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Bezalel Smotrich

  • The Israeli right stopped talking about occupation, and that will hurt it at the polls

    Netanyahu has joined forces with religious radicals who have stopped talking about Palestinians and are instead pushing a homophobic and sexist agenda. It may just might seal his political doom. By Meron Rapoport It didn't take long for Prime Minister Netanyahu to use the doomsday weapon against Avigdor Liberman immediately following the last elections. Netanyahu blamed his former ally for torpedoing the establishment of a right-wing government, announcing to a group of journalists that “Liberman is part of the left” as part of a last-ditch effort to delegitimize the Yisrael Beitenu leader. [tmwinpost] The accusation was so strange — considering what the public knows about Liberman —…

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  • The right wing in Israel is in a deep crisis

    Snap elections just weeks after Israelis went the polls are the result of a rivalry between Liberman and Netanyahu, but that's just part of the story. The right is immersed in a crisis of identity, leadership, and politics. By Meron Rapoport What happened to Avigdor Liberman? Why did he insist on cutting short what will become the shortest Knesset term in Israeli history? Was it his deep personal hatred for Netanyahu or was he simply settling a score? Was it an opportunity to build himself up politically before disappearing alongside his small, sectorial party? [tmwinpost] Amid all the questions remains…

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  • The right's plan to get rid of Israel's High Court

    The far right wants to defang Israel's highest court to fulfill its annexationist dreams. Netanyahu wants to overpower it to ensure he remains on the throne. For Palestinians, annexation has long been a fact on the ground.  By Meron Rapoport The attacks on Israel's High Court by the right would not have gained traction without Prime Minister Netanyahu’s personal support. These include an attempt to pass a bill that would not only allow the Knesset to re-legislate laws struck down by the judiciary, but also prevent the High Court from intervening in administrative decisions by the government, the ministers, and the Knesset. Netanyahu is hoping to…

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  • When we celebrate Israeli democracy, we celebrate the violence of occupation

    In democratic countries, elections are conventionally described as 'a celebration.' But in an undemocratic reality of endless military occupation, they become an overt celebration of the violence of the powerful. By Hagai El-Ad “So long as I do not firmly and irrevocably possess the right to vote I do not possess myself. I cannot make up my mind — it is made up for me. I cannot live as a democratic citizen, observing the laws I have helped to enact — I can only submit to the edict of others." Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered these words in his 1957…

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  • No more waiting: LGBTQ Israelis must take the rights they deserve

    The Israeli government doesn't believe LGBTQ Israelis should be able to adopt children, yet continues to tell the world what a wonderful place Israel for the queer community. By Yael Marom The past few days have been a stark reminder of just how the Israeli government views the LGBTQ community. The Welfare Ministry's statement calling LGBTQ families "irregulars," who should not be allowed to adopt children, is just the latest in a number of legislative moves and court decisions that go directly against LGBTQ rights. As the annual Jerusalem pride march approaches, the queer community in Israel can clearly see the…

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  • Creeping censorship in a southern Israeli town

    Verbal attacks by right-wing groups and politicians in Be'er Sheva are threatening both NGOs and the local university. By Daniel Beller Over the past year various entities, including right-wing movements, have been trying to close down a joint Jewish-Arab cultural institution in the southern Israeli town of Be’er Sheva. The Multaqa-Mifgash Center, founded by the Negev Coexistence Forum (NCF), operates out of a municipal bomb shelter and stages activities and events focused on coexistence. It’s a unique institution in Be’er Sheva, and — aside from Ben-Gurion University — is the only place in the city that holds discussions on fundamental, sensitive…

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  • The Right's plan to beat Palestinians into submission

    The good news: the Right has a plan to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The bad news: it's as racist as you think. The truth is that that there is no future in the Middle East for Jewish Home MK Bezalel Smotrich's new political program, which seeks to completely erase Palestinians from the river to the sea. There is no place for his plan here, nor anywhere else in the world. There will never be a place in this world for Jews alone without any room for "non-Jews." I hope this is obvious to everyone. [tmwinpost] But before you jump from your…

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  • Israel's deafening silence on Chechnya

    Israel claims that its attitude towards the LGBT community within its borders is proof of its 'light unto the nations' status. So why is the government silent when LGBTs overseas are rounded up and tortured? By Ilan Manor One winter morning during his second tenure as British prime minister, Winston Churchill awoke to a scandal: two backbench MPs, it is said, had been caught in a homosexual act in one of London's public parks. "Two men, in a park, in January?" Churchill wondered aloud, before adding: "Makes you proud to be British.” [tmwinpost] Much has changed in the public perception of…

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  • When homophobia becomes a tool for political persecution

    The campaign against the Left in Israel reaches a new low: a planned protest at the wedding of an anti-occupation group's director and her wife-to-be. It shows that when dissent is characterized as treason, there is no area of one's life that is off-limits. It's a clear sign of the times when protesting at someone's wedding is considered a legitimate form of political activism. It's an even clearer sign when such a suggestion barely raises an eyebrow and when someone responsible for educating young people actually gets on board with the idea. [tmwinpost] But this is exactly what happened in Israel…

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  • Knesset passes dangerous settlement funding law — without a hitch

    A new law formalizes the outsourcing of rural settlement activity in the West Bank. A boon to the settlements, a blow to democracy — and the taxpayer. While Israeli society has been busy with incitement against human rights workers, a baby-killing celebration, and legislation attacking civil society, the Knesset quietly approved a new law last week formalizing the status of the notorious Settlement Division of World Zionist Organization (WZO). The law authorizes the Israeli government to delegate its policies in the settlements to this outside, private body. Despite an opposition filibuster, the law for legalized policy outsourcing passed in the…

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  • 'Jews can’t be terrorists,' Jewish Home MK says

    'When you push an entire population up against the wall, when you demonize them and trample their rights, [the situation] will explode in the end,' the Israeli parliamentarian writes with no sense of irony. Jewish Home MK Bezalel Smotrich, a member of Israel's ruling coalition, penned an oped on Wednesday arguing that Jews cannot be terrorists. The two labels are mutually exclusive, he argued. “Terrorism is only violence carried out by our enemies in the framework of a war against us,” Smotrich wrote in settler news outlet Arutz 7, "us" referring to Jews. (Hebrew) “Anything else is a serious crime,…

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