Azmi Bishara (Arabic: عزمي بشارة listen born 22 July 1956) is an Arab public intellectual, political philosopher and author. He 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.Born in Nazareth in Israel, his political activity began when he founded the National Committee for Arab High School Students in 1974. He later established the Arab Students Union when at university. In 1995 he formed the Balad party and was elected to the Knesset on its list in 1996. He was subsequently re-elected in 1999, 2003 and 2006. However, after visiting Lebanon and Syria in the aftermath of the 2006 Lebanon War, Bishara became the subject of a criminal investigation for acts of alleged treason and espionage and was suspected of supplying targeting information to Hezbollah. After being stripped of his parliamentary immunity, he fled Israel, denying the allegations and refusing to return, claiming he would not receive a fair trial.Bishara has since established himself in Qatar at the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies as an academic and researcher. He also helped establish the Al-Araby Al-Jadeed media conglomerate. In 2017 he announced his retirement from direct political work at the beginning of 2017 with the aim of dedicating all his time to “writing and intellectual production”.