Amnesty launches campaign to fight discrimination against Arab Israelis

Organizations steps up fight against perceived discrimination by public officials.

July 4, 2018 17:36
2 minute read.
Members of the Arab Joint List Party at a protest in Haifa, May 20, 2018

Members of the Arab Joint List Party at a protest in Haifa, May 20, 2018. (photo credit: JOINT ARAB LIST)


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Amnesty International Israel launched a new website on Wednesday calling for an end to discrimination against Arab Israelis, via a platform aimed at facilitating the reporting of cases of discrimination and taking part in various activities against it."

The Israeli branch of the human rights organization established the website due to its perception that Arab Israelis, or "Palestinian citizens of Israel" as the organization refers to them, are undergoing a "severe attack" and need to operate in an organized and collective manner to fight for their rights as a minority in Israel.

"The Israeli government severely violates the freedom of expression and freedom of association of Palestinian individuals and organizations in Israel,” Amnesty International said in a press release. “These are fundamental and important freedoms in every democratic state, and in Israel they are fundamental rights of special protection, and the violation of them is a serious violation of Israeli and international law, which necessarily leads to a reduction and threat to the existence of Palestinian civil society in Israel."

The campaign is focused on stopping the "silencing of Palestinian activists and organizations in Israel" as well as incitement against them.

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With this view, the organization will gather testimonies and information on any incidents of this kind, and will monitor legislation and bills it deems discriminatory or as violating or restricting freedom of expression, freedom of association and freedom of demonstration.

Amnesty seeks to stop such discriminatory actions using various tools, one of which will be its new Hebrew-Arabic website.

Via the website, Amnesty Israel encourages members of the public to join its activities to stop discrimination, which include: raising awareness among Knesset members and other public officials about discrimination, incitement to violence and racism against Arab Israelis; holding conferences and public debates on the subject; fighting bills they view as racist or discriminatory; and organizing large protests in response to discrimination, incitement, violence or racism led by elected officials, civil servants, and government agencies.

The first step of the initiative involves a letter-writing campaign directed at the Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, calling for the disqualification of two candidates for Mayor of Afula: Shlomo Malihi and Avi Elkabetz. Amnesty Israel accuses both candidates of incitement against Arab Israelis in light of their participation in demonstrations held last month against the sale of an apartment in the city to an Arab family.

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