There’s no doubt that Israel is the world’s most liberal and tolerant society even by the yardstick of the truest democracies. It’s hard to envisage a comparable situation where a society in the throes of a cruel war puts up with voices in its own parliament that plainly give succor to the enemy. The question is whether this isn’t tolerance-gone-too-far, especially when cowardly atrocities against children are brazenly condoned and justified.
This is exactly what Balad MK Haneen Zoabi did Tuesday when she asserted on radio that the abductors of three boys on their way home from school aren’t terrorists. Later, after an aggressive showdown in the Knesset with MK Aliza Lavi (Yesh Atid), Zoabi – whose salary we all pay – tried to put things right by explaining on TV that “if I were asked whether to carry out this operation [abduction], I’d have said that it’s not worthwhile and not efficient and therefore I don’t support it. But to accuse them [the abductors] of being the chief culprits – absolutely not.”
Clearly Zoabi couldn’t bring herself to condemn the kidnapping on moral grounds but only took issue with its efficacy. To further clarify things, Zoabi told Iranian TV that “the only terrorist force in the region is Israel.”
However, nothing different should have been expected of her. She reacts in precisely the same pattern to every terrorist outrage. After the 2012 tour bus bombing in Burgas Bulgaria, in which five Israelis and their local driver were burned to death, she insisted in an interview on Channel 10 that “Israel is not a victim, not even when civilians are killed.”
Zoabi indeed is an old hand at skewing the truth and championing terrorism.
She hobnobbed with Hamas leaders, praised them to the hilt, participated in the Mavi Marmara provocation of 2010, partied with the terrorists released in the Schalit swap and authored an inflammatory “Forward” to Israel-basher Ben White’s book, Palestinians in Israel: Segregation, Discrimination and Democracy. There she castigates Israel as a “colonialist racist project.” She explicitly applauds exploiting “the power inherent in democracy to undermine the moral and political legitimacy of Israel.”
Her pearls of wisdom include the following: “A Jewish state leads to the end of democracy,” “The largest threat to Zionism is democracy” and “to demand full civic and national equality is actually to demand the end of Zionism. So we don’t hate Zionism. Zionism hates democracy.”
Zoabi feigns innocence as a promoter of democracy. Her bottom line is that Israel’s disappearance as a Jewish state is democracy’s praiseworthy, progressive objective. To oppose said objective is undemocratic.
It might as well be admitted right off, frustrating as it may be, that she is immune from any penalty. Attempts to prevent Balad and her personally from running to the Knesset were twice scuttled by the Supreme Court on “freedom of speech grounds.” Zoabi won a license to say and do anything.
This is a far cry from the lot of her 17-year-old relative Mohammad Zoabi who openly supports Israel and who had posted a video in which he called in English, Hebrew and Arabic for the immediate release of “our boys.” Hoisting an Israeli flag he affirmed: “I am an Israeli and I will remain an Israeli.”
This earned him scathing vilification from Haneen Zoabi, death threats even from within his own family and the need to provide him with round-the-clock police protection. Freedom of speech apparently doesn’t apply in his case and he had to suspend all online activity.
This travesty must make us wonder about the jarring absence of indignation and revulsion from Israel’s Arab sector. It’s as if a courageous teen’s support of Israel is treason but there’s approval – be it outspoken or tacit – for Haneen Zoabi’s none-too-concealed subtext that no limits exist to what may be done to any Israeli, of any age, of any gender and of any status, because Israelis (and by extension Jews) bring it on themselves. Israel, she determines with impunity, is the incontrovertible villain of the Mideastern saga – the mega-slaughter in both Syria and Iraq notwithstanding.