This week ECMI Director Prof. Malloy travelled to Jerusalem to attend the international roundtable organised by the Citizens’ Accord Forum (CAF).
The forum was established in 2001, and its aim is to build a shared society through a sustainable democracy, and to create mutual responsibility and equal opportunity among all citizens of Israel. The Forum works to mend rifts between groups in conflict by building bridges, encouraging constructive engagement, and promoting and empowering civic leadership.
CAF focuses on ordinary citizens, decision-makers and specifically addresses groups that are generally excluded from the national discourse on social issues, i.e. ultra-Orthodox Jews and traditional Arab women. The annual roundtable of the Citizens’ Accord Forum is the dialogue forum between Israeli Jews and Palestinian Israelis.
In 2019, the annual roundtable took place on the 18th of February.
Prof. Malloy’s speech at the event was entitled “Normative Multiculturalism – The influence on the public space: The European experience, Or, Minority-Majority Relations in Practice in Europe ”. As indicated in the title, the ECMI Director used her speaking time to examine the practice and discussions of Multiculturalism in Europe, and particularly the assertions by several prominent European politicians in the last decade that multiculturalism has failed or should no longer exist.
“Although the history of cultural diversity and conflict between communities in Europe has existed for a long time, there is no normative multiculturalism in Europe,” explained Prof. Malloy. “Countries like France, Spain, Denmark, Bulgaria and Greece continue to deny the existence of ethnic diversity within their sovereign borders, at least in political rhetoric.” She followed this by expanding upon the linguistic development of the term “Multiculturality” towards the recently more often used expressions cultural diversity, inter-culturalism and inclusion. In this context, she outlined four of the dimensions of the term “multiculturalism”: Multiculturalism-as-a-fact, Multiculturalism-as-policy, Multiculturalism-as-practice and Multiculturalism-as-ideology.
Prof. Malloy also emphasized the role of international organisations like the Council of Europe, the OSCE and the UN regarding minority rights: “There is a comprehensive legal framework on protection and promotion of minority rights through membership of international organisations.”
But she also made clear that in most cases, the distinctive European approach only applies to homeland minorities, who became minorities because borders were redrawn, or territories were transferred from one sovereign state to another. “Once immigrants and refugees become legal residents, they enjoy only formal equality according to national anti-discrimination policies,” explained Prof. Malloy.
Other points examined in Prof. Malloy’s speech included the challenges connected to the so-called “critical mass” of minorities required for representation and participation, the implementation of diversity management in terms of media and education, the foundations required for cultural or non-territorial autonomy, and infrastructure challenges related to health, public signage and the judiciary system.
Prof. Malloy concluded that Europe still has some way to go, but that legal frameworks and politics will lead the way for non-territorial or cultural autonomy. “Non-territorial autonomy (or cultural autonomy) exists in many countries and in many forms.”