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  • What's so threatening about human rights?

    The Right doesn't reject the concept of universal human rights because it threatens the Zionist project, they do so because it would mean seeing Palestinians as equals.  By Dror Etkes There is a positive aspect to the continuing, orchestrated campaign by Israel's right-wing government and its helpers against "leftist" organizations, which many seem not to be paying attention to. As the campaign goes on, it helps create an intuitive, collective understanding for most people who have refrained from dedicating their life to understanding the inner politics of left-wing organizations in Israel, that there is no room for the artificial barrier…

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  • Political persecution won't stop us from breaking our silence

    The orchestrated onslaught against Israeli anti-occupation groups have led to death threats and physical attacks. But we will not be scared — we are determined to save our country from the same messianic, nationalistic, and racist forces that harm it. By Yuli Novak Over the last few months, as the Israeli government is less helpless in the face of terror and our foreign relations are at an unprecedented low — we have experienced, for the first time, what political persecution feels like. The ongoing campaign against Breaking the Silence is not intended to criticize or argue over political opinions. The…

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  • The Israeli Left needs to step up its game

    Herzog's new diplomatic plan goes against the real interests of all those who live between the river and the sea — Jews and Arabs alike. Now it's up to the Left to come up with a new vision based on real coexistence.  The Labor Party committee decided last week that it was officially parting with the two-state solution. The decision was not preceded by passionate discussions, nor was it extensively covered by the media. Had Prime Minister Netanyahu and Labor Chairman Isaac Herzog not traded barbs a few days later, I highly doubt anyone would have noticed. Even more than…

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  • When will the Left start talking about Israeli trauma?

    Without recognizing how deep-seated the trauma of ordinary Israelis really is, the Israeli peace camp will continue to be seen as elitist and disconnected. By Yakir Englander (translated by Dr. Henry R. Carse) My political opinions are aligned with Israel’s Left, but I was not born that way. Even today my personal Israeli narrative is far from typically liberal. I grew up in a modern ultra-Orthodox Jewish community in the city of Bnei Brak, and although I am sociologically far from that context today, many of the core values that still influence me stem from the Hasidic tradition. When I was…

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  • Being a Mizrahi woman in the Left

    My leftism is beyond the establishment, and it stems first and foremost from my experiences as an outsider. By Netta Amar-Shiff I grew up in a house that was mostly involved in maintaining family unity and keeping the mitzvot, all within the geographical radius of my home, my synagogue, and my school. Although I never knew who or what Arabs were, I knew a little bit of Arabic, since I lived with my grandmother, may her memory be a blessing, for several years. When I was young knowledge of the language did not serve as a bridge for anyone in…

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  • We need a center-left political alternative in Israel

    This is not a time for ideological purity. There is an overriding goal and that is ending the Occupation. By Jeremiah Haber Since the election of Ehud Barak as prime minister in 1999, if not earlier, there has been no center-left in Israel. Of course, there has been something referred to as “center-left” but that was only relative to the so-called Right of the Likud, Kadima, Shinui, Yesh Atid, and defunct parties whose names I forget. Former prime minister Ehud Barak managed almost single-handedly to destroy the center-left, which had supported recognition of the rights of the Palestinians to self-determination,…

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  • Stop asking whether Israel is Jewish or democratic

    This isn’t a choice between 'Jewish or democratic' — the only question is whether Israel can still become a true democracy. For some years, the political center-left in Israel has committed itself to the idea of a Jewish and democratic state. For these mostly secular and traditional people, “Jewish” used to mean some sort of cultural character, and democracy meant free and fair elections. This political camp is deeply committed to the balance between those two ideas and believes that when one overtakes the other, we are lost. [tmwinpost] Thus if Israel is too “Jewish,” it risks becoming a halakhic…

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  • The Israeli Left must realize it is at war

    When will the Jewish Left wake up and come to terms with the fact that the rules of the game have changed? It seems that even the most skeptical of radical left-wing activists in Israel were taken by surprise by the aggressive, relentless, and mounting attacks that we have witnessed over these past few days against left-wing activists. This madness refuses to die down. Day after day we hear about arrests of left-wing activists, who disappear into their cells without ever being informed of what they are being accused. The police slap a gag order on the entire story, preventing…

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  • Maybe there's just no room for human rights in Israel

    Those trying to delegitimize rights groups because their funds come from overseas are sending a very clear message: human and civil rights are not values that exist naturally in Israel. Left-leaning Israelis have for decades warned that the occupation will one day come home to roost — that the injustices visited upon Palestinians in the territories will eventually undermine the democratic fabric of Israel itself. [tmwinpost] Such warnings are problematic, since they suggest that military occupation is somehow acceptable as long as it isn’t detrimental to the occupier. But at the end of the day warnings that “occupation corrupts” ring true,…

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  • Yossi Sarid: Conservative innovator of the Israeli Left

    One of the first Israeli politicians to champion the two-state solution, Yossi Sarid was also one of the last vestiges of the Israeli Left's old guard. He will be remembered warmly for never turning away a person in need, but also for his contentious attitudes toward religious and Mizrahi Jews.  For better or worse, there has never been a more perfect embodiment of the old Israeli left than columnist and politician Yossi Sarid, who passed away from a heart attack age 75 late last week. He was an uncompromising champion of human and civil rights, of free speech, of separation…

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  • Plenty of talk about 'peace,' little commitment

    When leaders from center-left aren't willing to deepen the struggle against the occupation, it's hard not to feel that they, too, prefer the status quo. Notes from the Haaretz Conference for Peace. The most genuine moments at Thursday's Haaretz Conference on Peace came from two right-wing speakers — Yariv Levin and Ze'ev Elkin, both ministers in Netanyahu's government — who unequivocally called the two state-solution a "hallucination," which they have no plans of ever implementing. Since neither of them have any intention of granting citizenship to Palestinians under occupation, they view the current situation as the solution. Around the same…

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  • No Netanyahu, we refuse to keep living by the sword

    The Israeli prime minister says Israelis are doomed to a permanent state of war. It's time to show him that we aren't willing to come along for the ride — that we believe in a future for us and our children. Although it is likely that Netanyahu didn't intend it, the prime minister may have just granted the Left its ticket to victory. At a Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee meeting on Monday, Netanyahu said the following: "I am asked if we will forever live by the sword – yes." And with those eight short words, Netanyahu summed up the…

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  • Where have Israel's leftists gone? The changing face of Labor

    The Labor party is convinced that it can somehow disassociate itself with the Left, call itself the ‘center’ and sneak its way back into power with semantic tricks. It will take the entire left-wing camp down with it. By Tom Cohen Last year, a delegation of Knesset members went to visit PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. Among the MKs who participated were Hilik Bar of Labor and Tamar Zandberg of Meretz. There had been a terror attack a few days earlier and there was some pressure to cancel the visit. But MK Bar, who was the head of the Knesset’s Two-State…

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+972 is an independent, blog-based web magazine. It was launched in August 2010, resulting from a merger of a number of popular English-language blogs dealing with life and politics in Israel and Palestine.

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