The Israeli Opposition Network launched itself today with a bold statement about the Israeli election. More on the composition of the group below the statement.
Israelis living in the United States who oppose current Israeli Leadership launch Israel Opposition Network warning that election results threaten democracy and rule of law in Israel
[January 23, 2013, New York]
A group of highly engaged young Israeli intellectuals and professionals living the United States who are concerned about Israel s increasingly fragile democracy have launched the ‘Israeli Opposition Network’ , a political movement opposed to the current political leadership in Israel
“It’s a mistake to look at the results of today’s election in Israel as a division between two blocks,” says Nitzan Lebovic, a professor of history and a member of the Israeli Opposition Network. “The large majority of the parties in both blocks represent something closer to a Conservative agenda in American and European terms.”
“As advocates for human and civil rights, we fear election results still reflect a political deadlock that stifles the possibility for change. The rise of a Centrist Party calling for the draft of the ultra religious is not expected to address the more serious concerns about Israel. As long as control is maintained over a large population of Palestinians with no representation and no citizenship, Israel’s label as ‘democratic’ remains an unfulfilled promise,” says Itamar Mann, an Israeli Lawyer at Yale Law School.
With over 25% under the poverty line and the wholesale privatization of national assets to a small number of families, while most of the public struggle with massive debt and the inability to afford a home, the current leadership benefits the few while over four million Palestinians whose lives are controlled by the Israeli Government could not participate in the vote,” says Liron Mor currently at Cornell University.
“As leaders of the social justice protests in 2011, We want Israel to be a democracy. We are part of a growing opposition in Israel, not only to the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza but also to the corrupt and unjust economic policies that have sent the middle classes spiraling into poverty. We care deeply for the public in Israel, are extremely concerned for the residents of the occupied territories and for future of the state in the region. We believe we must raise our voices in the US to show that there is a young and capable democratic opposition to the current Israeli leadership says Yael Berda, an Israeli lawyer at Princeton University.
Berda told me that the Network is composed of members of the famous Israeli braindrain to the US. The group numbers about 40-50, and its members are experienced activists who work as scholars, journalists, and other professionals. “As Israelis living in the US, we have responsibilities,” she says, to explain Israeli society to Americans and in particular the American Jewish community, and to build alliances. “Because our voice is one that goes unheard, don’t know about Israeli opposition. There is room in the group “for all-staters– one state, two state– and different solutions to domestic issues,” she says.
Update: This post was updated today, Jan. 25, to correct some academic associations that were mistaken in the original press release.