Haneen Zouabi should be banned like Meir Kahane

MK Yoel Hasson (left) is restrained by a guard as he is taunted by MK Haneen Zouabi, June 2, 2010.

MK Yoel Hasson (left) is restrained by a guard as he is taunted by MK Haneen Zouabi, June 2, 2010.

It’s the same old strategy:

Throw rocks at Jews, fire rockets at them, beat them with clubs, even shoot them. Push them, provoke them. Then, either they ‘exercise restraint’ or fight back. In the former case you’ve humiliated them, maybe hurt or killed some at no cost. In the latter, you cry ‘disproportionate force’, ‘collective punishment’, ‘state terrorism’, or whatever.

You win, either way. The only difference is the mood of the big demonstration afterwards.

This works in politics as well as in the street or on the high seas. Take Haneen Zouabi, the first female Arab member of Israel’s Knesset. In 2009, she generated excitement by indicating that she welcomed the development of an Iranian bomb, seeing more danger in Israel’s nuclear capability (Daniel Pipes called her “Iran’s Representative in the Knesset“).

Next, she sailed on the recent Turkish blockade-running flotilla, on the Mavi Marmara, the ship on which Turkish thugs tried to beat Israeli commandos to death. In interviews, Zouabi claimed that the ‘activists’ on the ship had no plans for violence, but video footage shows her standing next to Turks holding clubs and iron bars.

This almost produced the desired result. There were calls for her to be stripped of Israeli citizenship, and there was even a mini-brawl between Arab and Jewish Knesset members. But in the end, all that happened was that some relatively minor parliamentary privileges were taken away from her.

She’s been quite outspoken about her views. Here are some excerpts from recent interviews:

I do not represent the State of Israel or speak in its name, but rather in the name of the [Palestinian] struggle, which does not in any way recognize Israel as a Jewish state. [I speak] in the name of a struggle that is performing a role precisely opposed to that of the Israeli Knesset, from the [Knesset’s] standpoint…

… Our platform [of the Balad party] is based on the demands for national and civil equality, for recognition as owners of this homeland, and for the Jewish state to become a state for all of its citizens. This is the compass that directs our political action… Since we define ourselves first and foremost as Palestinians who are owners of the homeland, we view it as part of our platform to defend the right of our people to put an end to the occupation. [This] is not limited to the ’48 territories, but applies to the historical borders of our people. Therefore, our platform includes [supporting] the return of the Palestinian refugees, defeating the occupation, dismantling the settlements, and [securing] East Jerusalem as the capital of the Palestinian state. [my emphasis]

These quotations are not contradicted by their context. They represent Zouabi’s thinking, which is clearly outside the paradigm of the Jewish state. It is not simply ‘dissent’, it is a call to negate the state. A good argument can be made that she is aiding Israel’s enemies and working for the overthrow of its government.

In other words, she is committing treason and inciting same.

But can you imagine if she were to lose  her citizenship or even be removed from the Knesset?  It would be trumpeted by anti-Israel elements that Israel is not a democracy, that it oppresses its Arab citizens and stifles free speech.

Either way — just like the goons of the Mavi Marmara — Zouabi wins.

Now let’s contrast Zouabi with another Knesset member, Meir Kahane. Kahane’s views were extreme compared to most other Jewish Knesset members. For example, he advocated the transfer of Arabs out of the Jewish state. In 1985 the Knesset banned ‘racist’ candidates, the Supreme Court upheld it, and Kahane’s Kach party was excluded from the election in 1988.

Neither Zouabi not Kahane are (were, in Kahane’s case) democrats. Kahane recognized that Jews and irredentist Palestinian Arabs can’t live together peacefully and proposed an undemocratic solution, but one that would leave the Jewish state in existence. Zouabi claims to believe  in ‘a state of its citizens’ — all its inhabitants — but she proposes to incorporate all 4-5 million Arabs claiming ‘Palestinian nationality’ among these inhabitants so as to create an artificial majority. As ‘owners of the land’ she privileges this majority, replacing one ethnically-based nation-state with another.

Whether you find Kahane’s or Zouabi’s ideas more objectionable is not the point. The question is, “which of them is more dangerous to the continued existence of the state?” Because only if you think that the expression of a point of view presents a clear and present danger to the state — if, for example, it constitutes incitement to insurrection — should it be removed from the political arena.

It’s worth reading the whole MEMRI translation of Zouabi’s remarks. She starts from the position that the Jewish state is illegitimate, and calls for the unity of all the ‘Palestinian people’ — whether in Gaza, Israel, Judea/Samaria, Lebanon, etc. — in order to accomplish the conquest of the land of which they are the ‘owners’.

Zouabi’s speech is clearly incitement to overthrow the state. The fact that she and others like her are given a platform by the Israeli political system out of fear that their suppression would be called ‘undemocratic’ is a serious mistake.

She is far more dangerous than Kahane was and should be expelled from the Knesset.

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