Special Dispatch No.3208
02 September '10
In an interview for the website Elaph.com, Israeli Arab Knesset Member Hanin Zou'bi of the Balad party said that she sees herself as a representative not of Israel but rather of the struggle of the Palestinian people, and as such does not recognize Israel as a Jewish state. Zou'bi attacked the Palestinian Authority, which she claimed no longer stands for Palestinian rights, and called on the PLO to effect a reform which would grant Israeli Arabs a voice in its leadership.
Following are excerpts from the interview:
"Israel is a Jewish State which Does Not Represent Me; It is Nothing but a Racist State"
Q: "As the first woman in a national Arab party, you came to the Knesset to represent the Arab citizens of the State of Israel. [But] you are like a storm that stirs up the world and will not quit. You might have been expected, for example, to take up the causes of the Arab woman and the Arab community in Israel. Instead you are at the center of an international storm [following your participation in the Gaza flotilla], and testifying against the very country of whose parliament you are a member."
Hanin Zou'bi: "...I represent the Balad party and its platform. Therefore, it is natural that I should address the Palestinian people's issues and the legitimacy of [their] struggle, since we [Israeli Arabs] are among the original inhabitants [of the land]. We [represent] not only the direct national concerns [of the Israeli Arabs], but also general Palestinian concerns. If this were not the case, my statements regarding my belonging to the Palestinian people would be meaningless... My participation in the Freedom Flotilla was intended to emphasize that my way is not just [a way of] spewing national slogans, but of translating them into political action, as is required of me...
"Our voicing of national [concerns] pains the Israeli public, because it fears that we pose a threat to the state. Therefore, when we demand national rights, we pose a threat to the state's Jewishness. This is true, but it is not my problem. The problem lies with the racist definition of the State [of Israel] as a Jewish state..."
Q: "...How can you expect the country in whose parliament you are a member to keep quiet about such activity [i.e. your participation in the Gaza flotilla]? In France, a member of the National Assembly would not dare to act thus against the French state..."
Hanin Zou'bi: "...My situation is different. 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...
"In my case, my identity does not conform to the identity of the state of which I am a citizen... This state does everything in its power to present my identity as opposed to its own identity and to its role of providing a safe haven for Jews wherever they may be. In my case, I say that Israel is a Jewish state which does not represent me; it is nothing but a racist state..."
(Read full interview)
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