As the death of legendary Israeli singer and actor Arik Einstein became a nationwide event, it became clear that some of his mourners were more interested in lamenting what they saw as the end of Ashkenazi rule in Israel. Tom Pessah talks about the role that someone as great as Einstein can play in creating real change. By Tom Pessah I spent yesterday working on my dissertation at Tel Aviv University. Israeli students can be noisy, even in libraries, but the Sourasky Central Library is generally very quiet. I have my own corner on the first floor where I can…Read More... | 8 Comments
Liberal Zionism has had 65 years to prove Israel can indeed be both a Jewish state and a liberal democracy. Given its track record, is it time to put the ideology to rest? By David Sheen Imagine if you would, for a minute, that Liberal Zionists have been proven correct: that it is totally possible for a state that accords privileges to members of one specific ethnic group only - Jews, in this case - to be a flourishing democracy. Imagine that Israel is indeed a Light Unto the Nations, and that people from all the other nations who see the…Read More... | 17 Comments
A liberal-Zionist writer learns to accept the status quo. A response. The disappointment over the failure of the Oslo process and the rise to power of an extreme nationalistic coalition in Israel have led to a newly founded belief among some liberal Zionists that "there is no solution to the conflict," or that "peace cannot be achieved." This view – which dominates Labor Party politics today as well - is both morally and politically wrong. The New Republic's Leon Wieseltier, a self proclaimed "hawkish dove," expressed the "no solution" idea in a recent post. After blaming the Palestinians for missing…Read More... | 27 Comments
"The Crisis of Zionism," appears to be a book about politics, history and ideology, but in fact it is a research into identity; the identity of a community and the identity of the author. It is a book about the construction, the de-construction and the effort to reconstruct an identity; it sheds light on forgotten historical political facts, while leaving out others; it invents a new narrative, but is by no means false, since such is the nature of all identity projects. In his groundbreaking work, "Imagined Communities," Benedict Andersen quotes French author Ernest Renan: "The essence of a nation…Read More... | 21 Comments
The secret to understanding Israeli political behavior lies in the widespread (and fundamentally evident) notion that any change to the status quo is likely to bring more harm than good. Even passionate advocates of Israeli policy wonder at times – often in private, but sometimes also in public – why the Israeli government doesn't show a bit more urgency in pursuing a way out of the West Bank. Israel, the saying goes, is faced with two options: A two-state solution and a one-state solution. The first option involves removing most of the settlements from the West Bank (but not necessarily…Read More... | 64 Comments
By Zoe Jick This week's provocative NY Times op-ed by Peter Beinart is already the subject of much controversy among those engaged in public debate about Israel and Zionism. Coming from a prominent academic voice of liberal Zionism, Beinart’s message pushes the boundaries of pro-Israel activism by maintaining his “devotion to the Jewish people” while allowing for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) in the occupied territory, or “undemocratic Israel.” His statements will incite backlash from the American Jewish community, many of whom protest BDS across campuses, co-ops and institutions nationwide. His call for locality-focused BDS aside, the op-ed’s most valuable lesson is…Read More... | 9 Comments
Israeli ambassador Michael Oren: Beinart 'beyond the Israeli mainstream,' his call to boycott settlements 'supported only by a marginal and highly radical fringe.' I reported here yesterday on Peter Beinart's op-ed in the New York Times, calling the American Jewish community to boycott Israel's settlements in the West Bank, and for American administration to stop the indirect funding of settlements through tax breaks to settlement products and organizations raising money for the settlements (this is just the most obvious way in which the United States is supporting in practice a policy that it appears to oppose, at least on a…Read More... | 28 Comments
Last Friday evening, B’Tselem employees were busy sending out press releases and compiling media kits detailing the use of tear gas by the Israeli military in the West Bank. For the past ten years, B'Tselem has been one of the only Israeli organizations documenting routine violations of military and civilian law by Israeli soldiers. On Friday, an unidentified Israeli soldier shot and killed an unarmed Palestinian protester, with an American-made tear gas canister, who was throwing stones at armoured military jeeps in the village of Nabi Saleh. The military claims this was an 'exceptional' incident but the facts show that…Read More... | 39 Comments
An alternative understanding of Zionism sees no contradiction between liberalism and Zionism, and makes possible various political arrangements, which do not place the national aspirations of Jews ahead of those of Palestinians. By Jerry Haber Can one be a liberal (or: progressive) and a Zionist? The debate has been going on for some time now, and recent entries in the debate on +972 by Joseph Dana, Larry Derfner, and Abir Kopty, are worth reading. What’s interesting is that both the advocates and detractors of liberal Zionism agree that there is an inherent contradiction between being liberal and being Zionist. Derfner considers…Read More... | 69 Comments
A response to Larry Derfner's defense of liberal Zionism By Abir Kopty A piece posted earlier today by Larry Derfner, written in response to Joseph Dana, contains typical Zionist arguments, which normally do not prompt me to respond, except that this time, he called them "liberal Zionist" arguments. Honestly, I don’t know what is liberal about them. What Larry fails to see is that there is no such thing as extremist and liberal Zionism, or hard-core and light Zionism. Zionism is not about what you choose to think. Zionists are part of a colonialist ideology and movement that operates through institutions. Make no…Read More... | 85 Comments
Yes, Zionism is at odds with liberal values. But it’s less at odds than the alternative; moreover, it has the capacity to be liberalized almost without limit. I want to take issue with Joseph Dana’s claim that liberal Zionism is a “dishonest system of thought.” I don’t, however, want to take issue with his statement that “the Zionist ideology, in so far as it privileges one ethnic group over another, is at odds with liberal values.” I won’t argue with that second point because I’m an honest liberal Zionist, and I don’t think any honest liberal Zionist, such as Bernard Avishai or…Read More... | 254 Comments
A critique of an article by a noted liberal Zionist leads to an interesting debate about Zionism. In the polarized world of debate about Israel/Palestine, certain terms have acquired such strong connotations that an honest and factual discussion of important issues is almost at a standstill. From the family dinner table to college campus throughout the world, terms like “BDS,” “anti-Zionist” and “liberal Zionist” have become virtual conversation stoppers - depending on the circle. Yesterday, I wrote a strongly worded critique of Bernard Avishai’s new piece on the Palestinian Right of Return (RoR), which appears in this month’s edition of…Read More... | 92 Comments
Recent work by authors Bernard Avishai and Gershom Gorenberg reflect the inability of liberal Zionist champions to engage in an honest debate about the core issues of contention in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The noted liberal Zionist writer, Bernard Avishai, has a longish piece on the Palestinian Right of Return (RoR) in this month’s edition of Harper’s Magazine (no online version yet). Before I discuss its content, I believe it crucial to note one general aspect of this piece. We must ask ourselves why an openly Zionist thinker who happens to be a Canadian immigrant is writing about Palestinian right of return without…Read More... | 55 Comments
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On the challenges facing a growing population of asylum seekers and refugees in Israel.
Kerry's peace process
Full coverage, commentary and analysis of the latest round of peace talks.
Plan to displace Bedouin
Will tens of thousands of Israeli citizens be evicted from their homes?
A series of striking infographics.
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Palestinians go three days without water in united Jerusalem, by @MairavZ: http://t.co/wVo0X1GhXx
On Int'l Women's Day, meet the Israeli women who have stood up to the occupation for 26 years: http://t.co/6gqhfVUalz http://t.co/BYOMVadhIb
PHOTO: Hebron's settlers declare, 'Palestine never existed,' by @activestills http://t.co/yCAqGMphn1 http://t.co/XQRiY97VoF
Israeli govts have argued for years that settlements are not an obstacle to peace. The data tells a different story: http://t.co/PSfkgirYJr
Israeli prime ministers say 'settlements aren't obstacle to peace' while tightening grip on occupied territory: http://t.co/PSfkgirYJr
Figures show: Peace talks and settlement construction go hand in hand, by @nsheizaf http://t.co/PSfkgirYJr
Why have 50,000 Jerusalem Palestinians gone without water since Tuesday? http://t.co/wVo0X1GhXx