Press Release

Common Declaration on Racism and Jewish-Arab Relations

Issued after an Emergency Meeting Held at the Israel Democracy Institute on August 6, 2014

On August 6, 2014, IDI brought together dozens of Jewish and Arab thinkers and leaders at an emergency meeting convened to address the sharp escalation of tension between Jews and Arabs in Israel and to lay the foundation for coexistence and mutual understanding between Jewish and Arab citizens. The document below was an outgrowth of that meeting and was published in the Hebrew press on August 19, 2014. An English translation and list of signatories follows.

We gathered together, Jews and Arabs, religious and secular, citizens of the State of Israel who are worried by the phenomenon of racism that has intensified in recent days. Despite our differences of nationality, gender, and political views, we declare the following:

The equal right of all people to life, liberty, and human dignity is the foundation of democracy. There can be no democracy without equal rights for all citizens. Civil rights—for Arabs and Jews—are not conditional (and may not be predicated on certain positions or feelings about the state or government policy).

For this reason, notwithstanding our complex and varied identities, we share a common abhorrence of the expressions of violence and racist statements and acts that we have witnessed in recent weeks, particularly against Israel's Arab citizens. These manifestations of racism demand strong and immediate action to curb the phenomenon.

Therefore, we call on all authorities, especially the Prime Minister of Israel, the Minister of Education, and the Minister of Justice, to place their offices at the forefront of the campaign against racism and to condemn expressions of racism unequivocally.

Similarly, we call on the Attorney General to order Israel's law enforcement agencies to take decisive action against racist acts and racist incitement, which has real potential to lead to violent or discriminatory behavior.

We, the undersigned, hereby undertake to work to strengthen these values, condemn manifestations of racism, and take steps to achieve equal citizenship.

Dr. Thabet Abu Rass

Ms. Nilly Avinun

Mr. Ibrahim Abu-Shindi

Mr. Said Abu Shakra

Adv. Rawia Aburabia

Adv. Sharon Abraham-Weiss

Ms. Samah Salima Agbaria

Admiral (retired) Ami Ayalon 

Prof. Michal Alberstein

Prof. Nimrod Aloni

Mr. Amir Elstein

Dr. Soheil Assad

Mr. Shuki Ehrlich

Mr. Amnon Beeri-Sulitzeanu

Mr. Zuhair Bahlul

Adv. Eli Bahar

Ms. Aya Ben-Amos

Mr. Odeh Bisharat

Adv. Hassan Jabareen

Adv. Reda Jaber

Mr. Ron Gerlitz

Prof. Hanoch Dagan

Justice (Emerita) Dalia Dorner 

Dr. Ayelet Harel Shalev

Dr. Muhammad Watad

Prof. Rassem Khamaisi

Mr. Mussa Hassdie

Mr. Udi Cohen

Dr. Arye Carmon

Mr. Imran Kanana

Ms. Rachel Liel

Mr. Mahamid Mustafa Sohil

Dr. Sami Miaari

Rabbi Michael Melchior

Dr. Yonatan Mendel

Prof. (Emeritus) Gavriel Salomon

Prof. Sammy Smooha

Mr. Jabir Asaqla

Dr. Mohammed Issawi

Ms. Roni Felsen

Mr. Orni Petrushka

Mr. Yohanan Plesner

Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer

Sheikh Kamel Rian

Dr. Tehilla Shwartz Altshuler

Prof. Yedidia Stern

Dr. Danielle Shani

Prof. Yuval Shany