Haneen Zoabi’s black and white argument

Haneen Zoabi, the Israeli Arab MK, writes a vitriolic piece for Comment is Free on the deportation of banned Israeli Raed Salah. I won’t go into the details – you can peruse the contents as you wish – but there was one point that particularly jarred.

She says: “There is no other meaning to a “Jewish state” except the recognition of the legitimacy of granting privileges to Jews in Israel at the expense of Palestinian citizens, annulling the legitimacy of our struggle for real democracy.”

So, question from the class. If there is “no other meaning” to a Jewish state than the denial of privileges to its non-Jewish citizens, what exactly would a Palestinian state amount to?

Presumably, by Zoabi’s logic, one which would inevitably entail “granting privileges” to Palestinians at the expense of those who are not Palestinian.

Which may well be what she wants, but it makes a mockery of her dream to see “democracy in our own land”.

If she truly believes that, when states are defined by one singular characteristic, they cannot still tolerate the characteristics of others within them, does she then also imagine that a Palestinian state would be the exception?

Or does she fall into that well-trodden trap of believing what is not OK when done by the Israelis is perfectly OK when done by anyone else.

If states can be viewed only in Zoabi’s starkly black and white terms – a prism of “all for one and none for the other” – what hope is there for peace and a two state solution at all?

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