Is this normal behaviour for other countries? Last week in the Irish media, the Deputy Ambassador of Israel in Ireland, Nurit Tinari-Modai, perniciously attacked with racist prevarications and insults Palestinian Israeli MK Haneen Zoabi during her visit to Ireland.
Haneen has responded to Modai, and her reply is worth reprinting in full:
‘Sir, – Deputy Israeli ambassador to Ireland Nurit Modai (August 10th) is correct that it is unusual to for an embassy to comment on the activities of an MP. Alas, it is all too usual when Israel is involved. Indeed, when it comes to Israel, the unusual routinely becomes the norm: laws that discriminate against the 18 per cent of its citizens who are Palestinian; state-instigated incitement against these citizens; prioritising one demographic group over another in the name of religion; all are “normal” in Israel.
Of course, she simply ignored the facts contained in the article about me, preferring to avoid such unwinnable arguments. She has nothing to say regarding the 30-plus laws which discriminate against Palestinian citizens in all areas: confiscation of land, land use, housing licenses, areas of residency, education laws which make it impossible to learn our Palestinian history and literature, publicly funded institutions being prohibited from commemorating Al Nakba (the Zionist expulsion of 85 per cent of the indigenous Palestinians from their homeland to forcibly create the Israeli state), etc.
There is even a classical apartheid law (the 2011 Admission Committees Law) which makes it de facto legal for 578 community villages to refuse Palestinian citizens residency on the basis of unsuitability for the “social fabric of the community”.
More generally, the average income of a Jewish family is three times more than for a Palestinian family in Israel, 50 per cent of us live under the poverty line, and we only make up 7.9 per cent of university students.
In Israel we Palestinians must deny our national identity; otherwise we will become “disloyal” citizens, “traitors”. We are “betraying” the state by struggling against racism and discrimination, because we must accept the fact that this is a “Jewish state”, created to privilege its Jewish citizens.
My uncle, whom deputy ambassador felt the need to drag into the debate, didn’t challenge any of this; thus, he became one of the “good Arabs” which Israel uses as propaganda cover. But it is worth pointing out that he is only one of two Palestinian citizens to have served on the Supreme Court since 1948, while more than 80 Jewish citizens have served in that time. My family’s participation in the political life of Israel proves nothing other than that we have used what limited democratic outlets are available to us to advance the cause of our people.
Indeed, Israel could afford a veneer of “democracy” towards previous generations of Palestinian citizens because, like my uncle, they never challenged their position in society. Generally speaking, a whole generation acted as such, out of fear and sense of weakness and defeat. These fears were well founded; until 1966 Palestinian citizens lived under military rule, similar to what our people in the Occupied Territories now experience. Things have changed, however, as the majority of my generation, (the fourth generation after Al Nakba), decided to reject the inherent racism and discrimination of the state towards them and organise to defeat these deficits of democracy.
The embassy also attempted to portray the “Jewish” nature of the state as akin to the “Irish” nature of Ireland. This false comparison, however, merely proves the points I make; they refuse to recognise that definition is entirely exclusivist in nature – it is based on a specific ethno-religious grouping, and thus excludes the entirety of the Palestinian and other non-Jewish citizens from the definition of the state, making the full realisation of their rights an impossibility.
The deputy ambassador has no answer for this, so she attempts to play the “religious card” by presenting false statistics regarding Christians – once again denying our Palestinian identity by dividing us into religions. We are not merely Christians or Muslims, nor are we “Israeli Arabs”, we are Palestinian citizens of Israel and we are struggling for our full national and equal rights, which means to have a democratic state for all its citizens. – Yours, etc,
HANEEN ZOABI, MK,
Kiryat Ben Gurion,
Below, Haneen challenges the apartheid Israeli entity’s practices during her visit to Dublin.
And in the following vid, Haneen presents the case of Palestinian people in debate with representatives of racist settlers, liberal zionists and a member of the J14 movement.
Zoe Lawlor has kindly permitted her comment on Nurit Tinai-Modai’s chastisement of Haneen Zoabi, which was submitted and not published in the Irish Times, to be published here:
The very fact that the Deputy Ambassador of Israel wrote to the Irish Times to castigate Palestinian parliamentarian Haneen Zoabi underscores Ms Zoabi’s assertion that she is treated not as “a second class citizen” but as “an enemy, a strategic threat” by that state.
I don’t recall letters from the Deputy Ambassador condemning other Knesset members such as those who recently described African migrants as a “cancer” or indeed visitor to Ireland MK Rivlin who had previously stated, contrary to international law, “Jerusalem is the capital of Israel”.
That Ms. Modai describes the illegal, immoral siege of Gaza as “necessary” is telling and perfectly encapsulates Israel’s brutal oppression of the Palestinian people. Israel a democracy? Not for all its citizens.
Palestine / Israel Links
Love letter from Australia’s reptilian politicians to asylum seekers largely created through US dirty wars in which Australia is complicit: “Don’t even think about taking a boat to escape the consequences of our grovelling warmongering partnership with the US, because we’ll lock you up offshore for the term of your natural lives”.