Friday, June 20, 2014

How Dare She (MK Hanin Zoabi)?

by Nadav Shragai

"How dare you?" Yesh Atid MK Aliza Lavie thundered at Balad MK Hanin Zoabi, who claimed on Tuesday that the people who abducted three teenaged yeshiva students last Thursday "weren't terrorists." But Zoabi isn't the one to ask. 

The question we need to ask is to ourselves, and it is: How dare a nation whose enemies have been plotting its destruction for nearly a century allow Zoabi, in the name of democracy, to sit in its parliament and identify with its enemies? 

How dare a nation that considers itself sane allow someone who has called herself a "fan" of former MK Azmi Bishara, who is suspected of spying against Israel and aiding Hezbollah during the Second Lebanon War and has since fled the country, sit in the Knesset? 

Zoabi didn't surprise anyone. She has made it clear in the past that the First Intifada "was good" and that the events in Tahrir Square in Cairo were a suitable model for protests against the "occupier." Three years ago, after an anti-tank missile was fired at a school bus carrying Israeli children, killing Daniel Weiflich, the lady explained: "If you don't want them to shoot at you, the Israeli public should take to the streets and demonstrate for an end to the Gaza blockade." She has been consistent, and after five Israelis were murdered in the bombing on a tourist bus Burgas, Bulgaria, in 2012, she stated that "Israel is not a victim, even when [its] citizens are murdered" and that "the Israeli policy of occupation is guilty." 

Unfortunately, even the facts known about the scandal of Zoabi's presence on the Mavi Marmara ship in 2010 were insufficient for Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein to put her on trial. At the time, Weinstein found "significant evidentiary and legal difficulties" and decided to close the case. Even the Supreme Court decided to override the Central Elections Committee's decision to disqualify Zoabi for the 19th Knesset and let her run. The justices expressed doubt as to whether Zoabi's activity included supporting the armed struggle of a terrorist organization. They wrote in their decision that "Her activity … and particularly her participation in the flotilla, indeed comes very close to the prohibitions that Clause 7a warns against and is designed to prevent. The evidence pertaining to the matter of [Zoabi's] disqualification was not extensive, but it was significant and certainly approaches the 'critical mass' that would justify nullifying her [candidacy.]"

Now Zoabi herself might have supplied evidence that will allow the High Court of Justice to reconsider her collective treasury of statements as the "critical mass" that will lead to her removal. Democracy is entitled to protect itself against anyone who identifies with the enemy's terrorist activity, which is what Zoabi did in her remarks. Nothing less. In any other functional Western democracy, she would long ago have found herself in her rightful place -- outside the parliament, and possibly even on trial. But in Israel, which is so democratic it has gone nuts, many have been blinded to the difference between what may and may not be said, between freedom of expression and freedom to incite, between a person who calls terrorism legitimate and someone who merely admires the enemy's nationalistic goals. 

"Why should I serve in the army if I'm not loyal to the state?" Zoabi asked in an interview about five years ago. "Why on earth should I be loyal to the state … that defines itself as a Jewish state and as the national home of the Jews?" 

Really, why on earth? And why on earth have we suddenly remembered to ask her, "How dare you?" Why shouldn't she dare, when we've allowed her to sit in the Knesset for years?

Nadav Shragai


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

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