7 November, 3pm: Avraham Burg, ‘Can Israel Be Both “Jewish And Democratic”? — The Israeli Nation State Law, Jewish Identity & The Ongoing Struggle For Palestinian Rights’

Israel’s ‘Nation State Law’ of 2018 states that the right to exercise national self-determination in Israel is unique to the Jewish people, downgrades Arabic from its co-official status with Hebrew, and establishes Jewish settlement as a national value. Its opponents argued that the Law formalised the supremacy of Jews over non-Jews, but a challenge in the Supreme Court failed last month on the grounds that the Law ‘does not negate Israel’s character as a democratic state’. In this talk, Avraham Burg will explain why Netanyahu was right to call the Law ‘a defining moment in the history of Zionism’, and what this means for the future of Israel.

Avraham Burg is is one of Israel’s leading public intellectuals and political thinkers. He has published numerous books, including The Holocaust Is Over: We Must Rise From its Ashes (2008), Very Near To You: Human Readings of the Torah (2012), and In Days To Come: A New Hope for Israel (2018). He is a former Speaker of the Israeli Knesset and former head of the Jewish Agency.

Update. These are some of the comments we received after this talk:

  • “An impassioned yet cogent talk. Quite exceptional.”
  • “It was a fantastic talk.”
  • “Not only did I find this talk inspiring but I thought the delivery was superb. As well as anything else what a courteous respectful person in his response to questioners.”
  • “A really excellent talk and what an interesting insight into the debates going on within Israel.”
  • “[That] has to have been the most brilliant talk at the Lit ever.”
  • “Wow, that was really something!! Have enjoyed many a Lit, but this one was truly edge-of-the-seat stuff.”
  • “The most cogent and compelling analysis of what’s wrong it’s possible to imagine. Not everyone may have liked his message but there’s no doubt he was a resounding success.”

And, for the first time ever, the Lit is able to present a recording of an entire talk!

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Filed under 5782 / 2021-22 Programme