“Anti-Semitism” smear is about targeting MK Haneen Zoabi, even though it uses me

Last week I blogged about the intensified incitement against Members of the Knesset from the Palestinian minority in Israel. MK Haneen Zoabi has been the particular focus of this rage directed at Arab MKs who seek to defend the rights of their people against discriminatory laws and policies.

Others have noted recently on the strong possibility Zoabi, as well as her party Balad and maybe also the United Arab List, will be banned at the next election.

Today I was surprised to find myself being used in the campaign to threaten Zoabi, with Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronot running a pathetic smear piece in both the Hebrew print edition, as well as the online English language version, Ynet.

But, despite the focus on my new book and writing, this was not about me; it is all about targeting a Palestinian citizen who is determined to use the legal means available to her in order to fight for her people - whether they are Israeli citizens, inside the Occupied Territories, or expelled refugees.

In my last post, I pointed to “an atmosphere where elected members of Israel’s Palestinian minority are surely at risk of physical harm.” Among the comments on today’s Ynet piece, you will find numerous attacks on Zoabi as “traitor” - including a call for the “death sentence.”

Zoabi surely knows the risks - and the reason why she is so despised by the apologists for apartheid could be found at the end of the Ynet article:

She fears nobody and she will continue to express what she believes in at every opportunity.




I was with Haneen on the Mavi Marmara. After the Israeli assault I watched her try to repeatedly negotiate with the Israeli soldiers to get medical care for the 57 wounded aid workers. All the soldiers would shout at her was "Another step forward and I will shoot you in the head". She risked her life three times asking for medical assistance, meanwhile three aid workers died of blood loss and shock. She is a very brave person. A fine example of how any country's politians should act.

Ben White

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Ben White is a freelance journalist, writer and activist, specialising in Palestine/Israel. His articles have been widely published in the likes of The Guardian‘s Comment is free, Al Jazeera, Electronic Intifada, New Statesman, and many others. He is the author of ‘Israeli Apartheid: A Beginner’s Guide’ (2009, Pluto Press) and ‘Palestinians in Israel: Segregation, Discrimination & Democracy’ (2012, Pluto Press). Ben is a researcher/writer for the Journal of Palestine Studies.