The chairman of the Joint Arab List, MK Ayman Odeh, is on Foreign Policy magazine's list of the top 100 "leading global thinkers" of 2015. The list is being published for the seventh year, and in the past has included such outstanding statesmen as U.S. President Barack Obama, Iranian President Hassan Rohani and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, alongside intellectuals and writers including David Grossman.
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“Middle East peace talks may be all but dead, but Ayman Odeh still dreams of resolving the world’s most intractable conflict," wrote the magazine, which mentions the caricature published in Haaretz in which Odeh appeared as Mickey Mouse, a hint of the public affection for him.
"I'm happy for the opportunity to present the unique problems of the country's Arab citizens, which are barely mentioned in the international discourse," said Odeh on the eve of his first trip to the United States as a politician. He is scheduled to participate in a Foreign Policy event and in "HaaretzQ: with NIF" - a first-of-its-kind conference to be held in New York on December 13.
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Odeh will meet with members of Congress and representatives of the U.S. State Department and the White House, as well as leaders of the civil rights movement, activists and representatives from the Palestinian and Jewish communities, intellectuals and prominent political activists.
"I'm going in order to talk about institutionalized discrimination and about 100,000 citizens living without water and electricity in the unrecognized villages in the Negev while this government continues to pour billions on the settlements. No halfhearted apology will cover for the fact that Netanyahu's government is based on racist incitement against Arabs and contempt for what remains of the democratic space," said Odeh.
"The prevailing tone in the world towards Israel and Palestine is one of despair and hopelessness We don't have the privilege of despairing. Tough times like now prove that the conflict can't be managed, but it can be solved, and that's the only way that there will be independence and security for both peoples here."