Thu Jun 3rd, 2010 at 05:29:05 PM EST
Haneen Zuabi (right), who represents the Arab nationalist party Balad in the Israeli Knesset, is heckled by Anastassia Michaeli, of the ultra-nationalistic Yisrael Beteinu party (centre). Photograph: David Vaaknin/AP
Read the details in the Guardian of Israel parliament member Haneen Zuabi's experience aboard the ship attacked by Israel for why she seems very much to be a hero. But the issue for me is, how far right is normal political life now in Israel? What has become of an Israel where "the ultra-nationalistic Yisraeli Beteinu party" can be part of the government and represents near-majority (majority?) political sentiment toward Arabs? ("There've been no public-opinion polls yet, but clearly many Israelis support a hard-line approach to Gaza and the Palestinian situation in general; experts note the population has grown increasingly conservative since the second Palestinian intifada, or "uprising," in 2000, exacerbated by hard-line new arrivals to Israel from Russia and elsewhere.") And then there's the ultra-orthodox religious party Shas, which provides Israel its Interior Minister. He's seriously seeking to revoke Zuabi's citizenship! (Emphasis added):
Gaza flotilla activist faces death threats
Haneen Zuabi, a Palestinian member of the Israeli Knesset, has been sworn at by parliamentary colleagues and received death threats since disembarking on Monday
Rachel Shabi in Jerusalem guardian.co.uk
Thursday 3 June 2010 17.21 BST
While other activists from the Gaza aid flotilla have returned home, one is left facing death threats and abuse in Israel. Haneen Zuabi, a Palestinian member of the Israeli Knesset who was aboard the Mavi Marmara, is now under armed protection after nearly 500 people signed up to a Facebook page calling for her execution.
During a heated parliamentary session yesterday Zuabi was sworn at and then shoved out of the chamber amid shouts of "Go to Gaza, traitor".
The 41-year-old member of the Arab nationalist party Balad has also received death threats by phone and mail. "I am not scared," she said, speaking from her home town of Nazareth in northern Israel. "This is inherent here, it is not something that started yesterday. It is just harder and harsher now."
And then there's Israel's loony Interior Minister. Note the fantastical perspective (but I guess it is majority opinion (?) in Israel) on what was plainly a deadly attack by armed Israeli soldiers on unarmed civilians on a boat in international waters:
Interior Minister seeks to revoke Israeli Arab MK's citizenship
Israeli Arab MK Hanin Zuabi took part in Gaza aid flotilla, in what Eli Yishai calls a 'premeditated act of treason' under protection of parliamentary immunity.
By Barak Ravid
Published 22:04 03.06.10
Latest update 22:04 03.06.10
Interior Minister Eli Yishai petitioned Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein to help him revoke the Israeli citizenship of Israeli Arab MK Hanin Zuabi, who took part in efforts to break Israel's blockade of Gaza on a flotilla of aid ships earlier this week. . . .
"In recent days," Yishai wrote to Weinstein on Thursday, "Israel's citizens have witnessed how an Israeli member of parliament, Hanin Zuabi, headed a group of terrorists who aimed to hurt Israel Defense Forces soldiers, under the protection of her parliamentary immunity." . . .
"MK Zuabi used her immunity as a cloak to protect her from the law, although she was undoubtedly aware of the activists' preparations for the attack against IDF troops," Yishai wrote. "This is a premeditated act of treason, and there is documented proof of this."
The Christian Science Monitor reports (emphasis added) further on Zoabi:
Zoabi was released from police custody Tuesday because of her parliamentary immunity, and today addressed Israeli parliament in a fiery speech challenging Israel's narrative that clashes were started by club-wielding activists.
"Israel spoke of a provocation, but there was no provocation," she told the Knesset. "Why does the government of Israel oppose an investigation? Are you sure of the Israeli story?"
Her address to the Israeli Knesset was repeatedly interrupted by Jewish lawmakers calling her a traitor and shouting, "Go to Gaza, traitor!"
In a televised address Wednesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Israel's critics of "hypocrisy."
But Zoab has not tempered her rhetoric. During a press conference Tuesday, according to Ynet news, she said: "It was clear from the size of the force that boarded the ship that the purpose was not only to stop this sail, but to cause the largest possible number of fatalities in order to stop such initiatives in the future."
More on Avigdor Lieberman and his party, Yisrael Beitinu at Wikipedia. Here are some recent lowlights (emphasis added):
Lieberman's party proposes ban on Arab Nakba
Nakba, or catastrophe, is day of mourning over displacement of 700,000 Arabs in 1948 war that led to Israel's creation.By Reuters
Published 16:46 14.05.09
Latest update 03:34 15.05.09
Avigdor Lieberman's party wants to ban Israeli Arabs from marking the anniversary of what they term "the Catastrophe" or Nakba, when in 1948 some 700,000 Arabs lost their homes in the war that led to the establishment of the state of Israel.
The ultranationalist Yisrael Beitenu party said it would propose legislation next week for a ban on the practice and a jail term of up to three years for violators. . . .
Threat of the 'thought police' alarms Israel's Arab minority
Freedom to oppose Israel's right to exist among acts that right-wing politicians are attempting to outlaw
By Donald Macintyre in Jerusalem
Saturday, 30 May 2009
Israeli Arab leaders have called an emergency meeting today to discuss their growing alarm over a series of "racist and fascist" bills being promoted by right-wing members of the country's parliament. One of the bills has already brought fierce accusations from two prominent Jewish Knesset members that its backers are trying to create a "thought police" and "punish people for talking".
. . . the Committee is also protesting at another bill, which was given its first reading in the Knesset this week, that would make it a crime to negate Israel's right to exist as a "Jewish and democratic state".
It was during a heated debate on that bill last Wednesday that Haim Oron, leader of the left-wing Meretz party, declared: "Have you lost all faith in Israel as a Jewish and democratic state? This crazy government, what on earth are you doing? A thought police? Have you all lost it?" And Roni Bar-On, who was the centrist Kadima finance minister in the last government, asked the promoters: "You want to punish people for talking? Soon, will you want to punish for thoughts?"
A third bill which is expected to come before the ministerial legislative committee tomorrow would enforce a "loyalty oath" on those seeking Israeli citizenship. The idea of the oath was a centrepiece of the election campaign waged by Avigdor Lieberman, leader of the hardline Yisrael Beiteinu party who is now foreign minister.