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jewish and democratic

  • Goodbye status quo: Israel's impending moment of truth

    There are no guarantees that the near future will herald freedom for Israel/Palestine. It will, however, shatter the perception of comfort that has paralyzed Israel since the beginning of the millennium. By Ran Greenstein When we look at the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a curious pattern can be detected. Every 20 or 30 years a major turning point is reached. This happens in part due to pure coincidence, and in part due to natural processes involving generational change, which takes two or three decades to mature. The cycle started in 1897 with the foundation of the Zionist movement, which…

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  • The many denials of liberal Zionism

    From its origins until today, liberal Zionism has been unable to reconcile Israeli policies of dispossession and military control with the image of a democratic state. Is it merely a matter of semantics, or inherent to the ideology? Part two of Ran Greenstein's analysis. By Ran Greenstein As discussed in the previous part of this article, liberal Zionists like Arthur Ruppin and Hans Kohn responded in divergent ways to the challenge of reconciling broad universal values with narrow Zionist aims. What they shared with other activists and intellectuals, though, was full realization of the costs involved in their choices. This…

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  • On left-wing NGOs and asylum seekers, 'Jerusalem Post' is all doublespeak

    In an editorial published Tuesday, 'The Jerusalem Post' accused left-wing NGOs of bringing African asylum seekers to Israel in order to undermine the state's Jewish majority. By accusing the Left of such Machiavellian tactics, the Post's editorial board is, quite simply, inciting against those whose political views it disagrees with. By Natasha Roth The Jerusalem Post saw fit to publish what is ostensibly a critical editorial about the recent protests by African asylum seekers in Israel on Tuesday, but which amounts to little more than a poison-pen letter to the country's left-wing NGOs. Using the familiar trojan horse of the demographic…

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  • Denying 'Israeli nationality' only perpetuates discrimination

    One group of Israelis is working tirelessly to ensure that every citizen of Israel feels like they belong, regardless of religion or ethnicity. By Uzzi Ornan (Translated by Jordan Michaeli) There is a discriminatory regime in Israel, a regime under which citizens are granted and denied rights on the basis of whether they are Jews or non-Jews. Separate laws were made to determine citizens' personal status or issues such as the state's official days of rest. Even if an Israeli citizen does not believe the government should be able to decide whether they “belong” (or if they "belong") to any…

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  • Why I oppose recognizing Israel as a Jewish state

    A country can, at least in theory, be 'Israeli and democratic.' It cannot and will never be 'Jewish and democratic.' Early into his second term as prime minister, as he was presenting his conditions for negotiations with the Palestinian Authority, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a new demand for any final status agreement, one which was absent from every previous round of talks, both formal and informal. Unlike his predecessors, Netanyahu wasn't satisfied with Palestinian recognition of the State of Israel, something the PLO did in 1988, and once again as part of the Oslo Accords. He wants them to…

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  • A 'truly' Jewish democracy: On the ideology of Likud's Moshe Feiglin

    Moshe Feiglin is one of the Likud party's most extreme members, and one of its most clear and systematic ideologues. He is the head of the party's 'Jewish Leadership' group, and the 23rd name on the Likud-Beitenu list for the next Knesset elections. The following is an attempt by religion researcher Tomer Persico to assess Feiglin's views on popular sovereignty and democracy.  By Tomer Persico The coming elections in Israel will introduce many new faces to the Knesset. Unless something very surprising happens, among those will be Moshe Feiglin, who heads a group called Jewish Leadership and has for the past…

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  • Why the Left shouldn't take boycott law to the High Court

    The Left's instinct to petition the courts against anti-democratic laws is counterproductive and misplaced. It’s time for Israel to pay the price for its legislation. The Knesset approved yesterday the anti-boycott law, pretty much in its original form. The list of the undertakers of Israeli democracy can be read here (Hebrew). Exceptional swinishness was expressed by MK Uri Orbach, who heckled MK Ahmed Tibi’s speech by calling “your time is over – it was over in 1948.” This particular gem was repeated by MK Carmel Shama (Lamma Ding Dong) Ha’Cohen. A few minutes after the bill was passed into law,…

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  • Passover: Why did god harden the Pharaoh's heart?

    If the pharaoh is not allowed to repent, why go through with the charade of giving him an option? If the point is a display of divine power, why does one need to go through the pharaoh at all? Tonight marks the beginning of the Jewish holiday of Passover, commemorating the Israelites' exodus from Egypt. On this occasion, each Jew is expected to consider herself as having personally participated in this historical event; because if the exodus had not happened, Jews would still be slaves in Egypt. Therefore, this event has contributed to every Jew's liberation in perpetuity. Taken literally,…

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  • Democratic for Jews, Jewish for everyone else

    Despite the hysteria of the past week, Israeli democracy is in perfect health. Well, for the Jewish citizens of the country anyway. Avigdor Lieberman's push to investigate leftist NGO's is a political trick which lacks significant power to change the situation on the ground. Lieberman's trick was designed to cast the Israeli left as reactionary and quick to cry wolf. It largely achieved its goals. The incredible mobilization to 'save Israeli democracy' reinforces the notion that democracy for Jews is in perfect health. The left was attacked, people took to the streets and the system worked. If Lieberman's desire to…

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