Place of Birth: Nazareth
Date of Birth: July 22, 1956
Dr. Azmi Bishara was member of the Knesset and founding member of the National Democratic Assembly (NDA), representing the Arab minority in Israel under the banner of national, democratic values. The NDA and Dr. Bishara believe that equality in Israel rests upon the separation of state and religion, and the transformation of Israel from a state of the Jews to a state of its citizens. As such, the NDA combines the struggle for national rights and democracy into one political program, supporting the Arabs in Israel’s right to run their own cultural affairs and the right of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza to live in an independent Palestinian state.
Dr. Bishara`s political program is informed by his experience as a student activist and academic. In 1974, he established the first National Committee of High School students, and in 1976 was instrumental setting up the Committee for the Defense of Arab Lands and the first National Arab Student Union. Upon completing his PhD in philosophy at Humbodt University in Germany, he joined the faculty of Bir Zeit University in 1986, and went on to head the philosophy and political science departments. Dr. Bishara was the director of research at the Van Leer Institute between 1990 and 1996 and was active propagating the Palestinian cause during the Intifada.
Dr. Bishara publishes in Arabic, English, German and Hebrew, writing articles and editing books on issues of nationalism, national minority rights in Israel, democracy and civil society, Islam and democracy and the Palestinian question both in Israel and outside the Green Line. He is the author of books, for example “A Contribution to the Criticism of Civil Society”, and “A Reading in a Ruptured Political Discourse.”