Readers of this blog will recall a post I wrote after the Mavi Marmara massacre in which Israeli Palestinian MK Haneen Zoabi was physically assaulted as she attempted unsuccessfully to address the Knesset on her return from her participation in the flotilla. Subsequent to that, the Knesset further punished Zoabi by removing rights and benefits accorded to all members.
Now the military intelligence goons have released new, heavily edited video footage (video buffer is very slow) that makes the ridiculous claim that because she is seen walking down a common passageway on the ship on which other passengers are seen holding poles (with which they presumably, in the Israeli version, attacked IDF soldiers, though it doesn’t show them doing this) that she is a liar, fraud and terrorist. In a second scene she is seen mounting a stairway in which men at least one floor above her are seen carrying poles. At no point in the video does she see these allegedly armed figures, not does she interact with them. In fact, there isn’t a single scene in the video in which she is in the same frame with the pole-bearers.
What does all this claim? The astoundingly incriminating fact that an Israeli Palestinian Knesset member shared a ship among 600 other passengers in which she was in some indeterminate physical proximity to other passengers who were carrying poles. Wow. If that isn’t the smoking gun that Israel needs to bury this woman I don’t know what is.
The breathless prose of Haaretz’s reporter Jonathan Lis is indeed disgusting in that it plays into the smear mentality that has beset Zoabi since she returned from the flotilla. He all but claims that she lied about not knowing there were armed men on the boat. Indeed, why does it matter at all whether she knew or not? Should she have clairvoyantly been able to foresee that passengers might attack the IDF soldiers assaulting the ship? After she did know about the violence, should she have magically teleported herself off the ship? Should she have stayed in her cabin cowering in a corner until the worst was over? No, you can’t win with these people. They simply want their pound of Arab flesh and will take it any way they can.
Why do they hate her so? Because she is young, charismatic, energetic, photogenic, fluent in Hebrew and a powerful representative for her people. The Israeli right hates that. It cannot abide having a capable opponent pointing out its flaws. For this, it will silence her at the first opportunity. This is video is yet another part of that assault.
What is most disturbing is the right-wing extremist reaction to this video. One far right Knesset member calls it “incontrovertible proof that she participated in terror against Israel.” Another calls upon Israel’s “Arab leadership” to end Zoabi’s career in the Knesset. A member of Lieberman’s Yisrael Beitenu declares the footage proof that Zoabi belongs in the “Hamas government and not the Israeli Knesset.”
Frankly, I’m astonished that the Israeli propaganda machine is still crankin’ out this stuff this many months after the disaster. It proves that Mavi Marmara continues to wound this government deeply. Any Israeli seen to have aided in this effort will be targeted for severe punishment.
What is it like to be a Palestinian citizen of Israel? Let Haneen Zoabi or any number of other Palestinian MKs tell you, who are subject to this sort of abominable treatment routinely from a racist, extremist, anti-democratic Jewish majority.
And will the Jewish “liberal” minority come to her aid? Are you kidding? Well, maybe they’ll say a word or two in her support as a fellow Knesset member. Maybe they’ll oppose stripping her of her privileges. Other than that, very little.