Haneen Zoabi at the Russell Tribunal Cape Town : ‘We need equality’

Haneen Zoabi talks about the arrest, imprisonment, travel bans and the targeting of Palestinian parliamentarians, national political leaders and human rights defenders, the closing down of related organisations, and the current legislation being enacted to punish those who initiate or promote boycott measures for opposition to Israeli domination during the 3rd International Session of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine in Cape Town, November 2011.

Haneen Zoabi:

“I am supposed to be walking evidence of Israeli democracy … but we are the evidence that something is wrong with the Israeli system.”

“We are now described by Israel as a strategic threat. … In the Israeli official discourse from 2007, Yuval Diskin described us as a strategic threat.”

“What is the justification of Israel’s system of dominance? … it is the description of Israel as a Jewish state … the justification being that we, the Jews, deserve a Jewish state, even at the expense of Palestinian people. So this is what we should target, which stands behind Israeli apartheid discrimination, and we the citizens are a strategic threat because we reveal that, we reveal more than Palestinians in the Occupied Territories the contradiction behind the Jewish state and democracy.”

“At the same time as we are revealing the contradiction, Israel is asking all nations of the world to recognise it as a racist jewish state.”

“We need equality.”

Three crucial features distinguish South African and Israeli apartheid:

(1) “Israel has confiscated my land and has started to define me as the invader of the land. They call us in the Knesset, in the courts, in the media the invaders of the land … when they confiscate our land in the Galilee and the Negev, they said they are going to redeem the land, redeem, I don’t know this word, I ask about it – salvation from me, the indigenous people, there. It is not about stealing the land, it is about stealing my homeland, my relation with my homeland. They are trying to transmit, to rewrite history, they don’t like history, they don’t like to read history, what happened before 1948 and that means we were there, the Palestinian people … they like more to write history. And they say I am a risk, they must reserve the land. So the crime is not really just to steal my land, they are trying to redefine my relation with my homeland. It is not my homeland anymore. I cannot claim it. They rewrite history and I am the invader of the land.”

(2) Place names and street names are Judaeised – changing the landscape, “it is not stealing the land, but stealing the homeland… I am a non-jew living in a jewish state. So I have nothing to do, I have no integral rights. My citizenship is conditioned to my loyalty to zionism. You will not find this in Gaza and the West Bank.”

(3) Democracy to Israel is a strategic threat.

Around 43 laws, says Zoabi, legally discriminate against Palestinian Israelis, most of them are about citizenship, land and education.

“Through the goal of the education law, I cannot study my history.”

“The state acts not as a state, but as a political party… if I want to be accepted in the party, I must accept the ideology in order not to be persecuted.”

“There was no justification for the zionist project, there was no justification to have a jewish state in my homeland, but now there are Israeli generations who have not had any other homeland. We want to live with them, but not within a Jewish state, not within a racist state.”

Political zionism for its northern European progenitors was predicated on the antisemitic trope that Jews carried antisemitism with them and that a national project would address this. This form of zionism arose in the context of 19th century nationalism, antisemitism, social darwinism and german nationalism, based on similar Germanic mythologies of blut and boden and volkehood. Several sites were considered for the realisation of the zionist vision, Palestine had merit for past religious connections. The first WZO convention in 1897 affirmed one of the essential goals was ‘The promotion of the settlement of Jewish agriculturists, artisans, and tradesmen in Palestine.’ The treacherous Balfour declaration affirmed the formation of a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine. Balfour exemplified imperial white supremacism in his statement:

‘And Zionism, be it right or wrong, good or bad, is rooted in age-long traditions, in present needs, and future hopes, of far profounder import than the desires and prejudices of the 700,000 Arabs who now inhabit that ancient land. In my opinion that is right.’

As for the Nakba, which Israel now refuses to allow to be taught in schools so afraid are zionists of their own deeds and history, Walid Khalidi’s excellent work appends the content evidencing zionist malice aforethought – Plan Dalet and its precursor Plan Gimmel.

As Zoabi highlights above, Khalidi points to why zionists continually rewrite history:

‘The land that the zionists were looking for was one which they wanted to possess and unmistakably stamp with theirn own image. But what if this land was already possessed by others? The zionists had to face this dilemma from the very beginning. And we know that as early as Theodor Herzl they had decided that the answer was to be found in the theory of “the lesser evil”: in other words, that any hardship inficted on the indigenous population of the land chosen by them was outweighed by the solution that the zionist possession of the land offered to the jewish problem. The yardstick of the lesser evil (consciously or subconsciously applied) became the moral alibi of the zionist movement, dwarfing and finally submerging the anguish of its victims. ‘

Palestine / Israel Links

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According to Palestinian news agency WAFA, Israeli authorities notified seven families in the Palestinian village of Umm al Khair yesterday that their houses will be demolished because they lack Israeli-issued building permits. 60 people will be left homeless.
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Israeli forces detained nine Israeli activists blocking the path of bulldozers constructing Israel’s separation wall surrounding a Bethlehem village on Sunday.

The group sat infront of vehicles levelling ground to build the concrete wall that will entirely enclose the village of al-Walaja, popular committee member Shireen Al-Araj told Ma’an.

Israeli Knesset member throws cup of water on colleague at height of heated argument
Training for future hasbaroid careers – the educational content at Israeli free preschools
Prospective political nabob journalist Lapid whines spuriously about what he thinks the end of Israel’s occupation and apartheid would mean for him “Should we do what the honorable British lecturers are demanding, I will die.” Hasbaroid!
‘Still, Shai and Doron’s experience – their account is also in Hebrew – underscores that Israel seems to be following a similar pattern to apartheid South Africa in its final years. In that case whites, even if they opposed apartheid, were usually protected from the regime’s brutality. But as the regime became more desperate, it turned its repression increasingly on the privileged class as well.’
Forget Iran – Israel is bigger threat to world peace
The Religious Difference Between Being Jewish & Zionist
Baleful thug Lieberman wants to ethnically cleanse Israeli Palestinians as part of a final ‘peace’ solution.
The Special Relationship and the Arms Race

Aggression towards Iran has two purposes. First is Iran’s destruction. Iran carries out an independent foreign policy and has a functional welfare state. This is not to America’s liking. Second, the Iranian “threat” is a convenient bogeyman for the military-industrial complex, one reason that earnest efforts to counsel the White House to adopt a peaceful orientation to the IRI, as in the desperate realist push for reconciliation, won’t work under present circumstances: brinksmanship is too profitable for the arms firms, and they have a lot of money to make sure that brinksmanship is the preferred political tool for policymakers.