Nov 08 2008

The other side of Israel

 This afternoon I finished reading Susan Nathan’s “The other side of Israel: my journey across the Jewish-Arab divide” today (2005, ISBN 0-385-51456-5).  The links below are from the back of the book.  Equally interesting, near the end of the book, was this quote from 1930:

 “It would have seemed more sensible to me to establish a Jewish homeland on a less historically burdened land.  But I know that such a rational viewpoint would never have gained the enthusiasm of the masses and the financial support of the wealthy.  I concede with sorrow that the baseless fanaticism of our people is in part to be blamed for the awakening of Arab distrust.  I can raise no sympathy at all for the misdirected piety which transforms a piece of a Herodian wall into a national relic, thereby offending the feelings of the natives.” 

That was Sigmund Freud, in a letter to Chaim Koffler, head of the Jewish Agency, who was asking for Freud’s signature on a petition condemning Palestinian riots against the waves of Jewish immigrants…

Starting on page 295… 

The following reliable websites have English pages dealing with issues related to the Arab citizens of Israel. 

Arab websites 

Adalah:  www.adalah.org/eng/index.php

 Established in 1996, Adalah (“Justice” in Arabic) is a legal organization dedicated to protecting the human rights of Israel’s Arab minority, mainly through legal challenges in the courts.  It publishes an informative monthly newsletter on its site as well as its annual Review in Arabic, Hebrew, and English, which carries articles by leading lawyers and academics on key issues facing the minority.

 Arab Association of Human Rights (HRA):  www.arabhra.org

 The HRA was founded in 1988 to promote the political, social, economic and cultural rights of the Arab minority inside Israel by lobbying major international bodies such as the United Nations.  It also runs programmes in schools to educate Arab children in their rights.  It has published a series of six comprehensive fact sheets on its website and regularly issues reports on aspects of Israeli discrimination against the Arab minority.  Each week it publishes a digest of reports from the local Arab media.

 Arab Centre for Alternative Planning:  www.ac-ap.org

 The centre was created in 2000 in response to the huge pressures on the Arab minority in terms of land, planning, housing and development.  In 2004, ACAP became the first independent Arab organization ever to win the right to file objections on local and national planning procedures.  The website includes a newsletter and articles on planning and land matters.

 Association of Forty:  www.assoc40.org

 The website of the lobby group begun by Mohammed Abu Hayja (see Chapter 4) to win recognition for those Arab communities the Israeli state refuses to recognize, commonly known as unrecognized villages.  Some 10,000 Arab citizens live in such communities, including 75,000 Bedouins in the Negev.  The website includes historical and statistical information on the unrecognized villages.

Galilee Society:  www.gal-soc.org

 Established by health-care professionals in 1981, the Galilee Society campaigns for equality for Arab citizens in their health, environmental and socio-economic conditions.  Much of its work concentrates on training programmes and compiling data and surveys.  Its Rikaz database, which includes a great deal of demographic information on the minority, can be found at http://www.rikaz.org/en/index.php.

 I’lam:  www.ilamcenter.org

 I’lam was founded in 2000 as the minority’s first media centre to try to open up the Israeli media to little-heard Arab perspectives, combat bias in the Hebrew media and improve standards in the local Arab media.  It was one of the key organizations documenting police violence towards the minority during the October 2000 events.  The website includes useful information about discriminatory policies in the Israeli media.

 Ittijah:  www.ittijah.org

 Ittijah is the umbrella organization for all the nonprofit groups working for the Arab minority, helping to coordinate their activities.  The website includes several fact sheets and a regular newsletter providing details of forthcoming events by its members.

 Mada:  www.mada-research.org

 Established in 2000, Mada is an Arab-run research institute developing public policy proposals advancing the national rights of Arab citizens.  It also organizes conferences and seminars exploring issues of citizenship, national identity and democracy models in multiethnic states.  It has published a detailed book on the situation of Arab citizens in Israel, Citizens Without Citizenship.  In 2005 it will publish the first edition of a new journal, Palestinian Review.

Mossawa:  www.mossawacenter.org

Mossawa, an advocacy centre for Arab citizens founded in 1997, works  both locally and internationally to raise the profile of the minority.  It specializes in compiling comparative data on social and economic  discrimination against the Arab minority.  The website includes some short reports in English and press releases.

 Joint Arab and Jewish websites

Alternative Information Centre:  www.alternativenews.org

A well-established anti-Zionist website run from Jerusalem and Bethlehem by Israelis and Palestinians.  Although its main focus is on the occupied territories, it does also publish informed fact sheets and articles on the Arab minority.  The AIC publishes a monthly magazine, News from Within; some of the articles are available from its separate website, http://www.newsfromwithin.org/.

Sikkuy:  www.sikkuy.org.il/english/home.html

Founded in 1991, Sikkuy is jointly managed by an Arab and a Jewish director.  The Jewish branch as established three civil action groups in Jewish areas to lobby for equal rights for their Arab neighbours.  Sikkuy is also behind an initiative to encourage Jewish and Arab municipalities to increase levels of cooperation.  The website publishes an important annual report monitoring equality in government programmes, budgets and resources.

Jewish websites

Adva:  www.adva.org/indexe.html

An organization dedicated to analysis of Israeli policy towards marginalized communities, including women, Mizrahi Jews and Arab citizens.  The website includes comparative data in the Social Gaps section, as well as analysis reports.

Association for Civil Rights in Israel:  www.acri.org.il/english-acri/engine/index.asp

Founded in 1972, ACRI is dedicated to protecting human rights inside Israel and the occupied territories, mainly through legal challenges in the courts.  The website has useful information on discrimination inside Israel, particularly against the Bedouins.

Zochrot:  www.nakbainhebrew.org/index.php?id=49&search_word=english

Most of the “Nakba in Hebrew” website, its name suggests, is in Hebrew, but a few articles and reports on Zochrot events can be found on this page.

International websites

Palestine Remembered:  www.palestineremembered.com

An invaluable website with a great deal of relevant material about the hundreds of Arab villages destroyed in 1948.  The best feature is a geographically listed guide to each of the villages, with information on the date of its ethnic cleansing, the Israeli army operation in which it was attacked, the amount of land owned by the village and its population, where the survivors are now and which Israeli settlements have been built over the village.  Refugees also have a noticeboard on which they can leave stories, messages and photographs.

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