Israel’s Mainstream Political Parties Should Be Courting Arab Voters

July 25 2019

In the 2015 Knesset election, the various Arab parties in Israel joined together into a single bloc, thus garnering thirteen of 120 seats. But this unity proved short-lived. In the elections this past April, different parties ran separately, leading to two of them dividing ten seats between them. With new elections scheduled for September, these parties are undergoing the same splintering and instability as the rest of the Israel political system. Eyal Zisser sees this state of affairs as an opportunity:

The source of the Arab parties’ problem lies in their agenda, which focuses more on the struggle against the state of Israel and its institutions and less on an attempt to integrate Arab citizens further into Israeli society. The vast majority of Arabs in Israel have long since opted to integrate into the state of Israel and its fabric of life. The path is long and riddled with obstacles. . . . But the data point to impressive progress having been made by Israel’s Arab citizens in every field.

But the Arab parties have refused to focus their activities on an agenda that seeks to improve the situation of Arab citizens and to dedicate themselves to dealing with the societal and economic problems that concern them. As a result, the voters abandoned the Arab parties en masse. The decreased voter turnout in the Arab sector was dramatic. In some places, it was down by over 30 percent.

These trends will continue in the coming Knesset election. But in order for them to be leveraged into dramatic change in the situation of Arab citizens and their relation with the state and its institutions, a few complementary processes are needed: first, the appearance of forces and leaders from within the Arab community that will [embrace an] agenda focused on bringing about change in the status of Arabs in Israel. Second, the Zionist parties must return to the Arab street, incorporate Arabs in their Knesset lists, and mainly, go out and talk to Arab voters. And they should do this not just to earn their votes come election day but to make them legitimate and long-term political partners. Should that happen, the country and its Arab citizens would set out on a new path.

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Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Israeli Arabs, Israeli politics

The Evidence of BDS Anti-Semitism Speaks for Itself

Oct. 18 2019

Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs recently released a lengthy report titled Behind the Mask, documenting the varieties of naked anti-Semitic rhetoric and imagery employed by the movement to boycott, divest from, and sanction the Jewish state (BDS). Drawn largely but not exclusively from Internet sources, its examples range from a tweet by a member of Students for Justice in Palestine (the “world would be soooo much better without jews man”), to an enormous inflated pig bearing a star of David and floating behind the stage as the rock musician Roger Waters performs, to accusations by an influential anti-Israel blogger that Israel is poisoning Palestinian wells. Cary Nelson sums up the report’s conclusions and their implications, all of which give the lie to the disingenuous claim that critics of BDS are trying to brand “legitimate criticism of Israel” as anti-Semitic.

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Read more at Fathom

More about: Anti-Semitism, BDS, Roger Waters, Social media