Zehava Galon, Two Years after Operation Protective Edge [ssba]

Zehava Galon, Two Years after Operation Protective Edge

It is terrifying to think that next time it might be you. You’ll open the door and a military officer will be standing there with a death notification. This time it will be you who has to figure out how to live with the loss. How to get out of bed into a world where the person who was supposed to be with you is no longer there, realizing you will never argue again or share private jokes. We all suppress this fear, perhaps because we cannot otherwise go on. But we all know – that there are those among us who pay the price of wars, military operations and terrorist attacks. Any name can be drawn up in this terrible lottery including yours and those closest to you. And we also understand that when a bereaved parent says that s/he has “paid the price” only a few fully understand what s/he means. Read More »

The Strollers’ March and Victories in the Social Protest Movement [ssba]

The Strollers’ March and Victories in the Social Protest Movement

In the summer of 2011, a few days after tents started popping up on Rothschild Boulevard. in Tel Aviv, a group of us were hanging out with protesters. Some of us were veteran activists, others were not. We all had kids ages one and a half to four.

This group initiated an unprecedented protest: the “stroller march,” which brought tens of thousands of parents to the streets for a power demonstration around the intolerable cost of raising children in Israel. Read More »

Dany Gutwein, The Economic Logic of the Occupation [ssba]

Dany Gutwein, The Economic Logic of the Occupation

Listen to Prof. Dany Gutwein explain the relationship how Israel’s neoliberalism is wedded to the occupation.

Zehava Galon, Too Hefty a Price [ssba]

Zehava Galon, Too Hefty a Price

Yesterday the lives of ten families changed forever. Four people were murdered and six injured in a terrorist attack in Tel Aviv. People who simply wanted to hang out and relax. In split seconds of horror, they became news. I send condolences to the families of the victims. Few know what they are going through right now. I wish a fast and easy recovery to the wounded, and believes that the state will do everything in its power to help them.

What a dreadful evening.

For months Israel has been facing a wave of terror that refuses to fade. On such occasions it’s easy to say there is “no hope” and speak of “the need for deterrence.” This indeed is what the government is doing. But I do not think we can afford to bury our heads in the sand and hope the terrorism wave will pass just because we suppressed the Palestinian population even further. We cannot continue managing the conflict, carefully controlling the flames, without forcing more Israeli families to pay a terrible price. If we continue down the same road, we will continue arriving at that place. It is difficult to speak of a peace process after such a terrible event, but eventually we’ll have to sit down and talk peace. Because what we have right now is not the best we can achieve. Neither is it good enough. Too many families paid a too hefty a price too many times. We cannot ask more families to pay this price.

13346421_1136315219792165_2810880550708256813_nThe text is a translation of Zehava Galon’s Facebook post. You can find the Hebrew original here.

 

Tomer Persico, A Watershed Moment for the IDF [ssba]

Tomer Persico, A Watershed Moment for the IDF

Tomer Persico published a Facebook post about the potential consequences of Israel’s treatment of the soldier who killed a neutralized Palestinian in Hebron last week.

Prime Minister Netanyahu’s phone call to the father of the Hebron soldier-executioner is indeed a terrible political low blow. His act is blatant interference by the political leadership in military affairs and meddling in the judicial process. His phone call not only disregards appropriate rules of governance, it also undermines the IDF’s ethical code and its moral standards. It is important to remember that this is a case of a soldier who arrived on the scene ten minutes after an attack, and according to witnesses, said that he was going to kill the terrorist because “he deserves to die.” On pictures taken at the time he was seen aiming at the head of the terrorist from a distance of two meters and then shooting even though the person had been on the ground and was not a threat. Read More »

Tomer Persico, The Duality of Israeli Existence [ssba]

Tomer Persico, The Duality of Israeli Existence

The following is a translation of a Facebook post, Dr. Tomer Persico published today. In the eight hours since it was published, it received over 1,700 likes. By the time you read it, it will have many more. Persico is a Research Fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem, and teaches at the department for Comparative Religion in Tel-Aviv University. But more than that, he is an astute observer of Israeli reality.

Translator: Maya Haber

The story over the last few weeks is the collapse of the delicate duality the Israeli government has been trying to preserve for years. It is the duality of occupation at home and democracy for abroad, religious coercion at home and a booming high-tech industry abroad, the stabbing at a Jerusalem Pride parade and pinkwashing for abroad. This is a strategic duality. It allows Israel to play a part in the community of enlightened nations. It has enormous benefits like trade agreements, the ability to purchase advanced weaponry (and silent permission to possess nuclear weapons) and the right to participate in the coalition of the virtuous allies fighting against jihadist Islam. Read More »

David Grossman, Israel Confronts its Beasts [ssba]

David Grossman, Israel Confronts its Beasts

The renowned novelist David Grossman spoke on Israeli radio on February 13. Yoav Peck translated Grossman’s insightful interview and agreed to share it with us.

This is indeed a striking text. Grossman has the ability to offer a sharp, clear analysis of Israel’s political reality. He argues that Netanyahu’s narrow view of Middle Eastern history exploits Jewish and Israeli collective trauma, and that a leader who views all Arabs as an eternal threat is bound to miss real dangers. To call Arabs “wild beasts” is a useless, inflammatory way of “crying wolf.” Grossman warns that Netanyahu will be caught by surprise should Israel face real existential danger. Read More »

Gaby Lasky: “The gloves have fully come off from the Prime Minister on down.” [ssba]

Gaby Lasky: “The gloves have fully come off from the Prime Minister on down.”

Gaby Lasky is a personal hero of mine. The first time I met her, she was wet out of law school and defended my ex-husband who was arrested in a student demonstration. I have been following her ever since. And Partners had a Conversation with her in May about the anti-boycott law. It is no surprise then that when I saw her interview with Einat Fishbein in the Hottest Place in Hell I stopped everything I was doing and sat down to read it. The interview grabbed me by the throat. At times, I couldn’t breathe. I had to translate it. I had no choice.

If you follow Israeli politics as closely as I do, you know things have changed radically in the last few months. In this interview Gaby Lasky convinced me that these changes are the result of an orchestrated attack on Israel’s Left. This is not another move in the continuous dance since 1977– sometimes the Right is on top, sometimes the Left. The Right has changed the rules of the game, she says. Their delegitimizing campaign is making it impossible for the Left to voice their opinion. She met Likud members who told her that they think Meretz should be banned. As simple as that.

And she is afraid. She is convinced there will be casualties in the attack on the Left. She locks the doors behind her. She is worried about her friends.

She continues believing in the system and fighting. I am not sure why she still believes – the story of the defense of Nasser Nawaja certainly did not leave me confident that the system works. But she does. If she didn’t she would have left the country a long time ago. Gaby Lasky is still hopeful. Read More »

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.

 

 

Impoverished Thinking, Impoverished Lives [ssba]

Impoverished Thinking, Impoverished Lives

Israel woke up the other day, 14 January, to the news that it is now the leader in poverty rates among the OECD countries. According to the report, about 21 percent of Israelis within the Green Line are living under the poverty line – more than in countries such as Mexico, Turkey, and Chile. In the mid-1990s, Israel’s poverty rate stood at just 14 percent. Further, Israel has the third highest gap between the rich and the poor in the world.  A country once founded out of a socialist ethos is now becoming even the most committed liberal’s nightmare. Indeed, the entire world is facing a steady and frightening rise in inequality, but even in this context Israel seems to triumph in this questionable race towards poverty and impoverishment.

On the day this statistic was released, Meretz Chairwoman MK Zehava Galon noted a direct connection between these sad statistics and the general erosion of compassion and retreat from any kind of egalitarianism within the Israeli society. She discussed her proposed bill to allow single mothers to receive child benefits at the same time as they go out to work, noting that if women earn above the ridiculous sum of 641 NIS per months (equivalent of $161) 60% of their child support allowance would be deducted by the government. Galon’s efforts to change this situation were hit by resistance of 51 coalition members who voted against the bill.

There is, of course, great poverty on the West Bank and Gaza. In a press release from last February the Deputy Prime Minister of Palestine, Mohammad Mustafa, and UN Deputy Special Coordinator for Middle East Peace Process, James W. Rawley, outlined a strategic response plan requesting 705 million to address humanitarian needs of 1.6 million Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank. Dr. Mustafa said: “the past few months have been the grimmest in our history”. Read More »