Ben White defamed as antisemite – a screen for attack on Arab MK?

January 23, 2012
Sarah Benton

Zoabi endorses anti-Semitic author

Controversial Arab MK writes foreword for new book by British anti-Israel writer, says ‘racist’ settlement enterprise premised on ‘ethnic cleansing’

Yaniv Halili, Ynet news

LONDON – Hanin Zoabi seems to be a particularly hard-working Knesset member: After sailing onboard the Marmara with terrorists, celebrating the release of Hamas men from prison and appearing in anti-Israeli conferences worldwide, the Arab MK now wrote a foreword to a new book by Ben White, a British author considered an anti-Semite.

The book, titled “Palestinians in Israel: Segregation, Discrimination and Democracy,” presents a blatant anti-Israel approach. In the four-page foreword, Zoabi addresses what she calls the “racist” settlement enterprise, which she says was established on the basis of “ethnic cleansing.” She also refers to Israelis as the people who took away Arab land.

Moreover, the Knesset member writes that the core of the conflict includes not only Gaza Strip and West Bank Palestinians, but also Arab Israelis.

Zoabi adds that following 50 years of political experiments, Israel’s Arabs have grasped the power inherent in democracy and aim to undermine the moral and political legitimacy of Israel, reducing it to the status of a “colonialist and racist” project.

‘She fears nobody’
The British branch of Amnesty is slated to hold an event Thursday to launch White’s new book. Several Jewish organizations already sent infuriated letters to the organization’s leaders, demanding that the event be called off in favor of a balanced debate on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Jewish leaders [see foot of this posting] have accused White of anti-Semitism in light of various articles he published over the years. In 2002, White wrote that he is not an anti-Semite but that he could understand why other people are. He also charged that Israel’s “ongoing crimes” against the Palestinians are one of the reasons for global anti-Semitism.

MK Zoabi declined to comment on the foreword she wrote for White’s book. However, her associates at the Knesset noted that some of the views expressed in the foreword have been uttered by her in the past at the Knesset podium.

“She believes in the things she writes and has never tried to hide it,” a Zoabi associate said. “She fears nobody and she will continue to express what she believes in at every opportunity.”

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

By Ben White, electronic intifada

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 … the strong possibility [that] 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.

Jewish leaders
It is possible that the ‘Jewish leaders’ referred to in the Ynet article are the Zionist Federation, which has urged Amnesty to cancel the launch it is hosting of Ben White’s book Palestinians in Israel: Segregation, Discrimination and Democracy.  As it is clear, the Zionist Federation does not see itself as a representative body of British Jews

Zionist Federation: Aims and Objectives

  • Its function is to support, co-ordinate and facilitate the work of all its affiliates nationwide, and to continue its commitment to the Zionist youth movements.
  • The Zionist Federation aims to encourage the participation of Jews in Zionist activities including education, culture, Hebrew language and Israel information, underpinned by our belief that the main goal of Zionism is Aliyah.
  • The Zionist Federation is an umbrella organisation encompassing most of the Zionist organizations and individuals in the country and, as such, represents the Zionist movement in the United Kingdom.
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