Housing Covenants in New Orleans and Admissions Committees in Israel
In November 2017, Director Nadia Ben-Youssef, and Fady Khoury, Adalah attorney, led a roundtable discussion with housing rights advocates in New Orleans, hosted at HousingNOLA. Partners included Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center, the National Fair Housing Alliance, Jane's Place Neighborhood Sustainability Initiative, and Blights Out.
The discussion covered the state’s attempts to displace Palestinian Bedouin communities from their lands in the Naqab (Negev), the unwillingness of the Israeli courts to uphold Bedouin citizens’ rights to property, equality and dignity, and the use of admissions committees to segregate Jewish and Palestinian citizens’ communities inside Israel. The Admissions Committees Law in Israel allows for hundreds of small Israeli Jewish communities to reject applicants for residency based on the criteria of "social suitability". This law resonated with residents in New Orleans where housing covenants and ordinances were used after the devastation of hurricane Katrina to prevent Black residents from coming back to the city. More information about the Admissions Committee Law is on the Adalah website and analysis of how New Orleans housing covenants are used to to prop up racism is found in this article by Sefira Fialkoff.