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knesset

  • The agonies of being an Arab democrat in the Knesset

    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?”…

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  • When the canons roar, the Israeli Left remains silent

    It appears not much has changed since Operation Cast Lead, when opposition leader Haim Oron tragically decided to support the military offensive. Rather than apologizing and giving evasive answers to the media, the Left, led by the failed opposition leader, should be standing up to yell 'enough!' By Elinor Davidov It took seven days of "Operation Brother's Keeper" for the leaders of the Israeli Left in the opposition to say, sofly, that there is a problem with the current military operation, with its goals and with its implementation. For the first time, a week of collective punishment, a closure on the…

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  • Livni’s number two: We should leave the government now

    MK Mitzna adds that he hopes the departure of his party from the coalition will lead to its downfall.   Amram Mitzna, former head of Labor party and currently number two in Tzipi Livni’s Tnuah party, called on his fellow party members to leave Netanyahu’s government due to the prime minister’s lack of commitment to the peace process. “I don’t believe Netanyahu anymore that he is interested in a settlement with the Palestinians,” said Mitzna in a public political event in Kfar Saba. Mitzna added that he hopes the Tnuah’s departure from the coalition will make the government fall. Netanyahu’s…

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  • Time to end the delegitimization of Arab Knesset members

    Any time the subject of Arab legislators or Arab parties in Israel comes up, someone always feels the tiresome need to mouth off about how horrible Arab members of Knesset are. With crocodile tears, they accuse those MKs of manipulating or forgetting Arab citizens and getting lost in their occupation obsession (a thin guise for their real goal which is the destruction of Israel), instead of working to improve the lives of their voters. With all due respect, I’d like to blow this nonsense out of the water with a few facts. A recent quantitative study by the Abraham Fund…

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  • To fight anti-democratic legislation, Palestinian citizens must unite

    As Israel's right wing escalates its attempts at silencing Israel's Palestinian minority, Ran Greenstein offers the Arab street an alternative approach at fighting back.  By Ran Greenstein “At the end of every sentence you say in Hebrew there's an Arab with a hookah” (Meir Ariel, a Song of Pain) There is no Israeli politician, past or present, for whom this phrase is more applicable than Avigdor Liberman. His brainchild, the Governance Law, which was adopted by the Knesset earlier this week, raises the electoral threshold from 2% to 3.25%. This may not seem a lot, but had it been in…

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  • Why the electoral threshold stokes internal conflict

    A half-empty Knesset voted Tuesday to approve an electoral reform bill theoretically intended to stabilize governance in a country with a notoriously unstable system by raising the voting threshold to 3.25% from the current 2% (itself an increase from earlier years), among other reforms. To understand why change elicits such visceral reactions, it should be viewed in the context of three aspects: the Israeli political system, Jewish-Arab relations, and majority-minority relations more broadly. The Israeli political system No party in Israel has ever won an absolute majority in the Knesset, and there has always been a governing coalition. Those coalitions…

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  • Welcome to the era of the single-ethnic party

    Inspired by the Israeli Arab parties of Knesset, who will likely be forced to join forces in order to remain politically relevant, Jewish Australian parliamentarians from the left and the right form their own joint party. Just cause they can. [SATIRE] By Sol Salbe In a move that has stunned observers, Australia's three Jewish MPs have announced that they will be running in a joint electoral formation in the next elections. The move by the Opposition Australian Labor Party's Michael Danby and Mark Dreyfus, along with the conservative Josh Frydenberg of Tony Abbott's ruling Liberal Party, has been endorsed by…

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  • It's the occupation and Israeli bigotry that are anti-Semitic

    What we do to the Palestinians and Israeli Arabs - in the last two days, for example - has caused more damage to the Jewish people than anything since the Holocaust. Who knows? Maybe the Jordanian judge, Raed Zueter, killed by Israeli soldiers Monday, went mad from grief over his critically ill 5-year-old son lying in a coma, and really did attack the troops, and maybe they truly had no choice but to kill him in self-defense. Or maybe there was no such attack, maybe there was just an argument and the soldiers got a little trigger happy, not for…

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  • Where is the Palestinian candidate for Israel’s presidency?

    When a minority consistently feels disenfranchised and excluded, it retreats from civil society. Now is the time to ensure that Israel’s Palestinian minority and its elected representatives no longer take that route - for the sake of all citizens. By Ilan Manor Following the shameful presidency of convicted rapist Moshe Katzav, most Israelis felt that only Nobel Prize laureate Shimon Peres could restore dignity to the office of president. In the past six-and-a-half years in office, Peres not only rehabilitated the presidency, he also revitalized it and its influence. There is no greater testament to his success than the fact that…

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  • WATCH: The Knesset's all-out war against the Left

    Earlier this month, the Ministerial Committee for Legislation approved the preparation of and support for a new ‘NGO law.’ The law would impose a 45 percent tax on donations to NGOs calling for a boycott of Israel, the prosecution IDF soldiers, that deny Israel’s state symbols. The NGO law is the latest of some 30 anti-democratic laws that have been put forth under Netanyahu’s last two terms. http://youtu.be/0AHhnIwyfA0 Related: Right-wing parties revive attack on left-wing NGOs Foreign influence, transparency problems of NGO Monitor

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  • Photos of the week: The long walk to freedom

    Photos By: Keren Manor, Oren Ziv, Yotam Ronen, Tali Mayer / Activestills.org This last week, nearly 200 Sudanese asylum seekers refused to check in to their nightly roll call at the Holot 'open' prison in Israel' south, choosing instead to march to Jerusalem in protest of their imprisonment without trial and the state's failure to respond to their asylum claims. After spending a night sleeping on the floor of the Be'er Sheva central bus station and another night on a kibbutz, they completed their march to the Knesset where they were met by Israeli immigration officers who arrested them forced…

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  • Israel 2013: Netanyahu preaches the lessons of Rabin's murder

    And nobody objects. I was listening on the radio to the prime minister's speech in the Knesset on Wednesday for the 18th anniversary (on the Hebrew calendar) of the Rabin assassination, and it just struck me how far we’ve come in this country. Bibi Netanyahu is now preaching to Israel the lessons of Rabin's murder. And nobody says anything. Members of the Rabin family sitting in the Knesset, whatever they were thinking, didn’t say a word. Neither did the MKs of the Labor Party or Meretz, or MK Ahmed Tibi or anybody else who lived through that time and understands…

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  • 'Occupation will never be consistent with human rights'

    +972 speaks with the Association for Civil Rights in Israel’s executive director Hagai El-Ad, discussing bittersweet legal victories, the downward trajectory of civil rights in Israel and how ACRI is facing its greatest challenge, winning over the Israeli public.  Hagai El-Ad’s change in career paths came from a self-realization that his destiny was not in some distant galaxy, but very much grounded on Earth, specifically, in Israel’s civil rights arena. The executive director of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), El-Ad, 43, earned a master’s degree in astrophysics before moving to the nonprofit sector. In 2000, he became…

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