Some people are born contrarians; it might be their nature. Their purpose is to oppose, and to do so with defiance and with an angry sense of moral outrage. Hanin Zoabi might be such an individual, a member of the Israeli Parliament, who continually finds ways to protest against the country that allows her the freedom to dissent. Yet, freedom is not really free, and comes with the price of responsibility. There is a difference between valid protest to protect the rights of a political constituency and protest that incites violence and is, by all accounts, treasonous. It seems that this Arab member of the Knesset fails to make such a distinction. Yet, Israel allows her voice to be heard, Prof. George Jochnowitz writes: “Has any other country in the world allowed a member of its parliament to participate in an act of war against the country? Only Israel is free enough to allow a traitor to be part of the government.”
by George Jochnowitz
Hanin Zoabi was the first Arab citizen of Israel to graduate from a media studies course in Israel. She then established the first media classes in Arab schools. She has praised Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons, saying that only a situation of Mutually Assured Destruction would restrain Israel.
Zoabi entered the Israeli Parliament, the Knesset, in 2009 as a member of the Balad Party, an all-Arab party. She had been in the Knesset before then. She became famous when she rode on one of the ships of the “Mavi Marmara,", which was stopped by Israel on May 31, 2010. The “Mavi Marmara” was an act of war against Israel, an attempt to break the blockade that Israel was enforcing to protect itself by preventing arms from entering Gaza. If there had been no blockade, the rockets launched by Gaza would have been significantly more destructive. Their only purpose, after all, was to kill Israeli civilians; the rockets had no strategic or military value.
Has any other country in the world allowed a member of its parliament to participate in an act of war against the country? Only Israel is free enough to allow a traitor to be part of the government.
Why is there a blockade of Gaza? In 2005, Israel, in an act of extraordinary generosity, withdrew from Gaza, thus creating an independent Palestinian mini-state. In 2007, Hamas, a party committed to destroying Israel, seized power. In 2008, rockets regularly began falling on Israel.
Nevertheless, Israel has consistently allowed humanitarian aid to enter Gaza. The blockade has never been a siege.
Hanin Zoabi knew that the Mavi Marmara would not ease the situation of the people living in Gaza. It was a military gesture aimed at stopping Israel from protecting itself. On August 22, she declared that it was the right of Palestinians to fight against the Israeli “occupation.” She did this at a rally celebrating the “victory” of Hamas.
Zoabi does not wear a headscarf. She wears short-sleeved shirts. What would she do in a country ruled by Muslims? Could she even sit in their parliament?
She of course doesn’t know that Golda Meir was the first woman in history to become a head of government who was neither the daughter (like Indira Gandhi, daughter of Jawaharlal Nehru) nor the wife, (like Sirimavo Bandaranaike) of a previous head of government. Feminists don’t know this, so why should Zoabi?
Israel should be proud of the fact that allows such a hostile person to sit in the Knesset. The degree of freedom found in Israel is unique, and the presence of Hanin Zoabi proves it.
George Jochnowitz was born in New York City, in 1937. He became aware of different regional pronunciations when he was six, and he could consciously switch accents as a child. He got his Ph.D. in linguistics from Columbia University and taught linguistics at the College of Staten Island, CUNY. His area of specialization was Jewish languages, in particular, Judeo-Italian dialects. As part of a faculty-exchange agreement with Hebei University in Baoding, China, he was in China during the Tiananmen Massacre. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright ©2014. George Jochnowitz. All Rights Reserved. It is republished here with the author's permission.