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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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  • What's an Ashkenazi leftist to do?

    One Ashkenazi leftist’s view of the post-election rumblings of class warfare between the "State of Tel Aviv" and the mainly Mizrahi periphery. Last Tuesday’s election saw Likud’s traditional popular base — Mizrahim in the poor, development towns and cities of the Negev and Galilee, and poor neighborhoods and suburbs of the central region — vote for Likud and Netanyahu in very big numbers. This caused a backlash among many Ashkenazi liberals who voted Zionist Union and Meretz. They’re saying they are through caring about the Mizrahi poor; let them go to Bibi from now on. This, in turn, has caused a counter-backlash…

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  • It's time for a one-state solution

    There is no use convincing the Jewish public to support the two-state solution, especially when over 500,000 settlers live beyond the Green Line and there is no guarantee that a Palestinian state will not be the source of terror against Israelis. The only way forward is to grant full equality to all. By Yonatan Amir Every time I say that the two-state solution is no longer realistic, and that we need to think about new approaches to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, center-left voters respond with anger, condescension and pity. They claim that this is a far-fetched idea, not to mention…

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  • The most important word missing from these elections

    If the Left wants to win elections, it cannot continue to hide its true principles. It must speak clearly and openly about the most pressing issue facing Israel: the occupation. By Amir Segal Isaac Herzog will not be Israel's next prime minister, and Benjamin Netanyahu overwhelmingly won this election. Now is the time when leftists most often express remorse, admit their mistakes and look for someone to blame for their defeat. The analysis on the loss ranges from long-winded explanations regarding Netanyahu's success to listing every single failure of Herzog Zionist Camp. It has become socially acceptable to blame the…

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