @ShovrimShtika