Over the past few months, the Israeli Knesset has passed a series of laws that seriously undermine Israel’s claim to be an open, tolerant democracy. As advocates for the rights of Palestinian citizens ofIsrael currently visiting the United States to meet with policy makers and members of civil society, we are deeply concerned about these developments. Sadly, while a wave of democratic uprisings sweep the region, Israel, the self-proclaimed “only democracy in the Middle East” is moving in the opposite direction, towards a less open, less democratic society.
While this disturbing trend has been in evidence for a number of years now, the election of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his extreme right-wing coalition government has accelerated the process and laid it bare for all to see. Thus, in just the past few weeks we have witnessed the passing of a law that will deny public funding to any institution that commemorates the disaster that befell Palestinians during Israel’s creation in 1948 (the so-called “Nakba Law”) and another law that will allow small communities to have selection committees that can reject applicants on the basis of "social suitability.”
History repeats itself. But not always. Not when those who are able step up to change the course.
The Holocaust, Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda and Darfur all share major, tragic anniversaries this month, which is why April has been named Genocide Prevention Month by the world’s growing anti-genocide movement. As communities across the globe commemorate past atrocities, we can best honor those who lost their lives, their homes, and their families in these major atrocities by working hard to make ‘Never Again’ a reality.
On Monday evening, President Obama finally addressed the American people to begin explaining why almost two weeks ago, he called for military action in Libya.
I am still scratching my head trying to figure out why it took ten days for the president to address the nation about our military involvement there.
As Americans, we are known as a compassionate people and it is no secret that as a country we assist in humanitarian efforts across the globe to help ensure safe conditions for those less fortunate than us. In Libya, Muammar Gadhafi’s attacks on his own people are tragic.