Analysis News

Israeli Arabs

  • The agonies of being an Arab democrat in the Knesset

    When establishing the Knesset’s Palestinian democratic party, the founders of Balad had to shift their discourse and terminology: from the liberation of Palestine and the establishment of one inclusive democratic state, to the reinvention of Israel as a democratic state, the party's secretary general writes. But has such a shift paid off? By Awad Abdelfattah On the eve of the 2009 Knesset elections, as I stepped off a platform following a political debate, an Israeli journalist approached me. "Is it true that you don’t vote,” she asked, “even though you are secretary general of a party that takes part in elections?”…

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  • The Israeli media’s hit job on MK Haneen Zoabi

    In a now-infamous radio interview, the nation’s Public Enemy No. 1 made it clear she disagreed with the kidnapping of the three Israeli boys. But that part has been edited out of the story by every major news medium except 'Haaretz.' Once again, Knesset member Haneen Zoabi, a Palestinian from Nazareth, is Public Enemy No. 1 in Israel. The Knesset just gave her a bodyguard because of all the death threats she's been getting, and she's being investigated for incitement. Everyone is convinced she endorsed the kidnappings of the three Israeli teenagers. I was convinced, too, after I heard the…

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  • Palestinian-Israeli journalist on bail after incommunicado arrest

    Majd Kayyal, 23, a journalist from Haifa who also works as editor for civil rights center Adalah, is out on bail  after  days of solitary confinement and interrogation since his arrest on Saturday night. The gag order on the case was lifted hours earlier, after activists in Israel and abroad ignored the ban.  Update: The Haifa District Court on Thursday morning released Majd Kayyal, a 23-year-old Palestinian citizen of Israel and a journalist from Haifa, who was arrested as he was traveling home from Beirut last Saturday night. Police prosecutors who originally applied for an extended remand earlier this week said…

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  • Why Land Day still matters

    Today, with no resolution in sight to the historic injustices inflicted upon them, Palestinians in Israel and elsewhere use this day to remember and redouble their efforts for emancipation. By Sam Bahour and Fida Jiryis Every year since 1976, on March 30, Palestinians around the world have commemorated Land Day. Though it may sound like an environmental celebration, Land Day marks a bloody day in Israel when security forces gunned down six Palestinians as they protested Israeli expropriation of Arab-owned land in the country’s north to build Jewish-only settlements. The Land Day victims were not Palestinians from the occupied territory…

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  • Law dividing Christians, Muslims is a classic colonial tactic

    Instead of promoting equality and the non-racialization of citizenship in Israel, right-wing MKs are adopting a classic colonial law to weaken the non-Jewish community’s 'threat' to the country's ethnic order. By Amjad Iraqi The Knesset this week enacted a new law that legally distinguishes between Christian and Muslim citizens of Israel regarding employment opportunities. Though the law does not make a significant impact on its own, more bills are expected to be introduced that emphasize the same distinction. The Knesset member behind the bill, Yariv Levin (Likud-Beiteinu), believes that such measures promoting the division of Palestinian citizens of Israel will…

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  • When Zionism is racism: Ron Dermer and Bibi Netanyahu, on the record

    Imagine if a politician in another country had bragged about lowering a minority group's birthrate - like Netanyahu and his new ambassador to the U.S. did. Ron Dermer, who was named by Netanyahu yesterday to be Israel's new ambassador to the United States, is known as an even more right-wing Republican version of his boss. Haaretz's Barak Ravid wrote: Dermer's positions on policy are far more extreme than Netanyahu's. European and American officials have expressed shock by his positions on the settlement issue, on peace talks with the Palestinians, and on the principle of an independent Palestinian state. It gets…

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  • Israeli Arabs should do national service - for everyone's sake

    It would do wonders for equality and integration, and Israeli Arabs seem willing to volunteer, but they're being pounded from both sides by Arab and Jewish nationalists. In principle, I don’t think there would be anything unjust in going so far as to draft Israeli Arab youths to do a year or two of civilian national service in hospitals, schools, etc.  – even though there is a well-known, deeply entrenched pattern of discrimination against Arab citizens in this country. If it’s unjust to draft them to do national service in an old-age home, it’s much more unjust to force them…

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  • WATCH: Israeli ban on family reunification, a 'temporary measure?'

    The amendment to Israel's Citizenship Law, enacted by the government in 2002 in the midst of the second intifada, prohibits Palestinians from the Occupied Territories and citizens of enemy states from entering into Israel for family reunification. Meanwhile the attacks of the Intifada have stopped and a decade had passed. Separated families, however, continue to pay the price. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xPjbJD4REOc

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  • Sailing on a wave of racism: A nautical tale

    When a pleasant tour of the Sea of Galilee turns into a display of potentially deadly racism, life becomes even more complicated for an Israeli representative. It was a gorgeous day to be on the water, and the water itself was gorgeous. The Sea of Galilee, stroked by springtime winds, overlooked by mountains with names as beautiful as the slopes themselves: Arbel, Golan, Jabel Ash-Sheikh, Mt. Canaan. Our group was made up mostly of American tourists. There were two Israelis, myself being one, and one Palestinian. This tour of the Holy Land is given by Mejdi, which offers dual narrative…

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  • WATCH: Arab women protest against domestic violence in Israel

    In the past decade, 76 Arab women have been murdered in domestic violence in Israel. The 'Committee for the Struggle against the Murder of Women in Arab Society' held an event protesting murder and violence against Arab women. Families of the victims are still demanding justice since most of the murderers are still free.

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  • A smug, bourgeois Israeli 'social protest'

    Despite the wishes of many -- if not most -- of the people in the streets, the masses who identify with the 'social protest' are callous to those whose complaints are so much more urgent than theirs.   Even though I've always agreed with the stated goal of the "social protest" - to redistribute Israel's wealth more equitably - I can no longer sympathize with it. While many if not most of the people in the streets would like to turn the movement against the occupation and not only against "swinish capitalism," this hasn't happened after two years of protest.…

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  • What Israeli Arabs really want from their leaders

    It's not what the Jewish majority likes to believe.  A common Jewish Israeli criticism of Arab Knesset members is that they do a disservice to their constituents by focusing on high politics, mainly the Palestinian issue, instead of dealing with bread-and-butter economic issues that would really help them. (There may be something self-serving about this line of criticism, but who knows?) Last week I went to Jedeida-Makker, an Israeli Arab village a couple of miles inland from Acre, to hear Balad MK Haneen Zoabi give a campaign speech. The residents, including the local council head, indeed told her that she…

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  • Demonizing the Nakba

    Despite what Israeli Jews believe, on Nakba Day, this country's Arab citizens aren't mourning Israel's creation, but rather what it cost them.  When left-leaning Haaretz explains in a news story that the Nakba Day events are "commemorating the 'disaster' of Israel's formation," this country has got a problem. If Haaretz doesn't understand that Israeli Arabs are mourning what they and the other Palestinians lost in the 1948 war, not the state the Jews gained by winning it, then the attitude here toward the Nakba is worse than I thought. It's not just that right-wingers are deliberately distorting the Nakba's meaning into something malevolent and traitorous, it's that even well-meaning liberals have come by the same…

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