Israeli-Arab lawmaker disappears
Interview: Azmi Bishara
A very thin slice of earth
Head of the National Democratic Assembly political party, Azmi Bashara was born in Nazareth to Christian parents. He is a Palestinian and a citizen of Israel. He represents Israel's Palestinian minority in the Knesset. Bishara studies at Humboldt University in Germany, is head of the philosophy department at Bir Zeit University, and is senior researcher at the Van-Leer Institute in Jerusalem. He was one of the founders of the National Democratic Assembly, or Balad. He describes himself as a humanist, a democrat, a liberal, and a neo-nasserite. In this interview Bishara examines turning Israel into a state of all of its citizens, opposing the institutionalized inequality that exists now between Jewish and Palestinian citizens of Israel. Producer: Ed Sweed (2004)
Produced by Alternate Focus
Based in San Diego, California, Alternate Focus is a 501(c)(3) non-profit educational media group promoting an alternative view of Middle East issues. They use the web, cable and satellite television, and DVDs to showcase media not usually seen by American audiences.
Azmi Bishara is a Palestinian citizen of Israel and a member of the Knesset. He was born in Nazareth to a Christian family in 1956. He studied at Humboldt University in East Germany. He was senior lecturer and head of the Philosophy Department at Bir-Zeit University, and senior researcher at the Van-Leer Institute in Jerusalem. He is also a published novelist.
Bishara started his political activity in 1974 as chairman of the National Committee of Arab High-School Pupils. He was active in the establishment of the students committee and Arab campus organizations at Haifa University and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He was also active in the Committee for the Protection of Lands, established in 1976, and against the Israeli occupation of the territories.
Bishara was one of the founders and heads the National Democratic Alliance (Balad), that ran in the elections to the 14th Knesset together with Hadash, and a member of the 14th Knesset. He defines himself as a humanist, democrat, liberal and Neo-Nasserite. He advocates turning the State of Israel into a state of all its citizens and the granting of cultural autonomy to the Arabs in Israel, and a bi-national solution to the Israeli-Palestinian problem.
His brother, Marwan Bishara, also appears in this database of writers on the situation in Palestine/Israel.
Depending on availability of the US National Public Radio archives, you may be able to hear an interview with Azmi Bishara which was broadcast on US National Public Radio on 20 June 2001, on All Things Considered. The interview was about a visit that Bishara made to Syria, a visit that caused controversy in Israel and has led to his parliamentary immunity being removed, so that he could be placed on trial. This controversy led to the estabishment of an International Committee for the Protection of Azmi Bishara, comprised of politicians, intellectuals and academics from many countries around the world.
You may also be able to hear an interview with Azmi Bishara which was broadcast on US National Public Radio on 10 October 2000, on All Things Considered. The interview was about an attempt by Israeli Jews to burn down his home in Nazareth.