On Palestinians in the Israeli Knesset

Interview with Azmi Bishara

by Sara Scalenghe , Steve Rothman
published in MER201

Azmi Bishara was a young rising star in the Communist Party of Israel (Rakah) for several years. Since leaving the party after the upheavals of 1989, he and other Arab intellectuals periodically considered establishing a new Arab political party with a progressive-nationalist orientation. After much debate and several false starts, al-Tajammu‘ (Democratic National Assembly) was established in March 1996, shortly before Israeli elections. Al-Tajammu‘ includes former members and supporters of the Communist Party, the Covenant of Equality (an Arab-Jewish movement founded in 1991), the Progressive Movement (including Muhammad Mi‘ari, former MK of the Progressive List for Peace), Abna’ al-Balad (Sons of the Village) and others.

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Palestinian Rights in Post-Oslo Israel

published in MER201

Below are the proceedings of a roundtable discussion held in Nazareth, Israel, on June 24, 1996. The participants were: Aida Toma-Suliman, general director of Women Against Violence, Hala Espanioli Hazzan, chairperson of the Follow-up Committee on Arab Education in Israel, Hassan Jabareen, director of litigation for Adalah -- The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, Mohammed Zeidan, coordinator of the Arab Association for Human Rights, Samar Zaidani, administrative director of the Galilee Society -- the Arab National Society for Health Research Services, and Yousef Jabareen, former director of strategic planning for the Nazareth Municipality.

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"Is This Case for Real?"

by Joan Mandell
published in MER202

Michel Shehadeh is one of the defendants in the 10-year old LA 8 case. The following are excerpts from an interview with him conducted by Joan Mandell on February 8, 1997.

You have been wanting to write something about the case. Have you always wanted to be a writer or were you motivated by the case?

When the case started, I was studying journalism at the California State at Long Beach. I had wanted to be a film director. Before I left Palestine, I wanted to be an actor. My father told me, if you have the talent you can be an actor, but you should learn a profession in case you do not make it.

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Ten Years of the Los Angeles Eight Deportation Case

by Phyllis Bennis
published in MER202

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Shoring Up the National Security State

by Nina Farnia
published in MER259

Many expected the Obama administration to slow or altogether stop the growth of the national security state that its two predecessor administrations brought into being, but just the opposite has occurred. Prisoners are still held without charge at Guantánamo Bay; the Patriot Act is still the law; the administration has retained the use of rendition and protected state secrets with punitive vigor. President Barack Obama’s Justice Department has prosecuted more whistleblowers than all others combined. In key respects, indeed, the Obama administration has expanded and institutionalized the national security state.

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Do Immigrants Have First Amendment Rights?

Revisiting the Los Angeles Eight Case

by Jeanne A. Butterfield
published in MER212

“War on Terrorism Hits LA,” the headline of the Los Angeles Herald Examiner screamed on January 27, 1987. The Los Angeles Eight, as the seven Palestinians and a Kenyan came to be known, are still fighting deportation today. Dangerous security risks? The Immigration and Naturalization Service said so. International terrorists? The INS still argues that the Eight were members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). These charges were partly based on secret evidence, including photos showing the Eight distributing a “subversive” magazine published in Damascus entitled Democratic Palestine.

Middle East Reform: Right Idea, Wrong Plan

by Maren Milligan , Jillian Schwedler | published June 20, 2004

Democratic reforms in the Middle East and North Africa are both warranted and wanted—not only among the leaders who gathered earlier this month on Sea Island for the G8 Summit but also by the majority of the region’s citizens.

While there is little agreement on what form change should take, the most shocking dimension of the Bush plan for regional reform, The Broader Middle East and North Africa Initiative, or BMEI, is the administration’s continued partnership with authoritarian regimes and the exclusion of democratic reformers.

Vilifying Muslims Is Un-American

by Moustafa Bayoumi | published March 24, 2006

Muslim-bashing has become socially acceptable in the United States.

A new Washington Post/ABC News poll found that 46 percent of Americans hold negative perceptions of Islam, 7 percentage points higher than after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The poll also discovered that a third of the respondents have recently heard prejudiced comments against Muslims. Even more depressing is that one in four openly acknowledges harboring prejudice toward Muslims.

Is this surprising? Unfortunately, it’s not. The vilification of Islam and Muslims has been relentless among segments of the media and political classes for the past five years.

The Golan Waits for the Green Light

by Nicolas Pelham | published July 26, 2007

Since their government has not, Shoshi Anbal and a posse of her fellow Tel Aviv housewives are preparing to engage in diplomacy with Syria. On May 18, they assembled along the Israeli-Syrian frontier to applaud what at the time was Syrian President Bashar al-Asad’s latest iteration of his call for negotiations to end the 40-year standoff over the Golan Heights, occupied by Israel in 1967, and indeed the legal state of war prevailing between the two states since 1948. “Asad! Israel wants to talk,” the women chanted. And, less reverently, “Let’s visit Damascus—by car, not by tank.” 

Recipe for a Riot

Parsing Israel’s Yom Kippur Upheavals

by Peter Lagerquist | published November 15, 2008

On October 8, 48-year old Tawfiq Jamal got into his car with his 18-year old son and a friend, and set out for the house of his relatives, the Shaaban family, who lived as of then in a new, predominantly Jewish neighborhood on the eastern edges of Acre. A walled city on the sea, mainly famed in the West for having served as the CENTCOM of the crusading Richard the Lionheart, Acre is today a “mixed” Israeli town, inhabited by Jews as well as Arabs like Tawfiq. That day, he was on his way to pick up his daughter, who had been helping the Shaabans prepare cakes for a wedding scheduled for the following week. He insists that he drove slowly and quietly, with his radio turned off.