Busted: Knesset Member Tibi Exposes Israel’s Greatness
On Monday, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper was suddenly interrupted while addressing ministers of the Knesset, Israel’s parliament. I would have expected all parties in attendance to display some level of statesmanship, especially considering the important circumstance surrounding this speech: The Prime Minister was the first Canadian leader to ever speak in front of the Knesset.
Prime Minister Harper spoke eloquently of the strong bond between Canada and Israel, chastised those who refuse to recognize Israel as a Jewish State, and condemned groups who obsess over singling Israel out on the world stage.
But as Harper dismissed claims of Israel as an apartheid state, exposing the charge as “veiled” anti-Semitism, Arab Member of the Knesset Ahmed Tibi rose up and began yelling erratically at Harper, in what appeared to be a mix of Arabic, Hebrew, and English. It was his second outburst in an hour, the first of which had been directed at Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu only moments earlier. Tibi accused Israel of apartheid, which, if it were a legitimate claim, would have forbidden him from speaking in the first place.”Ž
Tibi, a former adviser to the arch-terrorist Yasser Arafat, and several of the 11 other Arab members of the Israeli Knesset, actively work through both actions and words to vilify one of the greatest and morally-conscious nations on earth. They portray Israel as an “occupier,” they incite hatred against Israeli civilians, and have personally participated in terrorist acts against the same country that they should theoretically be protecting. “Ž
In 2010, Haneen Zoabi, the first Arab woman to serve in the Knesset, provided a clear snapshot of the true intentions of some of these ministers. MK Zoabi gave credibility to those looking to soil Israel’s reputation by participating in the infamous flotilla incident, organized by the IHH, a radical, Islamist, Turkish terror group, which poses as a humanitarian relief fund. The operation allowed Zoabi and her comrades to sail toward the Gaza Strip, with plans to break a barrier that Israel had set up as a means of ensuring that no weapons fall into the hands of terrorists. After the captains’ refusal to heed Israel’s warning to turn back, IDF soldiers boarded the vessel, armed with paintball guns, in order to minimize civilian casualties. The soldiers were quickly wounded by the “activists” who were armed with knives and metal rods.”Ž
Though MK Zoabi was able to fool the world, bringing worldwide condemnation to Israel for trying to protect its sovereignty, Ahmed Tibi was unable to do the same. In a clearly uncalculated and unintentional move, MK Tibi exposed Israel for what it really is: A democracy, which grants rights to all its citizens, regardless of religion, color, or race. If Israel were not a democratic state, it would not allow a figure like Ahmed Tibi to vocally condemn the State of Israel, time and again, based on unfounded claims, as he attempted to do on Monday.”Ž
Tibi’s ideology also reemphasizes a point of great concern, namely, that Israel is too tolerant. Expressing various viewpoints is important, but not when one of the viewpoints compromises Israel’s safety. “ŽThe world has for too long used the Palestinian issue to cover up their hate for the Jewish people and these ministers are using their titles in the Israeli government, as representatives of the State of Israel, as a cover for their dangerous intentions.
Israel will continue to promote political representation for every group, regardless of their religion, culture, or race. But it must crack down on individuals, regardless of affiliation, who do not accept, and who work against, the very ideals that the country stands for.
Of late, two decisions by the Elections Commission, which would have disqualified Minister Zoabi from running in parliamentary elections, were shamelessly overturned by the Israeli Supreme Court. We can be sure that members of Israel’s right wing will, justifiably, continue with their attempts to disqualify ministers like Zoabi from future elections.
As Mr. Harper asserted in his speech, criticism of any government, especially one which is democratic, is welcomed. But when Israel is consistently singled out by those who ignore concerns of substance, like the slaughter of hundreds of thousands in Syria (including scores of Palestinians) there is clearly a double standard at play, one rooted in an interest far beyond that of equal rights.”Ž
After yelling at Prime Minister Harper, Ahmed Tibi charged out of the room along with his associate, MK Taleb a-Sana. If only this exit were their last.
Isi Stein, a New York native, is a recent graduate of the University of Miami, where he earned a Bachelors of Business Administration. He can be contacted at [email protected].