The call for equal rights

Page last updated 27 Oct 2015


The call for equal rights has been made at a number of levels. Within Green Line Israel it is a call for genuine equality for Palestinian citizens of Israel, expressed most clearly in The Democratic Constitution issued by Adalah in March 2007. It is now a call taken up with increasing energy by the Joint List.

But it also a call that attempts to shift the focus of the struggle in Israel-Palestine from a simple call for peace negotiations in a situation where they seem to have become a substitute for actual peace, or a debate about one or two states. Indeed in March 2015 Independent Jewish Voices organised a conference under this very title (see 3. below), inspired in many ways by the work done by the Kreisky Forum (see 4. below)

Many of the arguments about one or two states emphasise questions of equal rights and the page One state or two? should also be looked at.


1. Ayman Odeh wants to be Israel’s Martin Luther King
Haviv Rettig Gur, Interview with Ayman Odeh, Times of Israel, 3 May 2015

An interesting interview with the head of the new Joint List in the Knesset as Odeh struggles with the implications of recognising Israel as the state in which Jewish self-determination is embodied, while conceding nothing on Palestinian-Israeli demands for full citizenship.


2. Change the story: let’s have equal rights to live and move freely in Israel and the oPt
Dimi Reider, Jewish Chronicle, JfJfP 10 Sep 2012

Tel Aviv sociologist Yehouda Shenhav – in a surprising move for an academic long-identified in the public eye as far to the left – forcefully argues the case for expanding the conversation to include Jewish rights in his book, Beyond the two state solution: A Jewish Political Essay. At present, Jews in Israel have privileges, as opposed to rights. The problem is that privileges are secured, at the end of the day, by little more than the bearer’s overwhelming brutal force…

Reider, who translated the book, provides an introduction to its ideas here.


3. The End of Liberal Zionism
Antony Lerman, NY Times Sunday Review, JfJfP 22 Aug 2014

One-time Zionist Antony Lerman argues that liberal Zionism is now an anachronism. Israel is now driven by forces and ideas – religious messianism, colonialism, ethnic cleansing, purification of the tribe – which no-one with liberal or humanitarian views can subscribe to. Better to admit it’s a lost cause and argue for an Israel of equal rights.


4. Equal rights for all: a new path for Israel-Palestine?
Independent Jewish Voices, conference, Mar 2015

“The failure of the Kerry peace plan, the devastating bombardment of Gaza in July and August 2014, and the annexation by Israel of more land in the West Bank have delivered another setback to both the prospect of Palestinian statehood and an end to the Israel-Palestine conflict. More broadly, 47 years of military occupation have denied the Palestinians inhabiting these territories almost every basic civil and human right. It is time therefore for an objective appraisal of the reality of life for Palestinians, a thorough understanding of the nature of the Israeli-controlled military and civil regime that prevails in the entire Israel-Palestine area, and a recognition that there will be no solution that can secure the viability of a peaceful life for Israelis and Palestinians unless it is grounded in the principles of universal human rights and international law. Shifting attention from discussions focused solely on a one-or-two-state agreement, the fundamental question this Conference seeks to address is how to achieve equal rights for all who live in Palestine-Israel.

In pursuit of these objectives, the conference will also aim to highlight the real impact of occupation and ask how it may be brought to an end; seek to facilitate co-operation between Palestinians and like-minded Israeli Jews; and issue a rallying call for the international community.

The aims of the conference are:

  • To help shift the debate from externally imposed or brokered state-centric solutions to the building of a new campaign in Palestine-Israel and internationally to achieve full civil and political rights.
  • To provide a forum for like-minded Israeli Jews and Palestinians in Israel and the occupied territories, as well as their diasporic supporters, to engage in discussion of this new approach, with the participation of sympathetic politicians, policy-makers, think tank experts, activists and media.
  • To provide a new focus of activity for activists outside of Palestine-Israel, which would lead to building new and more powerful and united coalitions within the activist communities and especially among concerned groups and individuals in the Jewish and Palestinian diasporas.”

See the report on the conference by Anthony Isaacs: Equal rights is the paramount demand, JfJfP 29 Mar 2015


5. Palestine/Israel: Not every problem has a solution?
Antony Lerman, Political Quarterly vol 86 no 3, JfJfP 5 Oct 2015

A review of two books including the Kreisky Forum’s eBook, available for free download, Rethinking the Politics of Israel/Palestine: Partition and its Alternatives. Most of that book, writes Lerman, “consists of short essays written by Israeli Jews and Palestinians, from inside Israel-Palestine and the diaspora, focusing on elaborating principles that ‘would secure the individual and collective rights (including national self-determination), interests, and identities of Jewish Israelis and Palestinians alike’.” And he states: “This is a radical agenda, to be sure, but its advocates ground their arguments in convincing analyses of the structural problems and unsustainable principles associated with the failed state-based peace process…”


Contents of this section


a) Negotiating for peace
b) Palestinian popular resistance
c) Boycott, divestment, sanctions

Some early history
The campaign against settlement goods and institutions
Arms boycott
Boycott of companies profiting from the occupation
Academic and cultural boycott
Sanctions: the EU and Israel-Palestine

d) Israeli social movement opposition
e) Solidarity with Palestinian and Israeli campaigns and activities
f) Hamas’s strategy
g) The call for equal rights
h) Using International Law

© Copyright JFJFP 2024