Ironically, the boycott movement actually expresses some level of faith in Israeli democracy by assuming a little pressure might motivate it to change. When the most recent flotilla set sail for Gaza to protest Israel's eight-year blockade, Prime Minister Netanyahu wrote an open letter to the activists. In a tone dripping with sarcasm, he suggested they had taken a wrong turn on the way to Syria. It’s part of a theme repeated obsessively: “there are worse violations elsewhere, but no one ever protests them. Therefore, protesting the occupation on behalf of Palestinians is hypocritical, anti-Israel or anti-Semitic. Therefore, it can be…Read More... | 9 Comments
By rejecting a petition by Palestinian residents of Area C, Israel's High Court of Justice effectively cemented two separate planning regimes on the same plot of land: one for Jews, another for Palestinians. Israel's High Court of Justice on Tuesday rejected a petition to grant planning authority to Palestinians in Area C of the West Bank so they can build on their own land. In doing so, Justices Elyakim Rubinstein, Noam Solberg and Neil Hendel solidified the current status quo, in which two separate planning systems exist in the West Bank: one for Jews and another for Palestinians. [tmwinpost] While Jewish…Read More... | 5 Comments
I grew up in a settlement. I met more Palestinians that the average Israeli. But it was only during my military service in the West Bank that I realized our 47-year rule over the occupied territories must come to an end. By Shay Davidovich Elections have always fascinated me. As a child, I insisted on staying up late to hear the preliminary results and the party leaders’ initial responses – all happy to declare the dawn of a new era. The soldier’s votes were always counted late, but were never seemingly influential, at most one seat here or there. Interested…Read More... | 3 Comments
What does it feel like to be thought of as someone who endangers democracy? Sometimes, all it takes is having dark skin, curls and a kippa. Thoughts on Mizrahi identity from Haaretz's Conference on Democracy. By Eli Bareket Several weeks ago I attended the Israel Conference on Democracy sponsored by the liberal Haaretz daily. It was truly impressive. Around 1,000 polite and friendly people attended — those for whom Israeli democracy matters and who could set aside a day. Eva Illouz was also in attendance, and even said a lot of wise things such as, "democracy is a regime in which…Read More...
The upcoming elections could provide a golden opportunity for the Palestinian minority in Israel to become power brokers in the political system. That is, if Labor leader and election frontrunner Isaac Herzog brings the Arab MKs into his coalition. By: Thair Abu Rass The upcoming Israeli elections are a historic opportunity for the Palestinian minority in Israel. For the first time ever they have the possibility of becoming the power brokers in any future coalition. According to recent polls, a unified Arab slate consisting of the four major parties: Hadash (a joint Jewish-Arab party, where nearly 95% of its voters…Read More... | 11 Comments
Imagine that at the peak of the Ferguson protests, President Obama — or any other American official — had issued a formal statement threatening to revoke the citizenship of African Americans who chose not to keep their mouths shut. By Seraj Assi and Lawrence McMahon Israeli police shot dead a young Arab citizen in the town of Kafr Kanna in the lower Galilee this past week. Numerous reports have suggested that the victim, Kheir Hamdan, was shot simply because he was an Arab. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seemingly conceded the same conclusion when, prior to any investigation whatsoever into…Read More... | 3 Comments
The debate over the state of Israeli democracy (or the rise of fascism) is code designed for lefty Zionists. Others don't get it, and it may even do more harm than good. Some thoughts following Haaretz's interview with Prof. Ze’ev Sternhell. There has been growing discussion over the last few weeks regarding the risk of fascism in Israel and the dangers to Israeli democracy, most recently in an extensive interview by Prof. Ze’ev Sternhell in Haaretz. I hold Sternhell in high regard, and his book, The Birth of Fascist Ideology, is among the few required readings in my undergraduate degree I actually remember in some…Read More... | 17 Comments
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?”…Read More... | 45 Comments
Just because Sisi and Assad are close by doesn't mean their disgusting policies seep through the border and infiltrate the Israeli system, poisoning our minds. Why not compare ourselves to countries we actually want to be more like? I gotta tell you, I'm really tired of this. I'm tired of Jewish right wingers in Israel and the U.S. who say things along the lines of, "Christians have it bad here? You should see what goes on next door in Syria and Egypt," or things like, "you want to talk to me about human rights? Look at how Assad is butchering his…Read More... | 40 Comments
Zionism has come to refer not to the many ways of building Israel, but to a litmus test. Any answer other than ‘I am a Zionist,’ is akin to being un-American in the 1950s. I didn’t join a Labor Zionist youth movement at 14 because I thought of myself as a Zionist. Actually I shied away from group identities, bouncing among social cliques at school and staying away from team sports. My parents just didn’t know what to do with me one summer and they heard about a nice Jewish camp, not too expensive. The Habonim-Dror camp turned out to…Read More... | 16 Comments
By Tal Schneider countup Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has not given a single interview to the Israeli press since January 19, 2013. Not one question answered at a press conference, not a single one-on-one, and forget about a roundtable. In a democracy, this is incomprehensible. Amit Segal’s Channel 2 story on the matter (‘A year since the elections – the prime minister refuses to be interviews’, [Heb]) says it all. Nothing happened even after that. Netanyahu grants numerous interviews in many languages to the foreign press -- but not in Hebrew to Israeli reporters. As a political blogger, I…Read More... | 17 Comments
The absurd contradiction between advancing bills with paranoid, dictator-style accusations of 'foreign meddling,' while throwing temper tantrums over the loss of that meddling for the sake of strengthening the occupation is deeply disheartening. Knesset members from two right-wing parties in Knesset have revived a bill to limit foreign government funding of left-wing Israeli NGOs. The original legislation was halted by the previous Knesset following both domestic and international criticism, including from Israel’s Attorney General. The current version of the bill is being described as “softer,” version but as a fine op-ed in Haaretz by Amir Fuchs of the Israel Democracy…Read More... | 21 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
OUR WEEKLY NEWSLETTERSubmit
Full coverage of the BDS movement, international pressure on Israel to end the occupation.
The Beaten Path
Travel writer and tour guide Yuval Ben-Ami deconstructs the Holy Land's tourist trail.
On the challenges facing a growing population of asylum seekers and refugees in Israel.
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