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.

Read More »

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.

Podcast: The Role of Archeology in the Conflict [ssba]

Podcast: The Role of Archeology in the Conflict

Archeology affects many aspects of life and politics across Israel and Palestine. This week I interviewed Yonathan Mizrachi, an archaeologist who founded the organization Emek Shaveh. It describes itself at its website as “an organization of archaeologists and community activists focusing on the role of archaeology in Israeli society and in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

We talked about the role of archeology in Israeli governmental strategy regarding settlements and why shared histories are important and real.

Podcast: Life in Silwan, East Jerusalem [ssba]

Podcast: Life in Silwan, East Jerusalem

Living so close to Silwan, I had to investigate it more. A predominantly Palestinian neighborhood in East Jerusalem, it is the largest excavation site in all of Israel and Palestine, and one of the most controversial in the world. This episode I look into life in Silwan through lived experience and organizations working in the area. I also wrote a story about my walk through Silwan which I narrate at the end of the podcast.

In the next episode I talk to one of the alternative archaeologists from Emek Shaveh about his perspective on the excavations in Silwan and about cultural heritage in general. Be sure to listen to both podcasts!



Podcast: A Conversation with Jeff Halper on Liberal Zionism and Possible Futures [ssba]

Podcast: A Conversation with Jeff Halper on Liberal Zionism and Possible Futures

In this episode, I am joined by Dr. Jeff Halper. I ask him about the dynamics of the occupation and conflict. He argues for liberal Zionists to reevaluate their positions, and we speak of possibilities for peace in the form of a singular bi-national state. His opinions do not reflect the views of Partners for Progressive Israel.

This is about Dr. Halper, from the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions website:

Dr. Jeff Halper is the Co-founder and Director of ICAHD, the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions. He was born in 1946 in Minnesota and emigrated to Israel in 1973. Since then he has been a tireless advocate for justice and civil rights for all Israelis and Palestinians. He spent ten years as a community worker in Jerusalem aiding low-income Mizrahi families. He co-founded ICAHD in 1997 to help resist Israel’s strategy of house demolitions in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. He is the author of three books, “Between Redemption and Revival: The Jewish Yishuv in Jerusalem in the Nineteenth Century”, “An Israeli in Palestine: Resisting Possession, Redeeming Israel”, and “Obstacles to Peace: A Reframing of the Palestinian – Israeli Conflict”. In 2006 Dr. Halper was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, citing ICAHD’s work “to liberate both the Palestinian and the Israeli people from the yoke of structural violence” and “to build equality between their people by recognizing and celebrating their common humanity.”

An Israeli organization that advocates for a Palestinian Right of Return and Jaffa city can be found here: http://zochrot.org. [Click here for a PPI post that discusses Zochrot.]

The book Halper mentions is Mapping My Return by Salman Abu Sitta.