Podcast Ep 10: Diana Buttu on how Israeli elections marginalize Palestinians

On episode 10 of The Electronic Intifada Podcast, Asa and Nora speak to Diana Buttu about the most recent Israeli election and what it means for Palestinians.

Diana dives into the politics of the Palestinian parties represented in Israel’s parliament as part of the Joint List. And she explains why Palestinian elections in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip are a remote prospect.

Of Israeli opposition leader Benny Gantz, she told us: “Gantz’s record is really no better than [Prime Minister Benyamin] Netanyahu, certainly not when it comes to his bombing campaigns in the Gaza Strip. He’s also somebody who not only came out and supports annexation [of the West Bank] but claims it was his idea to begin with.”

Diana explains the constraints faced by Palestinian lawmakers in Israel’s parliament, the Knesset. Haneen Zoabi, an outspoken critic of Israel’s policy towards Palestinians, has been temporarily banned from the Knesset and faced criminal proceedings for her speech. Zoabi has “paid a very heavy price [for] having to bear the brunt of Israeli racism and Israeli sexism,” Buttu said.

“Why did she do it? Because she very much believed there needed to be this strong Palestinian voice [inside the Knesset].”

Zoabi announced earlier this year that she would not seek re-election after “a very intense 10 years.”

Diana Buttu is a former legal advisor and negotiator for the Palestine Liberation Organization and is also a policy advisor to Al-Shabaka: The Palestinian Policy Network.

Articles we discussed

Music: “Ana Mish Politi (I’m not political)” by Tamer Nafar

Production assistance by Sharif Zakout

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I have been studying the history of Zionism in a scholarly manner for many, many years and have found it virtually impossible to find anything remotely resembling accurate reporting on — and/or informed discussions of — this subject in the so-called alternative media, much less the MSM. There are a very few exceptions to this rule. Two exceptions: 1) some articles and podcasts published by the Electronic Intifada, and 2) the occasional interview with someone like Max Blumenthal or Rula Jebreal and maybe a handful of other scholars/writers/journalists. This is just incredibly frustrating — to put it mildly — to me. I really don’t understand how other people are able to cope with this kind of frustration.

I’m commenting on this broadcast chiefly to share with you and your readers my frustration. I don’t expect to agree politically with anyone on any subject other than: the critical importance of the BDS movement.

Unfortunately, Noam Chomsky, Norman Finkelstein and other scholar/activists, for example, have exposed the many war crimes, crimes against humanity, and the Israeli government’s sub rosa (or "classified") policy of “incremental genocide” — to borrow Ilan Pappé’s term — directed against Palestinians living in Palestine/Israel and around the world, but they speak against the BDS movement. This is difficult for me to understand.

I suppose I should support the one-state solution, but, to me, I am unable to imagine Zionists living side by side with Palestinians in one State unless the Zionists are able to absolutely guarantee a Zionist majority and Zionist domination of that State. And, to me, that’s totally unacceptable.

As far as the so-called two-state solution is concerned, that so-called “solution” — under any treaty imaginable — seems, to me, utopian in the extreme. To me, the only possible solution would be to completely dismantle the Zionist State and relocate all Israeli Zionists to tiny enclaves around the world. Your thoughts?

Nora Barrows-Friedman

Nora Barrows-Friedman's picture

Nora Barrows-Friedman is a staff writer and associate editor at The Electronic Intifada, and is the author of In Our Power: US Students Organize for Justice in Palestine (Just World Books, 2014).