Rami Hod, Building Constituencies for the Israeli Left [ssba]

Rami Hod, Building Constituencies for the Israeli Left

Rami Hod is the Executive Director of the Social Economic Academy (SEA). He is one of the most strategic thinking people I’ve ever met. He speaks of opportunities, building constituencies, and hope. He believes the future of the Israeli Left is in building support around social and economic interests.

Rami told us about the “quiet revolution” building strength in Israel in recent years. Israelis are becoming more progressive on economic issues. Since 2011 Israelis are organizing in their communities, joining labor unions in vast numbers and demonstrating for their economic rights. They have had many successes: parents mobilized and won free public education for children from the age of three, for example. This is a grassroots revolution that has been unrecognized outside Israel.

Listen to our conversation with Rami Hod. You will not regret it. Read More »

Merav Michaeli, Hope is a Decision [ssba]

Merav Michaeli, Hope is a Decision

We spoke today to MK Merav Michaeli about the achievements of the opposition in the Knesset and the challenges the Israeli Left is facing.

She spoke about the incitement against the Left and how despite the hostile political and media environment the Opposition in the Knesset succeeded in voting down eight bills since the beginning of the year.

“Hope,” she said, “is a decision. The place and the time we need hope the most is when it looks like the situation is hopeless. That is the time when we need to find the hope within ourselves.”

Partners for Progressive Israel depends on your support. If you enjoy the program is free, we kindly ask for a suggested donation of $10.

Listen to MK Michaeli

Dany Gutwein on the Transformation of the Israeli Left [ssba]

Dany Gutwein on the Transformation of the Israeli Left

We spoke today with Professor Danny Gutwein. Gutwein is one of the most prominent public intellectuals of the Israeli Left today. He teaches Jewish History at Haifa University, but spends much of his time inspiring, building and supporting a grassroots movement which offers an alternative political vision and action.

Gutwein has a large following. He participated in the television Social and Economic Policy documentary series the Silver Platter (Magash Hakesef). The series had over two million viewers (read more here). It was so popular that Channel 8 was pressured to take two of the three episodes off the web. He is regular commentator on the Israeli radio and television, where he is invited to speak about anything from Netanyahu’s gas deal to Bernie Sanders.

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The Silver Platter was so popular that Israelis encountered graffiti on bridges “Have you watched the Silver Platter yet?”

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A Forgotten Minority, MLK Day Conversation with MK Dr. Yousuf Jabareen [ssba]

A Forgotten Minority, MLK Day Conversation with MK Dr. Yousuf Jabareen

Partners for Progressive Israel commemorated Martin Luther King Day with a conversation with MK Dr. Yousuf Jabareen.

Dr. Jabareen, a Knesset member representing the Joint List, is a human rights scholar, lawyer, and community activist. He completed his doctoral dissertation at Georgetown University conducting comparative research on the legal status of African-Americans in the United States in the 1950s and 60s, and that of Israeli Arabs.

Dr. Jabareen argued that the Palestinian-Arab citizens of Israel are a forgotten indigenous minority. He reminded us that 18% of Israeli citizens, some 1.6 million people, are indigenous Palestinians. The Palestinian citizens of Israel comprise the poorest communities of the country. Their unemployment rates are significantly higher. Fifty percent of them are under the poverty line.

Dr. Jabareen made a case for the comparison of the Palestinian citizens of Israel to the African Americans before the Civil Rights Movement, arguing that they are simultaneously discriminated against by law and by governmental practice.

The basic principle of a democratic system – equal citizenship – does not exist in Israel. In Many areas it does not exist by law […] When I think of Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Movement, I think of the march to first class citizenship. […] The classification of first and second class citizenship was seen in the US not only as a legal wrong, but also a moral wrong. […] This goes against the democratic values of equality and equal citizenship. But I think it also goes against moral values – everyone should be treated equal and every citizen should have equal chances and equal opportunities.

Listen to the call, its worth an hour of your time.

And remember, Partners for Progressive Israel depends on your support. If you enjoy the conversation, please support us – we suggest a $5 donation.

 

 

A Conversation with MK Benny Begin: When There Are No Solutions [ssba]

A Conversation with MK Benny Begin: When There Are No Solutions

In a Conversation with Israel and Palestine, MK Benny Begin (Likud) stated that we recognize that no deal with the Palestinian Authority is possible.

Departing from Naomi Chazan’s optimism of  and the Avrum Burg’s idealism, Begin argued not only that no peace agreement is on the horizon, but furthermore, Begin fundamentally believes that a peace agreement is impossible to achieve. To support his argument, he quoted MK Ahmed Tibi (Joint List) who said that “The maximum proposed by Olmert did not approach the minimum that Abu Mazen needed in order to reach an agreement.” No Israeli Government, Begin said, even one headed by MK Zehava Galon (Meretz) or Issac Herzog (Zionist Camp) will agree to the Palestinian right of return, and no Palestinian leadership can give up on the right of return.

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Imagining the Future: Is a Single State Possible? [ssba]

Imagining the Future: Is a Single State Possible?

“One hundred years ago, could you imagine Protestants and Catholics marrying each other, or Jews and Christians could marry each other? Seventy years ago could you imagine Germany and France leading Europe together – with an open border? No, but look at it now!”

Thus Avrum Burg entreated his audience to consider the possibility of a confederation-style state as the most likely possible outcome for the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict, rather than the standard liberal position of two states for two peoples.

Burg stated that the two-state solution is dead in the water. A two state solution is no longer the answer to the conflict, if it ever was. Instead, he laid out a confederation model that would include elements of both the two-state and one-state solution. Read More »

Conversation with Israel and Palestine: Naomi Chazan on the future of the two-state solution [ssba]

Conversation with Israel and Palestine: Naomi Chazan on the future of the two-state solution

Today was our first of a three part series on the future of the state of Israel and the two-state solution.

Listen to our conversation with Prof. Chazan.

Naomi Chazan kicked off the conversation speaking frankly about the untenable and immoral nature of the occupation, and how it severely harms both Palestinians and the Israeli state.

Chazan argued that two peoples occupy the land in parity. The number of Palestinian nearly equals the number of Israeli Jews between the Jordan river and the Mediterranean sea. Chazan asserted that the best bet for co-existance would also support the national aspirations of both peoples – a two-state solution.

This problem isn’t a new one. It has existed since before the creation of the state in 1948. However, after 1967 it took on much greater urgency. Now that the Occupation nearing its 50 year mark, the current generation of Palestinians – the third generation to live under the Occupation – has no recollection of what it was like to live free of it – the urgency is that much greater.

Read More »

Podcast: Life Around the Gaza Strip [ssba]

Podcast: Life Around the Gaza Strip

Before setting off for my journey through Israel and Palestine I wanted first-hand accounts of life in this region. I have always thought it was not enough to read news articles and books and call myself ‘aware of issues’. Therefore, this episode is simply two people telling of their lives as they surround Gaza. Both of them have very different experiences as Roni is an Israeli who maintains friendships and volunteers with Gazans whereas Ahmed lives in Gaza, but they come to similar conclusions.

Below is the text from Ahmed Gamal’s story to help follow along. He wrote this last year when his frustrations were peeked by the war; there are minimal edits, despite his limited command of English, to preserve the authenticity of his voice: Read More »

Podcast: Women Wage Peace Fast for Israel’s Future [ssba]

Podcast: Women Wage Peace Fast for Israel’s Future

wwp op prot fast

Guy Frenkel speaks to Orly Haklai and Michal Dover about Women Wage Peace’s Initiative, Operation Protective Fast. Orly and Michal are two women from a larger group that is currently fasting from early July until late August, the entire duration of last summer’s war, Protective Edge.  They hope to bring attention to the current government’s inaction, and warn that further rounds of fighting are around the corner if changes are not implemented.

 

 

Podcast: Discussing East Jerusalem and 2 State Solution with Laura Wharton [ssba]

Podcast: Discussing East Jerusalem and 2 State Solution with Laura Wharton

This podcast features Dr. Laura Wharton, a Jerusalem City Councilor elected as a member of Meretz.

The interview is framed around how a two-state solution could occur and what it could look like years from now.

We started the conversation with East Jerusalem and its relationship to the Municipality of Jerusalem. Wharton advocates for more responsibility to be taken by leadership to improve lives as well as more law enforcement for East Jerusalem. The discussion moves into thinking through generational experiences of war and peace. She is optimistic for the future and shares her ideas about potential processes to create sustainable countries for Israelis and Palestinians.

There are examples of successful peace processes from around the world, and hopefully we can also build a workable and just solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict.