Haneen Zoabi's black and white argument

By Jennifer Lipman
June 30, 2011

Haneen Zoabi, the Israeli Arab MK, writes a vitriolic piece for Comment is Free on the deportation of banned Israeli Raed Salah. I won't go into the details – you can peruse the contents as you wish – but there was one point that particularly jarred.

She says: "There is no other meaning to a "Jewish state" except the recognition of the legitimacy of granting privileges to Jews in Israel at the expense of Palestinian citizens, annulling the legitimacy of our struggle for real democracy."

So, question from the class. If there is "no other meaning" to a Jewish state than the denial of privileges to its non-Jewish citizens, what exactly would a Palestinian state amount to?

Presumably, by Zoabi's logic, one which would inevitably entail "granting privileges" to Palestinians at the expense of those who are not Palestinian.

Which may well be what she wants, but it makes a mockery of her dream to see "democracy in our own land".

If she truly believes that, when states are defined by one singular characteristic, they cannot still tolerate the characteristics of others within them, does she then also imagine that a Palestinian state would be the exception?

Or does she fall into that well-trodden trap of believing what is not OK when done by the Israelis is perfectly OK when done by anyone else.

If states can be viewed only in Zoabi's starkly black and white terms – a prism of "all for one and none for the other" – what hope is there for peace and a two state solution at all?


Rich Armbach

Tue, 07/05/2011 - 12:32

Rate this:

0 points

Rather a silly and disingeneous question Jennifer. " Palestinians " is a short hand for people who live in, or have been exiled from, a particular geographic area, enabling everyone to know who we are talking about. Palestinians are not a particular ethnic or religious group.

When there is a state called Palestine its citizens will be Palestinians in a different sense.

This State of Palestine will require recognition but it won't be demanding recognition as an Arab or a muslim state.All Israelis are Israeli but not all are Jews.What kind of insecurity and lack of confidence causes the demand for recognition as a " Jewish State ". No other state in the world makes such a demand. Or is this relatively new requirement more in the nature of a red herring ?


Tue, 07/05/2011 - 15:20

Rate this:

0 points

Thanks for that and when did these "Palestinians" originate. They certainly weren't around in 1948 since otherwise UN Resolution 194 would have mentioned them - only the word "refugee" is mentioned. Even the 1947 Partition Plan which the Arabs rejected does not even mention them so when did they originate?
Talking of disingenuous your attempt to deny the Jewish nation its legal moral and historical right to self determination in its own homeland is nothing short of anti-Semitic something we have come to expect from you. Ireland is for the Irish - would or should the Irish agree to drop the word Irish from the Irish Free State?


You must be logged in to post a comment.