Ahmad Tibi Says He is Not Anti-Jewish, Part I.
Last month, CNN published an op-ed written by Member of Knesset Ahmad Tibi. I could not let the piece stand unchallenged. Already in the second paragraph, Tibi writes:
We are not responding to the hateful incitement we have heard from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his supporters. Rather, in the interest of lasting peace and security, we are moving ahead with our political platform to advance the cause of equality, social justice and freedom in a country that systematically violates those basic principles.
I hate to say this, Ahmad dear, but in this paragraph you are responding to what you call ‘hateful incitement’ but you are doing it elegantly. Everyone who has been paying attention to you over the years knows how elegant you are. By saying that Israel “systematically violates those basic principles” of “equality, social justice and freedom” you are inciting against the country. And you are doing so by telling the world that Israel does not uphold the very basic values it holds so dear.
Stabbing us in the heart with carefully crafted words in view of the whole world is hateful incitement, in my opinion. And, as a Member of Knesset, you are an authoritative voice loading the weapons of those who will turn words into violence, whether that is in the form of horrendous demonstrations and intimidation on campuses or acts of terror against Jews everywhere.
Let us see if you give examples of the “hateful incitement we have heard from” Bibi and his supporters, or examples of how Israel violates those principles you claim to be advancing. I read on . . .
We know that our 15 seats (out of 120 total) are not necessarily going to change the institutionalized system of discrimination imposed by Israel on its Arab-Palestinian population — nor will it end over half a century of illegal colonial-settler occupation of the State of Palestine.
What institutionalized system of discrimination? You mean the one that has you, Ahmad Tibi, as Deputy Speaker of the Knesset? Or is it the one that has Arab doctors as heads of departments in Israeli hospitals? Of course there are many instance of interpersonal discrimination but they are against the law and they are certainly not institutionalized. And I know that you know that.
And: “over half a century of illegal colonial-settler occupation of the STATE (?) of Palestine”? What state? The one in your imagination? There is no state of Palestine. What the hell are you talking about? While the UN may erroneously refer to the Palestinian Authority (PA) as the Occupied State of Palestine or some such variation on that, it is not accepted as a full member-state. And there never was a state of Palestine any time in history.
Colonial-settler occupation? Do you even know the definition of that term? The first to apply the term to Israel was Patrick Wolfe in a much-cited paper that lied about Israel when he used our country as one example of settler-colonialism. For example after stating that settler-colonialists rename places as part of their systematic taking over, Wolfe wrote:
The Zionist re-mapping and symbolic appropriation of the land – which also comprised the signposting of places and trails and the Hebraising of the ancient Arab names of those places . . .
However, history did not begin with the First World War, MK Ahmad Tibi, nor with the British Mandate period, nor even with the first wave of Jewish immigrants into the Palestinian province of the Ottoman Empire. It began way way back and along the way, with the Arab Conquest, it was the Arabs who changed place names from the original Hebrew. The “Zionist re-mapping” is actually a reclaiming of the ancient Hebrew names that preceded the less-ancient Arab names.
We need broader majorities to end dozens of laws that negatively discriminate solely against the non-Jewish population approved in the Israeli parliament.
Name one such law, dear Ahmad. Oh? You mean the Nation State Law? The one that gives collective rights to the Jews alone? That one? The one that denies you the chance to sue the Supreme Court in efforts to wipe out the Jewish symbols of the state? We all know that is on your bucket-list of things to do before you retire from politics. We all know that you want to make this a state of all its peoples. Sorry. Not sorry.
Do you have any other example of these “dozens” of laws? Well, later in the article you give a grand total of two examples:
- The Ban of Family Unification.
- The Foreign Government Funding Law.
You link to discussions of these laws that can be found on the site of the NGO Adalah, The Legal Center for Minority Rights in Israel. Exploration of the Adalah site does lead to discussion of a number of laws that are deemed discriminatory against Arabs but you selected these two specific laws for your lengthy op-ed in CNN. As my article is starting to go on and on, I discuss these laws you see as problematic in Part II of this critique.
Feature Image Credit: Wikipedia: Ahmad Tibi – אחמד טיבי / Copyrighted free use