Posted on July 16, 2010 in Viewpoint with James Zogby
On Thursday’s edition of Viewpoint with James Zogby:Daniel Levy, Senior Fellow and Director of the Prospects for Peace Initiative at The Century Foundation and a Senior Fellow and Director of the Middle East Initiative at the New America Foundation; Nuh Yilmaz, Director of the Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research (SETA); Jafar Farah, Director of the Mossawa Center.
Daniel Levy, Senior Fellow and Director of the Prospects for Peace Initiative at The Century Foundation and a Senior Fellow and Director of the Middle East Initiative at the New America Foundation, discussed the latest developments in the Middle East peace process. Levy began by commenting on an ad, sponsored by The Emergency Committee for Israel, which attacks Congressman Joe Sestak (D-PA) for, among other things, refusing “to sign a bipartisan letter affirming U.S. support for Israel.” In his analysis of the ad, levy said; “Part of the ad was pretty blatant racism”. He explained that the very people who ran the ad represent a wing of the right of the political spectrum whose views “…cannot co-exist with support for the kind of aide that Israel gets as an OEDC member, a support for a big American footprint overseas, billions of dollars for wars in the middle east, trillions of dollars.”
Nuh Yilmaz, Director of the Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research (SETA), discussed Turkey and the current status of its relations with Israel in the recent months since the Gaza-bound Turkish Flotilla incident. “The government of Turkey had two big demands after the flotilla attack: One was an apology, and the other was an international inquiry”, said Yilmaz. He explained that Turkey has curtailed certain privileges Israel once had, including reducing Israeli military flights through Turkish airspace. Yilmaz commented on the notion that the Turkish role in Israeli-Palestinian conflict will backfire and have negative implications for Turkey. Yilmaz stated: “I think that critique is mostly an isolated and marginal critique.”
Jafar Farah, Director of the Mossawa Center, the advocacy center for Arab citizens in Israel, painted a picture of life for the 1.3 million Arab citizens of Israel. “We’re an important layer, we’re a big community and we are discriminated systematically by the Israeli government”, said Farah. He continued, “We have potential to be the future because we have the accessibility to the Palestinians and the Jews.” Farah explained that Arab Israelis find themselves in very tough positions when it comes to recognition even among other Arabs, who for a time, he explained, viewed them as traitors. Also, because of their Israeli citizenship, both Israel and 19 Arab countries restrict their movement to and from Israel. “If I fall in love with somebody in Ramallah, we can’t live together”, said Farah. His comments refer law which prohibits Israeli Arabs from obtaining citizenship for their spouses outside of Israel.