To most Jewish Israelis they don’t have names or faces — they are at worst rioters and stone-throwers waving Palestinian flags; at best they are a discriminated-against minority. Their new activism is partly the result of generational divides and new technologies that have connected them to the rest of the Arab world that had been shut off since the birth of the State of Israel. In part it is the result of recent Israeli attacks against their relatives in the West Bank and Gaza, discriminatory police violence and a long history of political repression. No small number of factors has…Read More... | 12 Comments
From bombs dropped on innocent children in Gaza to the increasing gap between rich and poor, there are many good reasons why the current government needs to go. 1. Israel is going to early elections, but not because this government went on an unnecessary adventure in Gaza killing 500 innocent children only a few months ago. 2. Israel is going to early elections, but not because this government failed in making any progress toward ending the occupation of millions of Palestinians, while continually denying them the basic right to determine their own future. 3. Israel is going to early elections,…Read More... | 18 Comments
In order to avoid theocracy, apartheid and civil war, one Israeli believes it is time for her fellow Jewish citizens to start re-imagining their identity. By Dorit Naaman Fine, I am not yet a Palestinian Jew, but in 10 to 15 years - and certainly in my lifetime - this place will be called Palestine, and I will be a citizen of Jewish-Israeli heritage. By saying I am a Palestinian Jew I am being neither flippant nor provocative, as my critics would likely hasten to argue. Instead, I am analyzing the current reality and describing the future - utopian, or…Read More... | 43 Comments
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently proposed enshrining the Jewish character of Israel into a basic law, the closest thing Israel has to a constitution. What would such a law mean for Israel's Palestinian minority? Israeli academic Oren Yiftachel talks about 'ethnocracy,' a term he coined that describes the Israeli regime. By Lia Tarachansky / ‘The Real News’ Lia Tarachansky is an Israeli-Russian journalist with The Real News Network reporting on Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. She is the director of ”On the Side of the Road,” a documentary on Israel's biggest taboo - the events of 1948 when the state…Read More... | 19 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
The 'conflict of narratives' hoax wins the day. You've got to hand it to Bibi – he is the master of micro-politics. What he lacks in vision he makes up for with details. He is also becoming very good at setting the media's agenda, something he wasn’t able to do in either his first term or the first couple of years of his second term. The “Jewish State” demand has effectively cornered Abbas into a familiar position: the Palestinians will reject a generous Israeli offer, without actually being offered anything. This has turned out to be the most incredible turn of…Read More... | 76 Comments
The Israeli prime minister tells reporters he wouldn't 'uproot' a single Israeli. Netanyahu's office later explains that the object of the new demand is to score points against the Palestinian Authority by 'exposing its real face.' A couple of statements from Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu are adding to the confusion over the kind of solution he envisions, if he supports one at all. Answering a question from a reporter in Davos regarding the possible evacuation of Jordan Valley settlements – Israel seeks to keep IDF forces along the Jordan River even after any withdrawal – Netanyahu said that he “wouldn’t…Read More... | 25 Comments
The fact that Israeli and American right-wingers are attacking Secretary Kerry should not make him immune to criticism from within the peace camp. Troubling reports have been coming out of the Israeli-American-Palestinian negotiations in recent weeks. According to Israeli and Palestinian media, Secretary of State Kerry’s initiative appears to be growing less ambitious with each passing day. The goal to get the two parties to agree on an outline for a final status agreement was abandoned long ago. Now, the Israelis and Palestinians are waiting on an American peace offer, which also seems to have been gradually demoted. What at…Read More... | 14 Comments
According to reports, the secretary of state has accepted Netanyahu’s demand that Israel be recognized as a 'Jewish state.' I added an important update to this post, see below. Haaretz's Barak Ravid reported Wednesday that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is demanding that Arab leaders pressure the Palestinians to recognize Israel as "a Jewish State,” or at least not protest if he can get Abbas to agree to such terms. This is yet another confirmation that the Obama administration has accepted the new demand posed by Netanyahu, and that it is intended to be a part of its proposal for a…Read More... | 32 Comments
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…Read More... | 46 Comments
We do not need to find identical practices to those prevailing in pre-1994 South Africa in order to determine whether apartheid exists elsewhere. By Ran Greenstein For a few years now, opinion pieces and articles in the South African and Israeli press have shown confusion regarding the meaning of the comparison between Israel and apartheid South Africa. How can we sort out the conceptual mess that afflicts the debates around the issue? First, let us examine the meaning of apartheid. The term defines the race-based regime of political domination and social marginalisation that ruled South Africa from 1948 to 1994. Alongside…Read More... | 38 Comments
When Gila Hashkes arrived at UC Berkeley as a Jewish Agency Israel Fellow, she felt like she was jumping into the heart of pro-Palestinian activism. Her job was to organize Jewish students on campus, strengthen their connection to Israel and give them tools to justify its policies. But after a year-long journey of digging deeper into the conflict, being pushed by both her Jewish and Palestinian peers and glimpsing the ‘mentality of fear’ that grips the American Jewish community, she had an awakening of sorts, moved back to Jerusalem and now works for equal rights for all. Tom Pessah sits…Read More... | 52 Comments
While Obama's speech was biased, antiquated and problematic, it did include a handful of statements, ideas and words that provide even the slightest bit of hope. By Moriel Rothman So. Huh. President Barack Obama just finished his speech here in Jerusalem, a few blocks away from where I am sitting. I want to get some thoughts out, initial reactions before I delve into others’ analyses, interpretations, et cetera. The speech was, as we all knew that it would be, filled with strategic gloop designed to make Israelis feel good. Most of it was vague, theoretical, and not substantially or symbolically different than…Read More... | 14 Comments
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