Aida Touma-Sliman is a former journalist and nominee for the Nobel Prize for the Nobel Prize 2007. She is currently also one of only 18 Arab (out of 120 total) members of the Israeli Knesset, the parliamentary body of Israel.
Touma-Sliman is a vocal opponent of a new Israeli law that officially defines the country as the Jewish nation state. The law establishes Hebrew as the official language of Israel, and also mentions Jewish settlements – which have typically been in Palestinian-populated areas – a "national value." Touma-Sliman calls the law "Israeli apartheid."
Touma-Sliman is in Louisville to speak at an event sponsored Tuesday by the Jewish Voice for Peace Kentucky and the Louisville Committee for Peace in the Middle East. I spoke with her about extremism in Israel. You can listen to our conversation in the above player.
Touma-Sliman about the difficulty of being an Arab in the Knesset:
"I have to say that our situation as Palestinian Arab members of Knesset, and especially those on the common list like me, we face double problems and challenges." On the one hand, we are part of the challenge to the extreme right wing. and on the other hand, we face the challenge of being constantly attacked and urged to be Palestinians and to defend the right of our constituency, a national minority who is being discriminated against. "
About how the press has to do with being attacked by political leaders:
"To tell you the truth, I do not know who learns from President Trump or Prime Minister Netanyahu, it seems like they're leading the same kind of politics when it comes to media." There was a huge discussion going on in Israel when they changed, the Knesset changed the law on public broadcasting and made it more and more under the control of the government. "
Touma-Sliman speaks at 7:00 pm on Tuesday at the American Turkish Friendship Center in Louisville.