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  • Beyond racism: What's keeping Ethiopian-Israelis down?

    Racism is a severe problem for the community — and the country — but that doesn't fully explain the difficulties faced by Ethiopian-Israelis. To the extent that they were protesting against face-to-face racism from “white” Israelis, the thousands of Ethiopian Israelis who raised hell in Tel Aviv Sunday night had more than a legitimate gripe. When I was in the army 25 years ago, I saw such insulting patronization toward Ethiopian immigrant soldiers it was hard to believe; from what one hears, such treatment hasn’t disappeared from Israeli life by any means. I don’t know if Israeli cops harass them…

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  • Israelis' surrogate mothers in Nepal are no laughing matter

    The precarious situation of surrogate mothers in Nepal carrying babies for Israelis, as well as the ethical questions surrounding surrogacy in the developing world, should be treated with the utmost seriousness. But what does Israel's interior minister do? He laughs at them.  Saturday's horrific earthquake in Nepal has dominated the news here in Israel, not only because Nepal is a popular travel destination and around 2,000 Israeli backpackers were airlifted out of the area in recent days, but primarily because of the 100 or so surrogate mothers carrying babies for Israeli gay couples and single parents. [tmwinpost] Only heterosexual couples can…

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  • Uganda denies agreement with Israel on asylum seekers

    The Ugandan government officially denies claims it has signed an agreement with Israel, whereby it would absorb forcefully deported Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers. The Israeli government has resisted calls to divulge the details of the agreements it had allegedly signed with 'third countries.' Government officials in Uganda deny there is any agreement with Israel on the deportation of asylum seekers into the country, according to the Hotline for Refugees and Migrants, citing Ugandan daily New Vision. In the report, published Tuesday, Uganda's Permanent Secretary for Foreign Affairs James Mugume is quoted as saying: "Neither the minister [of internal affairs] nor…

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  • America’s choice on Iran: Obama’s peace or Netanyahu's war

    If Bibi, the Israel lobby and the GOP stymie this historic nuclear deal, it will be very bad for Israel, America and America’s Jews. Anybody who thinks Obama has won, that Israel and the Israel lobby and the Republicans are just going to concede the Iran nuclear deal without a fight, could not be more wrong. For the Israeli and American Jews involved, this is the supreme cause of their lives – preventing another Holocaust, as they see it. The framework agreement announced last Thursday looks to them like Munich. These are the terms they use. For the American gentile…

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  • The Iranian nuclear threat and other phantoms

    The 'framework agreement' announced Thursday night in Lausanne is a lot better than no agreement. But an approach to Iran involving no sanctions and no hysteria would have been best of all. NOTE: This post has been changed to reflect the author's happy surprise that the framework agreement was not the dud he thought it would be - even after it was first announced - but is, according to all accounts, a very meaningful step.   Remember the threat of North Korea going nuclear? The sanctions, the scare rhetoric from the United States, the specter of the craziest, cultiest nation…

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  • Beyond Netanyahu: On the collapse of the so-called Left

    Many in the Israeli Left saw the recent election defeat as a danger to democracy. But if the Left wants to win elections, it needs to let go of its anti-Mizrahi fear-mongering and racism. by Elad Ben Elul (translated by Joshua Tartakovsky) In order to understand the outcome of the recent elections in Israel, one has to step away from the two central conceptual frameworks that make up the discourse of most Israelis, but in fact do not capture the complex reality below the surface. One has to step away from the traditional boxes of “Right” versus “Left” and of…

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  • Why Israel picks fights with Hezbollah

    And why it will probably pick another one before too long. After Hezbollah’s fatal attack on Israeli soldiers Wednesday, the two enemy sides are in a rare configuration: they’re even. Israel killed six Hezbollah guerrillas and an Iranian general on January 18, so Hezbollah killed two Israeli soldiers and wounded seven more, and now they’re quits, for the time being. They each told UN peacekeepers in south Lebanon that they didn’t want to escalate things anymore, they wanted calm, and that clearly seems to be the case today. What an opportunity. From this point forward, Israel and Hezbollah could start…

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  • Netanyahu on how his old U.S. high school ‘changed’

    More evidence that his racism doesn’t stop at Arabs. I’ve never written about a particular comment Bibi Netanyahu made when I interviewed him in the summer of 1993, because as objective evidence of anti-black racism, it’s not exactly slam-dunk. But this weekend Netanyahu accused Israel’s friendliest, most unthreatening Arab public figure, broadcaster-turned-candidate Zohair Bahloul, of “praising Hezbollah” in a court testimony. What Bahloul actually said was the exact opposite. For Netanyahu this was a personal low in terms of anti-Arab racism, which takes some effort. And recently I saw a Washington Post account of the blatant anti-Hispanic racism Netanyahu showed…

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  • Israeli air strike in Syria: Lies, aggression — at what cost?

    From close up, the assassination of a Hezbollah commander and an Iranian general was probably preemption. In the big picture, it was definitely aggression. During the Second Intifada, (late 2000-2004) Israel made a habit of carrying out “targeted assassinations” of Palestinian militant leaders. The Palestinians, in turn, had a predilection for blowing up buses and cafes. After an assassination of a high-up Hamasnik or Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades man, some Israelis and many foreigners would question whether it was a good idea, whether it was worth the risk, given the likelihood that the Palestinians would be out for revenge. The routine…

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  • No, Mr. Netanyahu, answers to terrorism are not all the same

    The prime minister compares Israel’s predicament with the Palestinians to France’s current one with jihadists, but the true comparison is to France’s struggle with Algeria in the 1950s and early 1960s. In Paris early this week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu drove home a message he’s been delivering for decades: "Israel supports Europe in its fight against terrorism, and it's time Europe support Israel in the same exact struggle." But he’s wrong. Europe and Israel are not caught up in the same struggle. They don’t face the same terrorism, either. Despite Netanyahu’s claim, which he says was only reinforced by the…

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  • Israeli petition to European lawmakers: Recognize Palestine

    Prominent Israelis call on European parliamentarians to formally recognize a Palestinian state. But what kind of impact can European votes have when the real power broker in Israel-Palestine relations is still the U.S.? Nearly 700 prominent Israelis, including former ambassadors, academics, IDF officers, top playwrights and poets, winners of the Israel Prize and Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman have signed a letter appealing to the parliaments of various European countries to recognize Palestine in upcoming votes. We the undersigned, Citizens of Israel who wish it to be a safe and thriving country, are worried by the continued political stalemate and by…

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  • ‘Pallywood’: A particularly ugly ethnic slur

    And a very popular one among right-wing Israelis and Diaspora Jews. I've been writing for years against the "Pallywood" theory – the right-wing notion that videos showing Palestinians getting killed by Israelis are really elaborate fakes meant to blacken Israel's name. Yet it's only this morning I realized that the term "Pallywood," which was coined by Boston University Prof. Richard Landes, is an ethnic slur, and a particularly ugly one. It not only mangles the name of an entire people, it does so in the most contemptuous context – it links the name Palestinian with the telling of lies, and…

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  • No one left for Bibi to blame – except, of course, Abbas

    Israel is in a crisis – the heaviest Palestinian street violence in a decade, the threat of a full-blown third intifada – and here’s how Netanyahu is managing it: by seizing on the last available scapegoat. Outside of the Netanyahu government and its supporters, does anyone believe that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) is inciting the rioting and terror in East Jerusalem? Does anyone think the gunmen and killer drivers and adolescent stone-throwers are taking their cues from Ramallah’s 79-year-old bureaucrat-in-chief? Conversely, does anyone think that if Abbas were to call publicly and repeatedly for an end to…

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