Certain rights should be inalienable — yet Israel refuses to grant them to Palestinians and the world continues to treat the country as a rights-based democracy. What does this absurdity say about human rights as a political tool, and about the powers, entities and institutions that speak in their name? Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee chairman MK David Rotem laid out some of his beliefs and world views in an extensive interview with Israeli financial daily Globes a few weeks ago. One of Rotem’s statements – which made the headline of the piece - was that “human rights are [reserved]…Read More... | 34 Comments
The two-state solution is not a progressive cause and neither is a single-state solution -- they are just possible means to an end. The only possible goal for progressive politics in Israel/Palestine can be full human, civil and political rights for everyone living on this land. Every now and then a comment on this blog attributes a position to me -- one I thought I had been very careful to avoid taking. A misunderstood writer should blame only himself and not the readers. However, there is a specific point I always have trouble getting across, maybe because of the way…Read More... | 51 Comments
Those who care about ending the occupation, in Israel and outside it, are faced with real, difficult choices. I believe these choices matter. That is why I oppose BDS. Larry Derfner's recent article in support of BDS is well-written, passionately argued and compelling. Nonetheless, I find myself in strong disagreement with its key assertions and conclusions. As I see it, the article rests on the following argument: first, the evacuation of settlements necessary to end the occupation would be very difficult for Israel. Second, Israelis do not currently incur any significant cost for the continuation of the occupation. Third,…Read More... | 66 Comments
Israel's High Court orders the government to upgrade representation of Palestinians in planning committees. But will the minor changes only serve to legitimize a system based on inequality? Israel’s High Court on Monday ordered the state to provide proposals for including Palestinian representatives in planning committees that govern development and land use in Area C (which makes up 60 percent of the territory in the West Bank). The interim decision was made following an appeal by the Palestinian village of Ad-Dirat-Al-Rfai’ya, together with human rights organizations Rabbis For Human Rights, the Israel Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD), The Jerusalem Legal…Read More...
Over the past several years, Israel’s Ministry of Justice has found itself a new angle for engaging in public diplomacy: defending some of the worst pieces of Knesset legislation, while celebrating whatever outcome the court hands down when they are challenged. By Hagai El-Ad Human rights are neither a theoretical concept nor a distant vision: for human beings, human rights are either a foundation for a just life – or, more often, humans are deprived of them. In such realities, the enumeration of rights becomes an enumeration of grievances. For human rights organizations, that enumeration of grievances becomes a workplan.…Read More... | 8 Comments
Resolutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can be reached either by agreement or evolution. As the peace talks stumble toward their formal end point, there are essentially four scenarios for political developments between the river and the sea, excluding resurgent violence: two states by agreement, two states by evolution, one state by agreement, or one sovereign entity by evolution. Policymakers should acknowledge these scenarios openly to assess what each one will mean for the future of the region. I recently proposed using basic values as a guideline to assess the desirability of such scenarios: reducing violence, realizing human and civil rights,…Read More... | 12 Comments
Instead of using the talks as a replacement for progress, Israeli and Palestinian negotiators would do well to define guiding values that should be the basis of both process and solutions. One of the problems with the flagging Kerry negotiations is that they are heavy on ‘process,’ and not much about ‘peace.’ That could be due to the fairly accurate cliché that the outlines of the two-state solution are “largely known.” Negotiations and civil initiatives from 2000 onwards – Camp David to the Arab Peace Initiative – overlap on the core issues, with differences of details. On the other hand,…Read More...
Alan Dershowitz published an op-ed in Haaretz on Wednesday giving his top 10 reasons why boycotting Israel is immoral. What if he wrote the same article in 1974 about the anti-Apartheid movement? It might look something like this. By Sol Salbe Ten reasons why the anti-Apartheid movement is immoral and hinders peace The anti-South African movement threatens the reconciliation process by promoting extortion rather than negotiation, and discourages blacks from agreeing to any reasonable peace offer. By Alan M. Dershowitz | Feb. 12, 1974 | 4:00 PM 1. The anti-Apartheid movement immorally imposes the entire blame for the continuing Apartheid and…Read More... | 14 Comments
Israeli politicians have begun updating their Facebook pages with eulogies for the late Nelson Mandela. What do statesmen of the Jewish state - one of the last western countries to support the South African apartheid state and which today practices apartheid-like policies between the river and the sea - have to say about the man who brought racism to its knees? Here's your definitive list (which may expand - I'll update as the day goes on) 1) Naftali Bennett - Leader of the Jewish Home settler party "Nelson Mandela ** With his willpower he changed the world. May his memory…Read More... | 37 Comments
Few people can say that they changed direction later in life and started an influential human rights organization. Dina Goor didn’t stop at just one. She believed in her ability to change and influence and called on everyone in her world to join her. By Alma Biblash and Libby Lenkinski http://youtu.be/RZspFvW9cVI (Excerpts from Dina's interview with Just Vision in 2008. Filmed by Mickey Elkeles. Interviewed by Julia Bacha.) When we watch this video, our hearts fill with the heartbreak of missing her. Dina Goor was an elegant woman made of fire. When most people think about retirement, they start planning…Read More... | 3 Comments
Mya Guarnieri confronts discrimination, identity politics -- and the occupation -- as she searches for an apartment in Bethlehem. Read her previous post, 'Reflections on one state from the West Bank.' Not knowing much about my background, the elderly landlord who doesn’t rent to Jews called and asked me to come sign a lease. Despite my reservations, I agreed. The landlord ushered me in and we sat on a couch on her large, enclosed balcony. “First, I must ask you,” she began. “What is your religion?” “I don’t see how that’s really relevant.” While I understand that she and her family have…Read More... | 26 Comments
+972 speaks with Shawan Jabarin, general director of Palestinian human rights NGO Al-Haq, about how and why the organization decided to start using the term Apartheid, and what role accountability and international intervention could play in guaranteeing human rights. Sitting on a green leather couch in his Ramallah office not far from Al-Manara Square, Shawan Jabarin talks about his hopes and beliefs – primarily, a belief that oppressive regimes have no future. “I have no hope for the short-term. But I have more than hope for the long-term,” explains Jabarin, the general director of Al-Haq, a Palestinian human rights NGO.…Read More... | 24 Comments
+972 speaks with Michael Sfard, human rights attorney and legal counsel and co-founder of Yesh Din – Volunteers for Human Rights, about litigating key human rights cases, past and pending, and the ‘mighty price to be paid’ when advocating Palestinian rights from within the Israeli legal system. With Palestinians and Israelis expected to restart negotiations in the coming days, most people are talking about the peace talks’ chances of success or failure and the details of what topics are on the table. Sitting in front of a small legal library in his Bauhaus Tel Aviv law office, Attorney Michael Sfard…Read More... | 4 Comments
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