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israeli democracy

  • PODCAST: Israel wants to deport this human rights defender

    On the latest episode of The +972 Podcast, Human Right Watch's Omar Shakir talks about Israel's case against him, which he believes is a watershed moment for democracy and free speech in Israel. Listen here: iTunes/Apple Podcasts | Google Play | Spotify   For more than a year now, Israel has been trying to deport the Israel and Palestine Director of Human Rights Watch, Omar Shakir. The ongoing litigation began in May 2018, when Israel decided to revoke Shakir’s work authorization in Israel, largely based on an intelligence dossier that the Ministry of Strategic Affairs compiled of Shakir’s political activity and statements before joining Human Rights…

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  • What kind of democracy deports human rights workers?

    Israel is trying to deport Human Rights Watch's Omar Shakir, claiming democratic states have every right to defend themselves. The only problem? Israel is neither democratic nor acting in self-defense. By Hagai El-Ad At the heart of the Jerusalem District Court's recent ruling to authorize the deportation of Omar Shakir, the Israel and Palestine director of Human Rights Watch, one can find the self-victimizing lie that views Israel as a “defensive democracy.” [tmwinpost] The ruling, handed down by Judge Tamar Bazak-Rappaport, did not reinvent the wheel; she is only following the path paved by the Knesset members who legislated, the attorneys who defended, and the Supreme Court justices who made this all possible.…

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  • The Israeli opposition failed. Here's how it can redeem itself

    Israel’s next coalition stands to be one of the most pro-annexationist parliaments in the history of the state. Now, it's up to the opposition to defend democracy. Dear Opposition — There is really no way to say this nicely: you failed. You failed in the campaign, and you have failed over the past decade, while Netanyahu governed with a far-right hand. [tmwinpost] Blue and White, you failed to realize that voters who oppose Netanyahu wanted a difference in substance. By the end, I heard too many people complaining that your party didn’t have any. Perhaps you thought that anyone who wants…

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  • There is no good vote in a paralyzed society

    For years, Israelis have allowed values of equality, justice, and peace, to go by the wayside. Tuesday's vote reflects not only the impotence and absence of a left, but just how paralyzed Israeli society is. In some ways, Tuesday's election is predictable. Netanyahu and his right-wing camp are expected, according to most polls, to secure the 61-seat majority needed to form a governing coalition. And yet the results remain impossible to predict, especially because the smaller parties hovering around the election threshold could determine the outcome. [tmwinpost] While polls may give us a sense of where the wind is blowing, people are still undecided and,…

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  • In Israel's elections, only the far right is talking about democracy

    A new campaign ad by Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked signals that this time around, only the far right is talking about democratic norms — and how to undo them. Does the opposition have a response? Of all the aspects of political campaigns that voters love to hate, none is more maligned than the political advertisement. The term “30-second spot” has become synonymous with dumbing down, mudslinging, and manipulation of political campaigns ever since the Daisy Ad. [tmwinpost] But punchy ads are great. They can help de-code the strategy each party has chosen, and short scripts packed with narrative are enormously…

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  • What's so scary about a state of all its citizens?

    What sounds like a basic democratic concept is not only at odds with Israel’s founding principles, it is viewed as a direct threat. By Asaf Calderon Benjamin Netanyahu made waves in and outside of Israel this week when, responding to a statement by actress Rotem Sela that Israel should belong to all of its citizens, Arabs and Jews alike, he wrote "Israel is not a state of all its citizens." While the shocked reactions should be welcomed, the indignation is also indicative of how little the world is paying attention to the mainstream discourse in Israel. [tmwinpost] In Israel today, the…

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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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  • Who gets to vote in Israel’s version of democracy

    Israel is about to hold elections, but not everyone living under Israeli rule gets a vote. A breakdown of who has rights and who doesn't. On April 9, 2019, Israel will hold general elections. Israelis will head to the polls to choose their elected leaders and representatives. If they are unhappy with the way things are going, like citizens of democracies around the world, their votes will help shape the ideological and political direction of the government and the institutions it controls. [tmwinpost] In a vacuum, that sounds like fairly standard democratic practice. But there is nothing standard about Israel’s…

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  • How Israel betrayed its most loyal minority

    The Nation-State Law, which enshrines supremacy for Jews in Israel, has made it clear to the country's Druze population that we are not equals. So why don't we demand it be abolished completely? By Dalia Halabi The Jewish Nation-State Law has been a watershed moment for Israel’s Druze population and its relationship to the Jewish state and its institutions. The law clearly states that there is no such thing as an “Israeli” citizenship; that this land is home to those who were born Jews, as well as those who were not born to the "chosen people." [tmwinpost] Over the past few days, I have heard many from my community reel in real…

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  • Israel is not a democracy as long as the occupation exists

    An Israel that does not fight to free Palestinians from occupation is an Israel that will excel in occupation. This is the Left's most urgent and important mission.  By Alon Mizrahi As in every year, the run-up to the commemoration of the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin last week was full of attempts to describe Jewish existence in Israel with as much pathos as possible. Questions such as "what are we struggling for?" are answered as if life here is some kind of script or speech. [tmwinpost] The 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration is another reason for celebration, as well as…

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  • Stop asking whether Israel is Jewish or democratic

    This isn’t a choice between 'Jewish or democratic' — the only question is whether Israel can still become a true democracy. For some years, the political center-left in Israel has committed itself to the idea of a Jewish and democratic state. For these mostly secular and traditional people, “Jewish” used to mean some sort of cultural character, and democracy meant free and fair elections. This political camp is deeply committed to the balance between those two ideas and believes that when one overtakes the other, we are lost. [tmwinpost] Thus if Israel is too “Jewish,” it risks becoming a halakhic…

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  • No, BDS does not unfairly 'single out' Israel

    Ironically, the boycott movement actually expresses some level of faith in Israeli democracy by assuming a little pressure might motivate it to change. When the most recent flotilla set sail for Gaza to protest Israel's eight-year blockade, Prime Minister Netanyahu wrote an open letter to the activists. In a tone dripping with sarcasm, he suggested they had taken a wrong turn on the way to Syria. It’s part of a theme repeated obsessively: “there are worse violations elsewhere, but no one ever protests them. Therefore, protesting the occupation on behalf of Palestinians is hypocritical, anti-Israel or anti-Semitic. Therefore, it can be…

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  • High Court: Palestinians have no planning rights

    By rejecting a petition by Palestinian residents of Area C, Israel's High Court of Justice effectively cemented two separate planning regimes on the same plot of land: one for Jews, another for Palestinians. Israel's High Court of Justice on Tuesday rejected a petition to grant planning authority to Palestinians in Area C of the West Bank so they can build on their own land. In doing so, Justices Elyakim Rubinstein, Noam Solberg and Neil Hendel solidified the current status quo, in which two separate planning systems exist in the West Bank: one for Jews and another for Palestinians. [tmwinpost] While Jewish…

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