Azmi Bishara (Arabic: عزمي بشارة listen , Hebrew: עַזְמִי בִשַארָה listen , was born on 22 July 1956 in Nazareth, Israel), is an Arab public intellectual, political philosopher and author. Bishara, a Palestinian from the Upper Galilee, 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. Previously, he was a member of the Israeli legislature, the Knesset. Bishara won election as a member of the Balad Party, a group which represents the interests of the Arab citizens of Israel, and of which he was a founder. Following visits to Lebanon and Syria in the wake of the 2006 Lebanon War, Bishara became the subject of an Israeli criminal investigation, for money laundering, contact with a foreign agent, delivery of information to the enemy and, most seriously, assistance to the enemy during war. Bishara was subsequently stripped of his parliamentary immunity; he fled Israel and has not returned since.
Bishara has since established himself in Qatar, where, in addition to his academic and research endeavors, he is a public intellectual active in the pan-Arab sphere. He also continues to write, as well as to issue new editions of some of his earlier works, including a 2012 re-publication of one of his most well-known Arabic books, On Civil Society. Additionally, Bishara helped to establish the Al-Araby Al-Jadeed (The New Arab) media conglomerate, which includes a newspaper with online and print editions and an online-only English version, as well as a television station, which launched in 2014. Politically, Bishara has been identified with both Marxism and with the anti-sectarian, enlightenment ideals of Arab nationalism. In this regard, he is a successor to Tawfik Ziad.