Aletho News


Haneen Zoabi and Her Mission


By Lawrence Davidson | Opinion Maker | January 4, 2012

Haneen Zoabi is an Arab Israeli member of Israel’s parliament, the Knesset.  She was elected in 2009 as a member from the Balad Party. Balad is an Arab party that was formed in 1995 with the aim of “struggling to transform the state of Israel into a democracy for all its citizens.” In the West, this is a perfectly normal goal. But Israel’s Zionist ideology disqualifies it as a “Western” nation. Thus Balad’s aim is in direct opposition to the Zionist idea of Israel as a “Jewish state,” a concept that Ms Zoabi labels “inherently racist.”

Apparently, Haneen Zoabi is fearless.  She actually lives her principles. She has been campaigning loudly and very publicly for full citizenship rights for Israel’s Palestinians. She has also actively opposed Israel’s settlement movement, occupation policies, and its siege of Gaza. That last effort led her to participate in the international flotilla that sought to break the Gaza siege in May of 2010. That was the time Israeli commandos attacked the Mavi Marmara in international waters, killing 9 Turkish activists who tried to resist the assault on their ship.

In an outright dictatorship, Ms Zoabi would be in jail or worse. And, given the direction of Israel’s political evolution, that still might be her fate.

However, as of now she is just the worst nightmare of an ethnocentric state, and a government pushing racist policies while trying to pretend it is a democracy. It is a nightmare for the Israel’s Zionist leadership because Zoabi, as a member of the Knesset, insists that if the Israeli Jews won’t allow full citizenship for non-Jews, as a real democracy must, then she is not going to let them pretend anymore. Yet pretense is all that is left of Israel’s international persona. If the “Jewish state” loses the ability to posture as “the only democracy in the Middle East,” the country’s reputation in the world is, as the saying goes, fit for the dust hole.

Think of it this way.  Israel is the nation-state equivalent of Oscar Wilde’s fictional character Dorian Gray.  Gray is a man who never seems to be anything but young, good-looking, and successful. However, hidden away in some closet there is an extraordinarily ugly and frightening portrait of him, and it is this portrait that ages and reflects the meanness and brutality of Gray’s true character. Haneen Zoabi has uncovered such a portrait of Israel and insists on going about showing everyone the state’s real characteristics. She wants the world to see the true picture. That is why the Israeli government is trying to destroy Haneen Zoabi.

The Persecution

The catalyst for the campaign against Zoabi was her presence on the Mavi Marmara in 2010. Not only was she on a ship attempting to bring humanitarian assistance to over 1.6 million Gazans living under an illegal Israeli embargo, but she was also an eyewitness to nine official Israeli acts of murder.

To the acts of collective punishment, the shelling and bombing of civilian neighborhoods, and the seemingly random murder of civilians by Israeli border snipers, can now be added a deadly attack on a civilian vessel in international waters. All of these actions are criminal under international law and they all easily fall into the category of state terrorism. However, in the Kafkaesque world of Zionism, it is Ms Zoabi who became the “terrorist.”

When, on 2 June 2010, she returned to the Knesset following the the Mavi Marmara incident and insisted on bearing witness to Israeli offenses, she was shouted down by her “outraged” fellow members of the Knesset, most of whom saw Zoabi as a traitor. Her efforts to describe what she had seen reduced the Knesset session to “pandemonium.” From that point Ms Zoabi received “hundreds of threats, by letters, by email, by phone call.” In July of 2011, while contesting statements being made by Prime Minister Netanyahu, she was ejected from the Knesset by the chamber’s Speaker who then suspended her from further participation based on a grossly exaggerated charge that she had assaulted one of the chamber’s ushers.

Meanwhile, members of the Prime Minister’s party, Likud, conspired to ban Ms Zoabi from running in the upcoming Israeli elections (scheduled for 22 January 2013). The Knesset’s Ethics Committee voted that Zoabi had violated Article 7A of Israel’s “Basic Law” which states that a candidate for or member of the Knesset, “cannot reject Israel as a Jewish and democratic state…or support armed combat by an enemy state or terror organization against the State of Israel.” Some Israelis claim that the group organizing the flotilla efforts to break the Gaza siege is a terrorist organization, but that is clearly nonsense. On the other hand, there can be little doubt that Ms Zoabi is shouting from the rooftops the blatant fact that “Israel as Jewish and democratic state” reflects a deep and tragic contradiction.

According to such luminaries of the Israeli right as MK Danny Danon, Ms Zoabi has “spit on the state.” She does not belong in the Knesset, according to Danon, “she belongs in Jail.” (Danon is also the politician who had the clever idea of inviting Glenn Beck, an incendiary right-wing American TV talk show personality, to address the Israeli parliament.)

Subsequently, Israel’s supreme court declared the banning of Haneen Zoabi was unconstitutional, but Danon has replied that he and his allies are ready with “plan B.” They will simply have the Knesset change the law so as to prevent future electoral campaigns by anyone like Zoabi.


Politicians with dictatorial leanings instinctively avoid their own reflection. They cannot admit the consequences of their own actions and policies and they cannot tolerate others who publicly expose those consequences. Like Dorian Gray, they restrict the ugly truth to some hidden closet. Yet, eventually, someone like Ms Zoabi comes along and takes up the role of truth-teller.

There is another issue that her efforts bring to light. It is that the interests of the state (understood here as a government) and the interests of the nation (the collective occupants of a country) may not always be the same. Governments most often represent cliques or classes or elites or ideologues, etc. Those in power, ruling in the interest of these smaller constituencies, simply assume that their own parochial interests stand for the “national interest.”

Ms Zoabi is insisting that the Israeli State cease identifying itself with the interest of a single constituency and start representing the interests of the nation as a whole. What this is all about, she says, are “the values, the humanistic, universalistic values of freedom, of equality, of justice.” But there is nothing “universalistic” about Zionism and so, for her efforts, she is castigated and threatened.  Such is the state that Zionism has built.

January 4, 2013 - Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , ,


  1. The Netherlands is the home of the Dutch people… Germany and Belgium are respectively the homes of the German and Belgian people… That doesn’t mean that ethnically non-Dutch, non-German and/or non-Belgian citizens of these countries aren’t full citizens…

    Likewise, Israel is the home of the Jewish people… That doesn’t mean that, by definition, the Israeli-Arab MK Haneen Zoabi isn’t a full citizen of Israel… Nor does it mean automatically that she (as well as other Arab-Israelis like her) are automatically disfranchised…

    In fact, MK Haneen Zoabi is a rabble rouser who couldn’t give a damn about her Jewish co-citizens… She’s spitting in the face of every Israeli (Jewish, Muslim, Christian or Druze) who disagree with her opinions… When you insist on being “in the face” of those who disagree with you don’t be surprised when you’re not liked… Especially if they happen to be the majority…

    Comment by ScubaMan | January 4, 2013 | Reply

    • Palestine is the home of the Palestinians.

      Jews belong in their respective countries.

      Comment by aletho | January 4, 2013 | Reply

      • That majority… there are wicked whispers about Jews leaving and goyim proliferating. What exactly is it that the Zionists mean by “the demographic problem”, again?

        Comment by traducteur | January 6, 2013 | Reply

        • Israel’s Jewish majority (75%) is pretty solid… And, BTW, Israel doesn’t claim it has a demographic problem… It’s the Palestinians who make that claim… Albeit a claim without substance… As so many of their other claims…

          Comment by ScubaMan | January 7, 2013 | Reply

          • What, the goyim are already 25% and increasing, and “Israel” has the bloody nerve to call itself a Jewish state? Wishful thinking, mate!

            Comment by traducteur | January 7, 2013 | Reply

            • Yes, with 75% of the population being Jewish, with Jewish holidays being national holidays and with one of the official languages being Hebrew they have every right to call themselves the Jewish state…

              I’m actually quite amused that this seems to be so upsetting to you… As for “goyim” increasing, I don’t think it’s much of an issue… At least not for the next 6,7 or 8 decades…

              Of course, with increased education Arab fertility rates have been in virtual free fall for at least 2 decades now… So, you realistically might want to double the above number of decades…

              Comment by ScubaMan | January 7, 2013 | Reply

              • And that’s not counting the West Bank. In historic Palestine, there are now more Palestinians than Jewish interlopers, and the trend is unmistakable. “Israel” will have been a flash in the pan–a dire, evil one, to be sure, an enterprise of mass theft and genocide by crazies who thought they were the master race–but a transient phenomenon none the less.

                Comment by traducteur | January 7, 2013 | Reply

                • Sorry to burst your bubble but even with Judea & Samaria (a.k.a. the so called “West Bank”) and Gaza there’s still a Jewish majority between the sea and the Jordan river… Be that as it may, people who do not hold Israeli citizenship do not factor in Israeli demographics… And you can rant as much as you want but people who do not live in sovereign Israel territory are not eligible for inclusion in Israeli demographics…

                  I’m quite content to recall the fact that people like you are much more a transient flash in the pan then Judaism and/or Zionism…

                  As for your charge of “Master Race” I believe the professional term in the mental health professions is “projection”…

                  Comment by ScubaMan | January 8, 2013 | Reply

      • Take for example an Israeli who has one Dutch, one Polish, one Rumanian and one Iraqi grand parent… I actually know such people… How exactly would you determine what that Israeli’s “respective country” is?!… And, how would you enforce that determination if that country doesn’t agree with the determination?!…

        You’re bleating slogans that have no moral, logical or even practical validity!…

        Comment by ScubaMan | January 7, 2013 | Reply

        • Palestinian Jews.

          Of course Jews have lived in Palestine, assimilated as Palestinians.

          Just as the descendants of the crusaders are present across the Levant, some Jews will opt to live as equals and live in peace without robbing their neighbors land etc…

          Comment by aletho | January 7, 2013 | Reply

          • As usual, you run away from the hard questions by parroting some nonsense!… Answer the question!… How do you define the “respective country” of Israelis that are 3rd or 4th generation “immigrants” and who have multiple nationalities in their personal history?!…

            Comment by ScubaMan | January 7, 2013 | Reply

            • Do Boers call themselves Boers or South Africans?

              What if they are half British half Boer?

              Of course we don’t call the Asians in Africa Hindus, do we?

              Comment by aletho | January 7, 2013 | Reply

              • Once again, and usual, you decline to answer the tough questions… The Boers call themselves Boers until this day… As for the white South Africans, there too many are of so mixed a decent that they do not have a “respective country”… Which is why they’re leaving to any country they can arrange papers for…

                As for calling Asians Hindus, that would be quite wrong as many of them aren’t Hindus but Muslim or Buddhists… But, as usual, once again you’re evading the question by meaningless red herrings…

                I repeat, YOU claimed that “Jews belong in their respective countries”… And we were specifically referencing Israel’s Jews… So, please answer the question: how do you define the “respective country” of Israelis that are 3rd or 4th generation “immigrants” and who have multiple nationalities in their personal history?!…

                Any additional subterfuge, smoke screens or red herrings will merely prove that you know that you don’t have an answer and that you’re merely bleating slogans that have no moral, logical or even practical validity!…

                Comment by ScubaMan | January 7, 2013 | Reply

                • Scuba man get your head above water and read. Palestinian Jews. Unless, of course, if they wish to live away from Palestine.

                  Comment by aletho | January 7, 2013 | Reply

                  • My head IS above the water… I don’t have an underwater computer… As for reading, YOU should follow your own advice… I’m clearly arguing with you about those Israeli Jews that are NOT “Palestinian Jews”… So stop being disingenuous and answer the question!…

                    HOW do you define the “respective country” of Israelis that are 3rd or 4th generation “immigrants” and who have multiple nationalities in their personal history?!… In fact, how do you define a “Palestinian Jew”?!… Is it enough to have one great-greatgrandfather who happened to live in “Palestine” in the late 1800’s?!…

                    Comment by ScubaMan | January 8, 2013 | Reply

                    • Well, a Jew living between the sea and the river Jordan would be a Palestinian Jew.

                      Comment by aletho | January 8, 2013

  2. I’ve just read that Haneen Zoabi has not been barred from standing as a candidate at the elections later this month after all. May she be re-elected by a large margin. The Palestinian people need representatives like her.

    Comment by traducteur | January 8, 2013 | Reply

    • You obviously have zero understanding of the Israeli democratic process… It’s not based on personal elections (like in the UK or US for example) but rather it’s based on people voting on parties and the actual results are based on the proportion of the votes that each party gets (like in The Netherlands)…

      In other words, Haneen Zoabi can’t be elected by a large margin… And, considering the Israeli demographics, her party can’t be elected in numbers that will get them any real influence…

      In other words, she’ll basically be relegated to doing what she does best – being a disruptive element who’s only interested in grandstanding… Whether that’s what’s good for her constituents is another question…

      Comment by ScubaMan | January 9, 2013 | Reply

  3. So, aletho, are you now saying that the Israeli Jews would not have to return to their “respective countries”?!…

    If so, how does that coexist with your previous claim that “Jews belong in their respective countries”?!…

    Comment by ScubaMan | January 8, 2013 | Reply

    • No conflict as long as they accept equality and respect rights.

      This is what you failed to read several rounds above:

      “some Jews will opt to live as equals and live in peace without robbing their neighbors land etc…”

      Comment by aletho | January 9, 2013 | Reply

      • So, what exactly did your “Jews belong in their respective countries” refer to?!… you wrote it… You should know what you meant by it… Or, are you now, however obliquely, admitting that the proposition is unworkable?!…

        Comment by ScubaMan | January 9, 2013 | Reply

        • Nothing unworkable about it. It is the “Jewish state” that is entirely unworkable. You engage in projection.

          Comment by aletho | January 9, 2013 | Reply

          • Please make up your mind… According to you, either they can stay or they can go to their “respective countries”… I have asked you several times now but you keep dancing around the question: how would you define the “respective country” of an Israeli who has grand, great-grandparents or even great-great-grandparents who hail from different countries?!…

            And, how would you enforce that definition if the country in question doesn’t agree with your definition?!…

            Unless you answer these questions your position is unworkable!… Certainly as far as our discussion is concerned…

            As for Israel, the Zionist project has been going on for roughly 120 years… That’s the equivalent of 5-6 generations… You ilk has claimed that the project is unworkable for at least as much time… The fact that Israel exists proves you wrong…

            Also, if you believe that the decisions made after WWI at the so called San Remo conference are invalid then you’ll have a huge problem as many countries that exist today have their roots in that conference (Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Syria, Lebanon among others)…

            Of course, you don’t have a problem with those countries… You only have a problem with the one single Jewish country…

            Comment by ScubaMan | January 9, 2013 | Reply

  4. Happily, Palestine is not a Jewish country. Never has been, never will be.

    Comment by traducteur | January 9, 2013 | Reply

    • To be sure, the Zionists have not abandoned their long-cherished dream of turning the place into a Jewish country by exterminating or expelling the entire non-Jewish population. To date, however–despite vigorous efforts that have caused terrible suffering–they haven’t been able to manage it, and in sha’ Allah they never will manage it.

      Comment by traducteur | January 10, 2013 | Reply

      • The Zionist dream never included exterminating or expelling the entire non-Jewish population… To date, their dream of a country which is predominantly Jewish is the reality… By any standard, Israel is a Jewish country… Just as much as Britain and Italy are Christian countries… In fact, just as much as Egypt is a Muslim country… Albeit that minorities are better protected in Israel, Britain and Italy then in Egypt…

        No matter how much you claim to the contrary… You might as well argue that the sea is green rather then blue…

        Comment by ScubaMan | January 10, 2013 | Reply

    • Palestine is what the Roman occupiers named the country after they put down the Jewish rebellions… Prior and even afterwards, “Palestine” was Jewish… Albeit with a growing Christian population… Certainly until the Arab (Muslim) conquests…

      Comment by ScubaMan | January 10, 2013 | Reply

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