Profile in Peace: Khulood Badawi
Khulood Badawi is a Palestinian citizen of Israel who advocates for Palestinian civil rights and organizes activities that bring together the Palestinian and Jewish communities in order to bring about a better future and real peace in Israel/Palestine.
Khulood Badawi was born in Nazareth, in the Galilee region of Israel, in 1976, and is a Palestinian citizen of Israel. As a young school student, she learned about the history of the Jewish people, Europe, and the Arab world, but nothing about Palestinian history. She noted that, "As a Palestinian, you're not mentioned anywhere--it is as if you do not exist."
Instead, she gained much of her political awareness growing up in Nazareth. The Democratic Front for Peace and Equality, a Jewish-Palestinian political party, had a strong presence there. Through their work, Badawi grew up with an awareness of her identity.
At the University of Haifa, she studied the history of the Jewish people and the Arabic language. In 1996, she began her activism as a student at the University of Haifa. Badawi was first active in the Arab Students' Committee and later was a founding member and elected chair of the Association of the Arab University Students in Israel. Her campus work ranged from educating Arab and Jewish students alike about the Israeli occupation and Palestinian rights, as well as improving the status of the Palestinian Arab students of the Israeli University and defending their rights to freedom of speech and expression. Badawi was expelled from the university and banned from entering the campus for two years for organizing demonstrations that lasted about four months.
Badawi currently works for the Association for Civil Rights in Israel as a field researcher, focusing on the issue of the Separation Wall. She is also a member of several civil rights groups including Ta'ayush, a joint Arab-Jewish movement, the Coalition of Women for a Just Peace, and Bat Shalom. These groups work nationally and internationally on many different initiatives which include organizing demonstrations, supporting young Israelis who refuse mandatory military service, creating alternative trips to expose Israelis to occupation and discrimination, and civic activities engaging Palestinian and Jewish communities.
During the summer of 2006, Badawi helped organize peace protests against the Israeli war on Lebanon. Together with an Israeli Jewish woman of Russian descent, she chanted slogans in Russian, Arabic, and Hebrew to make the point that Arabs and Jews can live together. Badawi strategically staged these protests in Tel Aviv to demonstrate that Palestinian citizens of Israel would not be silenced.