Analysis News
Visit our Hebrew site, "Local Call" , in partnership with Just Vision.

German elections dredge up ghosts of the past

During the first awakening of Germany’s nationalist ghosts after reunification, the country never really had an honest conversation about racism and violence in East Germany. The rise of the AfD and its strong support in the East demonstrates that the country must still be vigilant about protecting its democracy and institutions.

By Şeyda Emek

I was in high school on the morning of May 29, 1993, when neo-Nazis burned down a house in Solingen, Germany, inhabited by families of Turkish origin. Five people, two young women and three girls, died in the flames. Seventeen others were severely injured.

As school began that morning, my history teacher broke down in sobs facing the class. He had been a boy during World War II. When he woke up to the news that people had again been burned to death because of their ethnicity in Germany he couldn’t stop crying.

It was the second deadly arson attack in six months. Two girls and their grandmother had been murdered when Turkish families’ homes were burnt down in Mölln on November 23, 1992. Nine other family members were severely wounded.

The Mölln and Solingen incidents were the culmination of a series of racist attacks that began shortly after German unification in 1990, as were the Hoyerswerda and Rostock-Lichtenhagen attacks. In Hoyerswerda in Saxony, a mob of 500 people attacked Vietnamese street vendors, stoned and petrol bombed an asylum shelter for a full week in September 1991. And in Rostock, several hundred people attacked an asylum shelter with stones and petrol bombs for two days in August 1992 while 3,000 bystanders applauded.

The 1990s in Germany, when I was a teenager, were not only about the fall of the Berlin wall and happy citizens peacefully reuniting on the streets, amidst calls of: “We are the people!” They were also the years when nationalism returned to Germany. I remember my parents’ fears for us children, their worried whispers with Turkish neighbors and friends.

I thought often of this period during last Sunday’s German elections, when 5.8 million people voted for Alternative for Germany (AfD). Founded in 2013, the extreme right, anti-immigrant party entered parliament with 12.6% percent of the vote, winning 94 of the 709 seats. For the first time since Hitler’s NSDAP, a party whose leadership openly praises Germany’s military’s conduct during the two World Wars, as chairperson Alexander Gauland has done, will enter the Reichstag.

...Read More
View article: AAA
Share article

There is no occupation without collective punishment

Following a violent Palestinian attack on a West Bank settlement, Haaretz’s military correspondent claims Israel has, until now, refrained from collective punishment against the Palestinians. He’s wrong.

By Yael Marom

Following Tuesday’s lethal attack by a Palestinian worker on security forces in the West Bank settlement of Har Adar, Haaretz’s military correspondent Amos Harel published an article in which he lays out the disagreement between the government and the IDF over what measures should be taken to reduce the number of such attacks and whether steps should include the collective punishment of Palestinians. As if Israel has never yet tried collective punishment.

Harel continues by explaining that the security establishment argues that collective punishment only increases motivation for carrying out attacks, and therefore has refrained from carrying out steps that punish the Palestinian population and a wholesale revoking of their work permits (since the wave of violence began in 2015, only one Palestinian involved in violence has had a work permit).

Yet now, after a second permit carrying Palestinian has carried out an attack, Harel hints that it is possible the time has come to rethink the main tool for collective punishment — preventing Palestinian workers from entering Israel. Or in harsher terms: another step toward separation, closure, and isolation. Despite what Harel claims, this is certainly not a new concept for Israel.

Harel further argues that there is a theoretical disagreement on the issue of collective punishment, and that until now, it has been Israel’s relatively composed response that has prevented an escalation since 2015. One must wonder whether Harel reads the newspaper he writes for. After all, around this time last year Haaretz published an editorial against collective punishment in East Jerusalem.

Harel seems to forget the millions who for years have been under siege in Gaza and who are subject to the whims of the Israeli government, whether it is a war with thousands of casualties, disconnecting the Strip from electricity, forbidding the entry of electrical equipment or the exit of the sick. Don’t these count as collective punishment?

Harel further ignores the fact that for decades Palestinians in the West Bank have been living under a permit regime in which Israel decides who will be able to travel where and when. He ignores the mass arrests; the checkpoints and closures; and the cinder blocks and and makeshift checkpoints in East Jerusalem and the West Bank —...

Read More
View article: AAA
Share article

The 'Jewish tent' just became even smaller

The defunding of an Israel program with a progressive, human rights framework is an affront to all progressive Jews around the world.

By Rebecca Arian

Last week, the Jewish Agency announced it would be cutting funding to Achvat Amim (“Solidarity of Nations”), a program offering participants the opportunity to live in Israel and volunteer with organizations dedicated to fostering human rights and coexistence. The Jewish Agency’s decision resulted from participants’ protest activity in Palestinian areas in the West Bank earlier this year. This move is just one of countless examples of mainstream Jewish institutions setting the parameters of the Jewish tent, marking opposition to Israel’s military occupation as its boundary.

The Jewish Agency cited safety concerns as its reason for defunding the program, but Sara Eisen, Masa’s spokeswoman, also claimed that the program’s leaders acted irresponsibly. She stated that once program activity “…veers into outright political activity, it crosses a line.” Masa runs programs and activities that take place in Israeli settlements, yet their decision to defund a program whose participants voluntarily visited a Palestinian area suggests they have no issue with either the safety of participants who visit the West Bank or political activity––as long as that political activity fits within a right-wing framework.

I was the very lucky recent recipient of both the Dorot Fellowship in Israel and the NIF/ Shatil Social Justice Fellowship, but before I was accepted into these programs, I aggressively pursued opportunities to live in Israel and engage in human rights work. As an American Jew, countless opportunities were available to me through Masa, yet before Achvat Amim, there weren’t any programs that would have connected me to the human rights work I sought to engage in. More importantly, I didn’t feel comfortable participating in Masa programs as a Jew who openly opposes Israel’s occupation and military policy.

When Achvat Amim was founded, I felt grateful. With the support of Masa, young Jews like myself, with viewpoints critical of the Israeli government, had an opportunity to engage in the social justice work and personal development. So last week when I learned that the Jewish Agency has decided to cut funding to the program, I couldn’t help but feel that the recently-expanded Jewish tent had closed me and others like me out of its boundaries once again.

The loss of funding to Achvat Amim will have ramifications echoing throughout the Israeli NGO sector and...

Read More
View article: AAA
Share article

Why is Israel still denying the kidnapping of Yemenite children?

Between the years 1948 and 1952, thousands of babies, children of mostly Yemenite immigrants to the newly-founded State of Israel, were taken away from their parents. After decades of being silenced, it is time to look those parents in the eye and say: you were wronged. This is not a tall order, it is the bare minimum.

By Rachel’i Said

The facts behind the Yemenite children’s affair are clear for all to see. Hundreds of testimonies by parents of children who disappeared tell a similar story: the children were taken away from their parents, often by force, and some of them never returned. Parents were not allowed to make decisions or receive medical information regarding their children. The death notices they received from hospitals were never backed by medical explanations, documents, or bodies. Parents who demanded to see their dead child were aggressively sent away.

The racist nature of these deeds is clear as well. Approximately 70 percent of families affected were Yemenite immigrants to Israel; 96 percent were of Mizrahi origin. Moreover, the racist policies toward the parents never even disguised themselves as anything but. Separating babies from the families and revoking the rights of the parents to make medical decisions was a matter of policy, not private initiative.

So why can’t Israelis today recognize that the Yemenite children affair took place?

Recognizing the affair means recognizing that the same mechanisms that look out for the “benefit of the child” are the same ones that prevent Israeli LGBTQs from adopting. They are the same ones that remove children of certain ethnic groups from their homes. They are anything but neutral.

Recognizing the Yemenite children affair undermines the image of the first days of the State of Israel as a period full of good intentions. The military censored publishing information on the kidnappings, while parents who demanded to see their children were met with the long arm of the law. These were not mishaps, but deliberate decisions.

Recognizing the Yemenite children’s affair is admitting the existence of mechanisms that whitewash and silence the truth. It is recognizing and warning against the use of the police and the legal system to protect the establishment. It means encouraging critical thinking and demanding transparency.

Recognizing the Yemenite children’s affair means placing trust in Israeli society. Trust in the fact that citizens of the state are able to deal with their own history. Trust that may lead to a society that...

Read More
View article: AAA
Share article

There's no beautifying Israel's treatment of Palestinian children

The central problem at the heart of Israel’s half-century old military court system is clear: these courts will never reflect the interests of the defendants, but rather that of the regime of occupation.

By Sarit Michaeli

Israeli occupation apologists masquerading as protectors of Palestinian children in military detention? Few displays of alternative facts should shock us these days, but somehow an upcoming event by the Israeli right-wing group NGO Monitor’s at the UN Palais De Nations in Geneva comes close. Under the Orwellian title “Protecting Children: The realities of Israeli Military Juvenile Justice in a Terror Environment,” the event planned for Sept 25th features such doyens of child protection as the former IDF Chief West Bank Prosecutor, Lt. Col. (Res) Maurice Hirsch.

A recent recruit to the Israeli hasbara (public relations) industry, Hirsch seems committed to denying Israel’s 50 year-long occupation — instead, he euphemistically refers to “the changing borders of the State of Israel” — as well as trying to legitimize Israel’s military court system, which has faced broad criticism by British experts, UNICEF, as well as B’Tselem, for its systematic and widespread mistreatment of Palestinian minors.

Hirsch oversaw the prosecution’s part in the assembly line that forces virtually all Palestinian minors prosecuted by the army to accept conviction by plea bargains — which usually lead to incarceration. In 2015, the last year for which official data is available, 95 percent of the approximately 540 Palestinian minors indicted in the military courts were convicted. This is done through interrogations that violate minors’ rights, such that they incriminate themselves and others; these incriminations are later presented to the military court, with no other evidence. Military courts deny most minors bail and the few exceptions are routinely appealed by the military prosecution, which is also responsible for the high percent of indictments – 62 percent of the 871 minors arrested in 2015.

In response to criticism, Israel has implemented tried and true tactic: cosmetic changes that enable it to continue imprisoning Palestinian children. These included several changes to the military legislation, such as formalizing the age for prosecuting Palestinians as adults, the establishment of the military court for youth, and changes in detention and remand periods. Legal cosmetics, however, will not meaningfully improve the treatment of Palestinian minors or the protection of their rights.

Israel has also attempted to deflect criticism by initiating a “secret...

Read More
View article: AAA
Share article

The beat goes on: The story of Palestine's national dance

The Palestinian-Israeli conflict gets more than its share of attention. And yet, listening more attentively to the narrative of the dabke, Palestine’s national dance, gives a new angle to resistance and struggle.

By Dana Mills

In July 2015 Palestinian activists in London took to the streets to hold a Day of Rage to commemorate the bloodiest day of the Protective Edge, Israel’s 2014 war in Gaza one year earlier. In addition to signs and posters, chants and cries, protesters stormed the British Museum and Barclays Bank in London with a dabke flash mob. In 2012, students at Arizona State University commemorating the Deir Yasin massacre in 1948 also danced dabke.

The Palestinian-Israeli conflict has had more than its share of coverage. Dance history, however, is not always the first place one goes to find political stories. And yet, listening more attentively to the narrative of the dabke, Palestine’s national dance, gives a new angle to resistance and struggle.

The dabke is a participatory dance in which people form a line that can be expanded as new dancers join the moving chorus. The movements of the line are led by a lawith, a dancer who leads and initiates changes in the line formation, and who is followed by a chorus. The dance involves movements up and down in space, and includes rhythmic stomping, clapping, and changes of pace. There are breaks created by individual dancers performing solos and the group response to them.

But dabke is much more than just a dance. It is a form of storytelling through movement, and for many, a way to showcase solidarity and cooperation, cultural resistance, and the strength of the human spirit.

The use of dabke is hardly new. During the British Mandate, Palestinians danced the dabke as a statement of resistance to Jewish immigration to Palestine before 1948 (there is evidence of performance of the dabke in 1923 in the village of Nebi Musa during a protest against the arrival in large numbers of Jews), as well as the growing international support for Zionism. After 1948 dabke dances were choreographed into stories of the villages destroyed in the Nakba. Like many other elements in Palestinian life, dance has always been connected to politics.

After 1967, dabke became even more politicized. Before the 1967 War, it was mainly performed as a traditionally rural dance; after the war, dabke began crossing class divides,...

Read More
View article: AAA
Share article

Netanyahu's Israel is a cauldron waiting for the next explosion

While Israel proceeds along its merry way, each day building more settlements and demolishing more Palestinian homes, it is far from being the secure and stable dream Netanyahu envisioned.

By James J. Zogby

For half of the past two decades Benjamin Netanyahu has served as prime minister of Israel. Whatever his ultimate fate (given the ongoing criminal investigations he is currently facing), it is clear that he has had a profound impact on Israel, the Palestinians, and the entire region.

There are those who have doubted that Netanyahu had any core beliefs, other than the desire to retain power. But even with his maneuvering and his penchant for prevarication, there are, in fact, core beliefs that have directed his career.

Shortly after his first election as prime minister, and before his maiden address to the U.S. Congress, a team of Reagan-era neoconservatives (many of whom ended up in senior positions in the George W. Bush Administration) wrote a paper for Netanyahu to guide his remarks before Congress and to U.S. audiences. The paper, echoing many themes from Netanyahu’s own writings, was called “A Clean Break”. Since he was already aligned with these views, he repeated the paper’s themes and policy proposals during his many public appearances in Washington. A Clean Break can be seen as Netanyahu’s road map to relations with the U.S. and the Middle East region.

The central themes of the paper were:

– Ending the Oslo process and rejecting “land for peace” formula; reasserting Israel’s claim to the “Land of Israel”; weakening the ability of the Palestinian Authority to govern; and poisoning the PA’s image in the U.S. to damage its standing.

– Securing Israel’s northern border, by confronting Iran, promoting internal conflict in Lebanon, and destabilizing Syria.

– Strengthening ties with Republicans, including proposing ending U.S. economic aid in favor of military aid and buying into the Reagan-era idea of a “missile defense” system — a concept favored by the GOP.

– Confronting Iraq and overthrowing Saddam Hussein’s rule.

Over the past two decades, Netanyahu and his U.S. allies, whether in or out of office, pursued these same objectives. To a great extent, they have succeeded.

This unholy alliance between U.S. neoconservatives and Netanyahu was no accident. They had long been partners. Back in the late 1970’s, Netanyahu convened many of these same thinkers to Israel for a summit at the Jonathan Institute—an event...

Read More
View article: AAA
Share article

As Mideast borders open, Israel is more isolated than ever

Over the past decade, Middle Eastern countries have viewed their borders as a physical obstacle. The recent warming of relations between Arab states has led to increase in trade, leaving Israel more regionally isolated than ever before.

By Moran Zaga

Over the last month, border crossings have opened along both the Jordan-Iraq and Iraq-Saudi Arabia borders, while the border crossing between Jordan and Syria is slated to open soon. Even the crossing between Lebanon and Syria is now accessible, even making it to the news recently after Bashar al-Assad paid a visit to the area for Eid al-Adha prayers, after kicking the Islamic State out of the area.

For the past few years, these crossings have been shut down, after the Islamic State had taken control of several major border regions, stoking fears that the group would spread into neighboring countries such as Jordan, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia. The border crossing between Iraq and Saudi Arabia has been shut since Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in 1990, leading to the severing of ties between the two countries. The last months, however, has seen warming relations between Iraq and Saudi Arabia, in an attempt to create a strong coalition that would counter the spread of Shia influence in the region.

Many in and outside the Arab world criticize the process of drawing borders in the Middle East — mostly dictated by the colonial powers that previously ruled the area — especially the arbitrary creation of new countries that did not exist previously. Even if these claims are legitimate, the map has not changed since the establishment of these new countries, and the test of time teaches us that Arab states have become accustomed to the borders that were forced on them. Their citizens, moreover, have for the most part adopted the national identity of their new countries. Thus, the important question relates to the significance of these borders: how do these states view them? What role do they play?

The events of the Arab Spring led to a chain reaction of fortifying the borders of the Middle East, North Africa, and even Europe, which dealt with waves of refugees fleeing the Syrian Civil War. After years of open borders in the pre-modern and modern Arab world — including during times of conflict and war — the borders of the Middle East have undergone a revolution in the 21st century, when they began functioning as physical obstacles. From Morocco...

Read More
View article: AAA
Share article

WATCH: Settler attacks left-wing activist, breaks his arm

Guess who was detained and taken in for questioning.

By Yael Marom

An Israeli settler attacked a left-wing activist in a settlement in the south Hebron Hills Saturday, breaking his arm. The activist was transferred to Soroka Hospital in Be’er Sheva, where his left arm was put in a cast.

On Saturday morning, left-wing activists from Ta’ayush arrived for a solidarity visit with the Palestinians of Umm al-Kheir, after settlers from the nearby settlement of Carmel have been throwing stones at them for the past few weeks. A few of the activists headed toward Carmel to protest the stone throwing, where Israeli soldiers prevented them from approaching, claiming that filming was not allowed since the settlement keeps the Sabbath, and that the area had been deemed a closed military zone, except for residents of Carmel.

Suddenly, Carmel’s rapid response team, made up of who are meant to be the first line of defense against terrorist attacks until security forces can arrive, came rushing to the scene. One of them attacked Ta’ayush activist Guy Butavia, hitting him in his chest with his weapon and pushing him to the ground. Butuvia was treated by an IDF medic on the scene before being taken to a hospital.

“I went to Carmel after more than two weeks of endless stone throwing on a nightly basis at Umm al-Kheir,” Butavia says. “Right after we entered the settlement the soldiers arrived and tried to block us. They did not present us with a closed military zone order, so we continued walking. Suddenly the armed settlers from Carmel appeared. They treated us as if we were ‘terrorists.’ One of them, a big, strong man, ran over to me with his weapon and knocked me over.”

Two Ta’ayush activists were detained for “behavior that may lead to disturbing the peace,” and were later released from the Kiryat Arba police station near Hebron.

Yael Marom is Just Vision’s public engagement manager in Israel and a co-editor of Local Call, where this article was originally published in Hebrew.

View article: AAA
Share article

Why young Jews don't trust what their institutions say about Israel

Growing up, I found that the Conservative movement embraced nuanced approaches to Torah, yet that critical approach never extended to discussions of Israel. Questioning Zionism was verboten. 

By Eliana Fishman

It was the summer before eighth grade at Camp Ramah in the Berkshires, a Jewish summer camp affiliated with the Conservative Movement. I was 12 years old. Each camper was handed a copy of Mitchell Bard’s Myths and Facts, long considered a foundational hasbara textbook, and we were told that the author would be coming to speak to us.

Most campers ignored the book and didn’t pay much attention to Bard’s presentation. One particularly precocious camper, who actually read through the book, took the time to highlight misleading arguments and logical inconsistencies, and challenged the author during his lecture. Bard made light of the critiques and brushed them aside, insisting that every accusation against Israel was rooted in anti-Semitism, and that there was no way human rights violations had anything to do with Palestinian discontent.

No Palestinians — and not even a liberal Zionist — were ever invited to speak. By inviting Bard to talk without challenge or counterpoint, Camp Ramah in the Berkshires effectively taught us that the occupation was an anti-Semitic myth.

I grew up at the intersection of the Modern Orthodox and Conservative Jewish communities of New York City. Five days a week, I attended an Orthodox day school, where we learned that the Torah came from God, and that any inconsistency in the text can be explained by ruach hakodesh, prophetic foresight. On Shabbat, at my family’s Conservative-affiliated minyan, or prayer community, Jewish academics shared divrei torah, literally words of Torah, suggesting that the Book of Esther was a Judaization of the fertility myths of Ishtar and Marduk. They sketched out models for understanding inconsistencies in the Torah as proof of a multiplicity of biblical authors, and different eras of the text’s construction. Learning non-traditional interpretations as a child strengthened my relationship to Torah, and ensured that critical approaches to text do not threaten my religious practice.

While the Conservative movement embraced nuanced Talmud Torah, that approach never extended to discussions of Israel. The blind support for Israel found in Conservative movement spaces, on the other hand, is reminiscent of a far more Orthodoxy approach to Torah study and Jewish thought.

No one within the Conservative movement ever discussed the rabbinic texts that oppose the Jewish people’s return to...

Read More
View article: AAA
Share article

When the walls of your home come crumbling down

In East Jerusalem, entire families have their homes demolished and are thrown into the street. Just a few miles away, Israelis live without having to worry about losing everything they have.

By Sahar Vardi

Two children in uniform came down from the second floor to say hello to us before our ride left. With broken Arabic I asked the older one, who was all smiles, what his name is and his age. He is four, his younger brother is three.

I tried to ask the younger one for his name, but he only stared at me. His mother tried to convince him to answer me, but all he could say was “I just want my home.” And that’s it. That’s all the three year old had to say. He wants his home.

Hours before, at 4:30 a.m., I woke up in my West Jerusalem home. At some point I found myself staring at the kitchen while trying to fight my desire to go back to bed and make up hours of lost sleep.

Suddenly I noticed how many objects make up my kitchen. Not only furniture, but hanging cups, magnets on the refrigerator, memories, smells, millions of colors and shapes that create the feeling I wait for every time I come home from a long ride. Home. For a moment I tried to imagine how everything would look when destroyed. I tried to imagine the long arm of a bulldozer smashing through counter and colorful cups.

An hour later I was already at the boys’ home, where a total of 15 people lived, in Jerusalem’s Ras al-Amud neighborhood. We sat on sofas around a dining table in an empty home — bereft of furniture, windows, and doors. They cleared out everything, anything that could be salvaged.

When the police began to gather around the bulldozer in the nearby junction, a few young people from the neighborhood helped the homeowners to uproot the gate at the entrance to their home, as well as the parking gate, and lay it down in the nearby alley. This is hat a naked home looks like — and yet, it is still a home.

Fortunately, when the police arrived Samir, the three year old, was no longer home. A group of armed riot police officers went up to the second floor, where two other brothers, some of their friends and we were staying, and ordered everyone...

Read More
View article: AAA
Share article

Israel's top court sanctions support for Africa's dictators

By approving the decision to deport African asylum seekers to Rwanda and Uganda, Israel has granted legitimacy to two of the most brutal dictators on the continent.

By Eitay Mack (translated by Ofer Neiman)

The Israeli Supreme Court approved the decision to deport African asylum seekers from Israel. These agreements had previously been made between Israel and states whose identity seemingly remains confidential. But in fact, their identity is known to all: Rwanda and Uganda. The Court’s ruling has given a stamp of approval to two authoritarian regimes and their legal systems, by stipulating that they are capable of upholding the rights of those deported from Israel.

The ruling was based primarily on classified opinions submitted by the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other authorities, which had been shown to the judges in the presence of one party alone, and in the absence of the appellants. In the ruling, Supreme Court President Miriam Naor refrained from directly addressing the claim that the Rwanda and Uganda are not democracies which uphold human rights. Justice Elyakim Rubinstein noted that the fate of the deportees must be closely monitored, even going so far as to say that his comment was in no way meant as an affront to these regimes.

The judges expressed their dissatisfaction with the fact that some of the deportation arrangements were oral agreements that have not been grounded in written documents. And yet, they ruled that this was no grounds for the annulment of the understandings. Justice Rubinstein was right in warning that oral understandings may be rendered null and void in the case of a regime change, but he did not dare go a step further and state the whole truth: that the Court’s ruling has turned Israel into an investor in the future of Yoweri Museveni and Paul Kagame, the dictators of Uganda and Rwanda, since their fall will render the oral understandings null and void.

Refugees in exchange for weapons

This is a shady investment. Museveni has ruled Uganda since 1986, and Kagame has changed the constitution in order to rule at least until 2034. Both have acted firmly to maintain their presidencies for life through rigged elections, constant surveillance, persecuting members of the opposition, torture, disappearances and murder of opponents, press restrictions, and the perpetration of crimes in neighboring countries. The Kagame regime in Rwanda has for several years supported the murderous militias in the Democratic Republic of Congo — who use rape as a weapon of...

Read More
View article: AAA
Share article

War crimes and open wounds: The physician who took on Israeli segregation

On the occasion of her 80th birthday, Ruchama Marton, the founder of Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, talks about the atrocities she witnessed as a soldier, the enduring power of feminism, and why only outside help has a chance of ending Israel’s military rule over the Palestinians.

By Alon Mizrahi

Ruchama Marton belongs to what you might call Generation 1.5 of Israel’s anti-occupation activists. She was slightly too young to belong to the small and avant-garde group that established the revolutionary socialist organization Matzpen in the 1960s, but old enough to have taken classes with firebrand Professor Yeshayahu Leibowitz in Jerusalem. There, while at medical school, she revolutionized the admissions process for female students, leading to the abolishing of admissions quotas. And when she discovered there as ban on women wearing trousers at the medical faculty, she revolted against that as well.

Marton founded Physicians for Human Rights-Israel during the First Intifada, bringing the term “human rights” into the Israeli political discourse. Born in Israel, where she has lived her whole life, she has been an active psychiatrist for more than 40 years. Her relationship with this place is complicated and painful, almost impossible.

Marton minces no words when it comes to the leftist and peace organizations, which she sees as a kind of “humane society,” seeing little point in activism that does not directly confront the violation of human rights, the core of which are political rights.

She has been outraged by injustice and segregation her whole life. Between fighting chauvinism and patriarchy, and the lifelong struggle against the occupation, she refuses to be silent.

I met Marton for a talk in her Tel Aviv home in honor of her 80th birthday. I assumed she wouldn’t make it easy for me. I was right.

As a psychiatrist with years of experience, I want to start with what I think is the big question. Why are we so obsessively attached to dehumanizing Arabs? Why does it seem as if the greatest desire of this place is to deny the Palestinians any kind of recognition and legitimacy? After all there is no practical purpose for that at this point, we’ve already won.

“What do you mean it doesn’t serve a practical purpose? That’s nonsense. It serves all of the Zionist interests. Each and every one.”

Explain.

“First of all, we are colonialists. Zionism is colonialist. And the first thing a good colonialist does is dispossess. Dispossess of what? Of...

Read More
View article: AAA
Share article

The stories that matter.
The missing context.
All in one weekly email.

Subscribe to +972's newsletter