Many in the Israeli Left saw the recent election defeat as a danger to democracy. But if the Left wants to win elections, it needs to let go of its anti-Mizrahi fear-mongering and racism. by Elad Ben Elul (translated by Joshua Tartakovsky) In order to understand the outcome of the recent elections in Israel, one has to step away from the two central conceptual frameworks that make up the discourse of most Israelis, but in fact do not capture the complex reality below the surface. One has to step away from the traditional boxes of “Right” versus “Left” and of…Read More... | 18 Comments
Settlers built a Star of David made out of rocks on private Palestinian lands in the village of Shweika in the South Hebron Hills on Saturday. The settlers, who live in the illegal outpost Eshtamoa near the village, built the Star of David in order to obstruct Palestinian residents' sheep from grazing, and as a crude way of marking territory. The army prohibits Israelis from entering the valley below the outpost since it is recognized as private Palestinian land. Therefore, the fact that they were able to build this giant Star of David indicates that the IDF is clearly not enforcing…Read More... | 8 Comments
Prominent Israelis call on European parliamentarians to formally recognize a Palestinian state. But what kind of impact can European votes have when the real power broker in Israel-Palestine relations is still the U.S.? Nearly 700 prominent Israelis, including former ambassadors, academics, IDF officers, top playwrights and poets, winners of the Israel Prize and Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman have signed a letter appealing to the parliaments of various European countries to recognize Palestine in upcoming votes. We the undersigned, Citizens of Israel who wish it to be a safe and thriving country, are worried by the continued political stalemate and by…Read More... | 22 Comments
Whether the conflict here is resolved through one, two, three or ten states, Israel will still never be homogenous. Ethnic homogeneity is a nasty and dangerous sham. As the referendum over the future of Scotland approaches, poll numbers for the “YES” (pro-independence) have suddenly spiked. Many Brits are now panicking that Scots may really decide they are not “Better Together,” as the cheerful “NO” (or polite, “No, thanks”) campaign has tried to portray. I am reminded of the ubiquitous OXI (NO) posters that blanketed the Greek side of Cyprus prior to the ill-fated 2004 referendum to reunite the island. Although the Annan Plan…Read More... | 6 Comments
American universities will soon open their doors for the fall term. With the capacity to influence views on Israel-Palestine during this tense time of conflict, and mobilize future leaders on campus, it would be a shame to waste the opportunity with continued ineffective polarization. By Yasmeen Serhan Though Israel’s latest operation in Gaza seems worlds away for some, it feels closer to home for many within Palestinian and Jewish communities. This, too, rings true for many college students, for whom the conflict is often displayed in the form of mock-checkpoints, controversial speaker events and public demonstrations on their campuses. In the next few…Read More... | 12 Comments
What kind of democratic struggle excludes people based on their ethno-religious or national identities, and what kind of liberation is really possible when it concerns only one nation and its nationalism? By Benjamin Birely On the evening of May 1st, 1921 the Jaffa-based Socialist Workers Party (MPS), later the “Palestine Communist Party” and a forerunner of today’s Maki, organized a small, unauthorized march between Jaffa and Tel Aviv. Participants marched under a banner in Yiddish that triumphantly called for the establishment of “Soviet Palestine.” Arabic filers were distributed to onlookers. The march ran through Manshiyya, an Arab neighborhood erased literally…Read More... | 41 Comments
Resolutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can be reached either by agreement or evolution. As the peace talks stumble toward their formal end point, there are essentially four scenarios for political developments between the river and the sea, excluding resurgent violence: two states by agreement, two states by evolution, one state by agreement, or one sovereign entity by evolution. Policymakers should acknowledge these scenarios openly to assess what each one will mean for the future of the region. I recently proposed using basic values as a guideline to assess the desirability of such scenarios: reducing violence, realizing human and civil rights,…Read More... | 12 Comments
The Israeli military has implemented positive developments in its juvenile court system in recent years, and yet, regular allegations of serious abuses persist. A look at what has been done and what still needs to take place. By Gerard Horton Since the establishment of Israel’s military juvenile court in September 2009, there have been some noteworthy developments in the way children as young as 12 are treated in Israel’s military legal system. The establishment of the court has led to several changes, including: a reduction in the time in which children must be brought before a military court judge for…Read More... | 1 Comment
The eponymous scene of On the Side of the Road, a documentary that explores Israeli attitudes toward the Palestinian Nakba, or catastrophe, occurs midway through the film on an unpaved road just outside the West Bank settlement of Ariel. Interrupted by a curious Israeli family out for a pastoral drive, director Lia Tarachansky stops to answer their questions about what she is filming (“what TV channel will it be on?”). As they drive on, the children waving and smiling their good byes, Tarachansky stands alone on the side of the road and suddenly bursts into tears. “I mean, everyone I…Read More... | 51 Comments
In the last week, things have changed between the U.S. and Israel. Kerry may have the guts to continue refusing to lie for Israel's occupation – which is all that’s needed to shake its foundations. This is no tiff. If it hadn’t happened on the same day, last Thursday, that the breakthrough came in the Geneva talks on Iran’s nuclear program, John Kerry’s joint interview on Israeli and Palestinian TV – and the chain reaction it would have set off – would still be dominating the news from the Middle East. Instead, it was a one-day story, overtaken by the chain…Read More... | 30 Comments
Mya Guarnieri confronts discrimination, identity politics -- and the occupation -- as she searches for an apartment in Bethlehem. Read her previous post, 'Reflections on one state from the West Bank.' Not knowing much about my background, the elderly landlord who doesn’t rent to Jews called and asked me to come sign a lease. Despite my reservations, I agreed. The landlord ushered me in and we sat on a couch on her large, enclosed balcony. “First, I must ask you,” she began. “What is your religion?” “I don’t see how that’s really relevant.” While I understand that she and her family have…Read More... | 26 Comments
The first time I went to my current sublease in Bethlehem, I noticed something strange on the floor — the Star of David. When I moved into the place and looked closer at the pattern, I noticed a menorah. Here I was, in the heart of a Palestinian city, and the floor was “Jewish.” My apartment is in a home that is at least 100 years old. Hand-painted floor tiles were common in wealthy homes — Christian, Muslim, and Jewish — throughout pre-state Palestine. While I know that the land wasn’t always divided, the current context makes it hard to…Read More... | 33 Comments
'My suspicious ethnic identity coupled with my criticisms of Israel were enough to get me banned from Israel and more importantly, barred from being able to tell stories from the West Bank.' By Anna Lekas Miller "Do you think we are some kind of joke? Do you think you can start over with us?” The Shin Bet officer looks at me across his desk, his eyes seeming to pop through his glasses like I was some kind of insolent teenager cum social pariah. I straightened my posture and tried to smile, although my eyes probably expressed more disgust than anything…Read More... | 36 Comments
OUR WEEKLY NEWSLETTERSubmit
Full coverage of the BDS movement, international pressure on Israel to end the occupation.
The Beaten Path
Travel writer and tour guide Yuval Ben-Ami deconstructs the Holy Land's tourist trail.
On the challenges facing a growing population of asylum seekers and refugees in Israel.
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