Azmi Bishara

Arab Democracy

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Azmi Bishara (Arabic: عزمي بشارة‎ listen , Hebrew: עַזְמִי בִשַארָה listen , born 22 July 1956, Nazareth) is an Arab public intellectual, political philosopher and author. Bishara, a Palestinian from the Upper Galilee, is presently the general director of the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies and the chair of the board of trustees of the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies. He lives in self-exile in Doha since 2006.Previously, he was a member of the Israeli legislature, the Knesset. Bishara won election as a member of the Balad Party, a group which represents the interests of the Arab citizens of Israel, and of which he was a founder.Following visits to Lebanon and Syria in the wake of the 2006 Lebanon War, Bishara became the subject of an Israeli criminal investigation for acts of alleged treason and espionage. Bishara was suspected of supplying targeting information to Hezbollah on strategic areas in Israel to attack with rockets, and allegedly received hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash through money changers in return. He was subsequently stripped of his parliamentary immunity; he fled Israel and has not returned since. Bishara has denied the allegations and says he will not return to Israel as he believes he will not receive a fair trial.Bishara has since established himself in Qatar, where, in addition to his academic and research endeavors, he is a public intellectual active in the pan-Arab sphere. He also continues to write, as well as to issue new editions of some of his earlier works, including a 2012 re-publication of one of his most well-known Arabic books, On Civil Society.Bishara helped to establish the Al-Araby Al-Jadeed (The New Arab) media conglomerate, which includes a newspaper with online and print editions and an online-only English version, as well as a television station, which launched in 2014.


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