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Jewish Nation-State Law

  • What would Israelis do if Palestinians disappeared overnight?

    In Ibtisam Azem's 'The Book of Disappearance,' Israelis wake up one day to a country without any Palestinians. Azem speaks to +972 about how, with this sudden vanishing of ‘the enemy,’ she confronts some of the darkest chapters of Israel's history. What would Israelis do if every Palestinian between the river and the sea disappeared at once? That is the premise of a newly-translated novel, “The Book of Disappearance,” by Palestinian writer Ibtisam Azem (translated by Iraqi novelist and translator, Sinan Antoon, and published by Syracuse University Press). Originally released in Arabic in 2014, Azem’s story is primarily narrated by two individuals: Alaa, a…

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  • J Street conference confronts America's 'blank check' to Israel

    WASHINGTON — In the shadow of the World Series, the reported killing of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and the one-year anniversary of the Tree of Life Massacre in Pittsburgh, 4,000 people gathered in the U.S. capital for J Street’s eighth annual conference, titled “Rise to the Moment.” In some ways, J Street did just that. The conference was dominated by the message that the U.S. government should no longer provide — as the organization's president, Jeremy Ben-Ami, put it — a “blank check” to Israel. “It is important for the U.S. to take a very close look at whether or not our…

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  • In Israel, ‘politics as usual’ means escalating Palestinian oppression

    Three trends from Israel's do-over election demonstrate that the more Israeli politics stay the same, the more dangerous its policies become. There are many moments in Israeli-Palestinian history where landmark developments seem to change nothing and everything at the same time. Israel’s September election is one of them. While featuring many familiar and predictable patterns, the latest political contest has also exposed novel shifts that could significantly alter the conflict’s dynamics. Three key and interconnected trends that reflect this paradox can be drawn from the election, all of which present crucial strategic questions for the Palestinian struggle in the years ahead. [tmwinpost]…

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  • The biggest loser in this election: Liberal Zionism

    Israelis consistently vote against the idea of a Jewish and democratic Israel alongside a Palestinian state. It is now impossible to see how that could ever be realized.   On Sunday Ayman Odeh, the chairman of the Joint List, met with President Reuven Rivlin to announce his party’s noteworthy decision to endorse Benny Gantz, chairman of the Blue and White party, as prime minister. In an effort to thwart another Netanyahu term, Ayman Odeh did what no other Israeli politician is doing — he articulated a vision for the country’s future: “We want to live in a peaceful place based on…

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  • Unlike South Africa, the world is giving Israel a pass on apartheid

    A UN Security Council resolution rejecting South Africa’s 1983 constitution shows that there is precedent and necessity to act against Israel's Nation-State Law. In a referendum on November 2, 1983, White voters in apartheid South Africa approved a new constitution to restructure their political system. In addition to consolidating executive power with the presidency, a tricameral parliament was established to grant segregated representation for Coloreds and Indians, with the White chamber holding the parliamentary majority. Non-whites were appointed to various public positions, and some economic and social restrictions were repealed. Black Africans, of course, remained excluded from the electorate. [tmwinpost] Proponents of…

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  • 'When the constitution becomes racist, it’s difficult to define what racism is’

    One year ago, Israel passed a constitutional amendment declaring that Israel belongs only to its Jewish citizens. The head of Israel’s premier Palestinian rights group discusses what has changed in Israeli courts, but also overseas. ‘The debate soon will be whether Israel is apartheid.’ In the year since the Israeli parliament passed the Jewish Nation-State Law, the equivalent of a constitutional amendment that declares Israel to be the exclusive nation-state of the Jewish people and demotes the status of Arabic, not a whole lot has changed. [tmwinpost] That can mostly be explained by how new the law still is, and the…

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  • Palestinian citizens of Israel debate an election boycott

    After four years of one of the most hostile governments for Palestinians in Israel, Arab citizens are debating whether participating in or boycotting the upcoming Knesset elections is the best way to advance their struggle. By Henriette Chacar and Edo Konrad Frustrated with the breakdown of internal Arab party politics, and beset by an endless stream of attacks by politicians from across the political spectrum, many Palestinian citizens of Israel are expressing reservations about voting in this week’s elections. Despite a historically high voter participation rate, a small but prominent movement is urging Palestinian citizens to boycott the vote. The fierce debate pits Palestinians calling…

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  • Poll: Jews, Arabs much less divided than Israeli politics lets on

    A 'Local Call' poll shows a broad range of areas where Jews and Arabs see the benefits of cooperation. But that doesn't mean Jewish Israelis are ready to let Arabs hold positions of power, namely joining the government. The surprising bit: most Arabs would support their parties joining an Israeli government. Judging from the current Israeli election cycle and the various campaigns competing, it would be easy to conclude that Arab and Jewish citizens of Israel have completely failed to build a shared life together. The campaigns are filled with insulting and racist messaging that is being disseminated every which…

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  • Win or lose, Netanyahu has already cemented his legacy

    In his 10 years in power, Netanyahu has engaged in race-baiting against his own citizens, declared the occupation a permanent feature of Israeli reality, and shifted both the national and international conversation on Palestine. It is time to acknowledge that these are no mere trends — but his very legacy. Ten years after he was elected prime minister, it is nearly impossible to imagine an Israel without Benjamin Netanyahu at its helm. An entire generation of Israelis has come of age in the Netanyahu era, and much of what young Israelis have internalized about politics, about their identity, and about Israel is the result of…

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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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  • What Israelis aren't, but should be talking about in these elections

    Could these elections bring about the end of Netanyahu's rule? Why isn't anyone talking about half a century of occupation? And do these elections even matter, anyway? +972 and Local Call writers open up on what's at stake this time around. Reading much of the Israeli and international press, one might get the impression that the upcoming Israeli elections are solely a referendum on the last 10 years of Netanyahu’s rule. That might be partially true, but there are no few number of issues that aren’t being talked about, and there are stakes — and stakeholders — not being accounted…

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  • Ahmad Tibi has a plan to unseat Netanyahu, but it means leaving his Palestinian partners

    Ahmad Tibi's recent announcement that he would split from the Joint List has rattled Palestinian citizens. In an interview, he speaks about the successes and failures of the list, why his party would be better off alone, and why he may join forces with Israel's centrist leaders. By Meron Rapoport Four years after it was established, the Joint List, which succeeded in uniting Israel’s Palestinian parties, is on its way toward dissolution. Dr. Ahmad Tibi, who heads the Arab Movement for Renewal faction, also known as Ta’al, made a surprising announcement last week, declaring he would run independently in the upcoming elections, set for April 9. The reason stems from Tibi’s…

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  • Activists pulled off bus for protesting racial profiling at Israeli hospital

    Security guards remove the activists for protesting a new policy that singles out Palestinians on a public bus line in southern Israel. Security guards at an Israeli hospital detained 10 Arab and Jewish activists Sunday for an act of civil disobedience protesting a policy to single out, remove, and inspect Palestinians on a public bus line in southern Israel. [tmwinpost] The activists, from the grassroots protest movement Standing Together, were removed from the bus at the entrance to Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon, after refusing to show their identification cards and demanding to know why non-Arab passengers weren’t asked to…

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