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Present Absentees: Professor Oren Yiftachel

Panel: A state of all its citizens?

Address by Professor Oren Yiftachel at MEMO’s ‘Present Absentees: Palestinian Citizens of Israel & the Nation-State Law’ conference held in London on April 27, 2019.

Professor Yiftachel teaches political geography and urban studies at Ben-Gurion University, Beersheba.

His research has focused on critical understandings of the relations between space, power and conflict. Yiftachel is also an activist who has recently co-founded the Israeli-Palestinian peace movement “A Land for All”.

Panel: A state of all its citizens?

The passing of the Nation-State Law has rekindled debates over Israel’s claim to be “the only democracy in the Middle East”. Now legally defined as a Jewish State, the use of terms such as theocracy and ethnocracy must be reconsidered, prompting the question: Is Israel really a state of all its citizens?Further, by institutionalising racial differentiation between Israeli citizens, the Nation-State Law bears the marks of apartheid, literally defined as “separateness” or segregation. This impacts not only Palestinian citizens of Israel, but also other minorities within Israel including the Druze, Mizrahi Jewish and Christian communities. Together representing a quarter of Israel’s population, these minorities could use their united opposition on the Nation-State Law as a chance to foster cooperation and inter-community relations.

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