In 2015, Israel ushered in the most right-wing government in its history. But the same election produced another notable outcome: for the first time, Arab parties joined in a bloc with the sole Jewish-Arab party, Hadash, to form the Joint List, with 13 seats in the current Knesset, making it the third largest party and second largest in the opposition.
Ayman Odeh, Chair of the Hadash party and head of the Joint List, is interviewed on a wide range of issues by Mitchell Plitnick.
Ayman Odeh, Joint List leader, named as one of Foreign Policy’s 100 Global Thinkers, has just returned from a tour of the US. Although he won cheers from the Jewish Left he is convinced “US foreign policy is predicated on interests and not on morality. They shouldn’t be selling this democracy fiction to us. Americans are best friends with tyrants and primitive leaders in the Persian Gulf.”
In a long phone interview with Barak Ravid, Ben Rhodes, Pres. Obama’s chief aide and adviser on the MidEast, recounts the points at which an agreement to talk might have been reached. Despite intense US efforts, and insistence that Israel’s security would be enhanced by an agreement, neither leader could shift off his sticking point. A valuable insight.
The two axioms of PM Netanyahu – ‘our security above all’ and ‘there is no partner for peace’ have effectively destroyed the left suggests Nechama Duek – though why they haven’t found a response to this hegemon is not asked. A second Ynet article on the attitudes of the growing population of religious Jews leaves no hope for a two-state solution.
Israel’s Palestinian citizens are largely Bedouin – as are most of the knife-attackers. Here Joint List MK Zouheir Bahloul talks to Al Monitor about this troubled political identity – which drew him from sports broadcasting into the Knesset.
Israel has acquired a new expert on international law to advise the government on Europe. Professor Kontorovich’s knowledge seems to consist of two points – Europeans are irrational and two-faced. We illustrate some of his know-nothing points.
Khader Adnan, now in hospital after a long hunger strike, tells Al Jazeera he refused all supplements, including salt. Politically ‘the prisoners’ movement and hunger strikes in particular are a symbol of the principle and demand for justice in Palestine.’
In this unchallenging interview with Al Monitor, the PLO’s Hanan Ashrawi sees little hope of change, and little to hope for from any of the PA’s recent initiatives. But she does think the recent UN report on Israeli attacks on Palestinians in 2014 (and the forthcoming UNHRC report) are acts that for the first time hold Israel accountable and dismiss its excuse of exceptional security needs.
Arthur Goodman, JfJfP’s diplomatic liaison officer, grew up as a conventional, Israel right-Arabs wrong, Jew. Then came the startling and courageous rebellion of the 1st intifada and the re-telling of Israel’s story by Israel’s new historians. After that, it was JfJfP and his work as an incessant campaigning diplomat in the EU and parliament.
Yaron Kaplan joins a long line of young Israelis who have refused to do military service for reasons of conscience. Most end up in prison which Yaron is expecting. He is unusual because his refusal came mid-way through his service, after his experience of the extreme violence embedded in the IDF’s training and the impossibility of asking Palestinians to co-operate when he was imposing a military regime on them.
The Hamas/Fatah rift which is devastating the possibility of Palestinian political leadership cannot be said to be a political split. From this interview with Hanan Ashrawi, we learn it’s more to do with each group defending its own interests. She tells it like it is.
Jerusalem runs increasingly separate bus-lines. Egged carries the Jews. Palestinians, who comprise most of the drivers on all lines, travel on buses run by the (Arab) East Jerusalem Transport Association. Israeli Jews boarding from settler and Haredi areas routinely insult the drivers. Disturbing interview with 3 drivers.
Political thinker Michael Walzer and Fathom editor Alan Johnson discuss The Jewish Political Tradition – an exploration of the political ideas of Jews, excluded from government, scattered throughout European ghettoes.
As US-Israel relations have worsened, the superpower’s relations with the PA have become stronger. These two shifts may not be connected, but it is clear to analysts that a strong PA is essential if violence or anarchy are not to subsume the moderate authority. Interview with Mustafa Barghouti on US/Palestinian relations.
In this interview with Lakhdar Brahimi, the UN’s veteran diplomat utters some frank and hard-hitting judgments on the US’s role in the Middle East: it has been naive, without strategic thinking and unable to distinguish between different Arab nations.
‘The story of the Jews’ was a five part TV series made by British historian Simon Schama and first broadcast on BBC2 from September 2013. It was generally well received – except for its last part which suggested the settling of Palestine by Jews and the creation of Israel was the culmination of ‘the’ Jewish story. Interview with him by Poppy Sebag-Montefiore on the series and his new book .
Prof. Zeev Sternhell, an authority of the rise of fascism in France, defines fascism as a rejection of, an assault on, enlightenment values. In the regime’s treatment of the Palestinians and of Jewish dissidents, in the submission of intellectuals to government orders and the blind following of the masses, Prof. Sternhell sees signs of fascism, and certainly the end of Zionism as he understood it.
A letter signed by 56 Israeli reservists stating why they refuse to serve their country in its current military operation is published this week in the Washington Post. Their fundamental objection, the two initiators tell Democracy Now, is the power the hierarchical IDF exercises over Palestinians and Israelis. We learn on the way that most Americans have never heard of the siege of Gaza but think Israel is under siege by Hamas.
There are many small reasons why the peace talks initiated by the Obama administration and conducted by John Kerry failed. But there is one big reason: the Israeli government did not engage. If it can continue to deny all political rights to Palestinians, it will. As the blame game/accountancy continues, the PA turns to the international arena.
The latest development in the story of Israel’s scandalous treatment of African Asylum seekers was revealed last week. After denying to even examine most of the refugees’ asylum claims, deporting, and imprisoning those who stayed, Israeli authorities are now coercing them to sign on to so-called “voluntary” return as part of Israel’s arms and trade deals with several sub-Saharan African nations.
Transcript of a Real News programme with Lia Tarachansky