ZOA Condemns Disloyalty of Israeli Arab MK Ahmed Tibi Promoting Israel’s Creation As Catastrophe
July 6, 2011

ZOA: “Is this treasonous?”





The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has condemned the disloyalty of Israeli Arab Member of the Knesset (MK) and its Deputy Speaker Ahmed Tibi (United Arab List-Ta’al) for proposing a bill in the Knesset seeking to forbid Israeli government funding of any organization that denies the ‘Naqba,’ (Catastrophe), the common Arab label for the founding of the State of Israel in 1948. Tibi’s bill was rejected by Knesset Speaker Reuben Rivlin and his deputies.  Tibi called the rejection of his bill “a dark day for democracy … I stood in front of you with a challenge, and you failed …This is a blow to freedom of expression and democratic values … [The bill was meant to raise awareness of] the suffering of the Palestinian people in 1948. Whoever denies it is taking an inhuman stance.”


In response, Knesset Speaker Rivlin stated, “This bill says the State of Israel is the reason for the Palestinian tragedy …If the Nakba is a tragedy, then the establishment of the State of Israel is a tragedy. The Palestinians experienced a catastrophe that was brought on by their leaders, but the establishment of the State of Israel is not the reason for it.” MK Alex Miller (Israel Beiteinu), who had earlier proposed a bill forbidding funding for institutions recognizing the Naqba, said Tibi’s initiative is “bizarre and aims to harm anyone who does not want to mark Independence Day as a day of mourning or refuses to recognize the myth that undermines the Jewish People’s right to their own state in the Land of Israel. There is no reason to allow this anarchic circus that Tibi and his friends want to hold in the Knesset … There’s a limit to our masochism” (Lahav Harkov, ‘Rivlin, deputies reject Tibi bill to commemorate “Nakba,”’ Jerusalem Post, July 4, 2011).


A sample of troubling statements by Israeli Arab members of Knesset indicating disloyalty to the state of Israel:


·         Ahmad Tibi (United Arab List-Ta’al Party): Tibi, who serves as the Knesset’s Deputy Speaker, attended a conference in Doha, Qatar, where he announced that he came as a representative of ‘Palestine.’ This apparently even shocked Kadima Minister, Majalli Whbee, who said, “It’s time for Ahmad Tibi to decide which country he represents… he cannot be a member of one nation’s parliament while representing another at international conventions.” Tibi also condemned Israel in his address at Doha, saying that “Israel discriminates against Arab citizens and has established an apartheid state in the occupied territories where Arabs have different roads and different laws” (Barak Ravid, ‘Livni accuses MK Tibi of trying to sabotage two-state solution,’ Haaretz, April 15, 2008).


·         Raleb Majadele (Labor):“Of course I would not sing [‘Hatikvah’] the anthem in its current form” (Amnon Meranda, ‘Majadele refuses to sing national anthem,’ Yediot Ahronot, April 17, 2007). Majadele has also declared that Israel lacks sovereignty in Jerusalem: “I say clearly: Al-Aksa, Al-Haram al-Sharif [as the Temple Mount is called by Muslims – ed.], cannot be under the authority of Israeli law … if there is a contradiction between the law and my deep faith as a Muslim, I announce that I will know what to choose.” (Gil Ronen, ‘Majadle Justifies Destruction of Temple Remains,’ Israel National News, November 14, 2007).


·         Azmi Bishara (Balad): Has praised Syria for its “struggle to liberate occupied Arab land, its resistance against occupation and its defense of the legitimacy of such resistance” (Jerusalem Post, September 12, 2006); stated that “We are Syria’s ally” and supported its efforts to free “occupied Arab land” (Haaretz, September 10, 2006); condemned “Israel’s barbaric onslaughts” against Lebanon and urged Hizballah’s Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah to “continue his fight” (Jerusalem Post, September 12, 2006) and warned Syria of likely “preemptive Israeli strikes” (Jerusalem Post, September 12, 2006), something of which he might well have knowledge as a result of his presence in the Knesset.


·         Jamal Zahalka (Balad): “For us Syria is no enemy … [we support] solidarity with Syria, especially after Israel’s savage aggression against Lebanon” (Jerusalem Post, September 12, 2006); “We don’t see Syria as an enemy state” (Haaretz, September 10, 2006)

·         Wasal Taha (Balad): terrorist groups should “concentrate their efforts on attacking and abducting Israeli soldiers” (Jerusalem Post, September 12, 2006).



 ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “We condemn Israeli Arab MK and Deputy Speaker Ahmed Tibi for his transparent, conspicuous and outrageous disloyalty to the state of Israel by proposing this fatuous and malicious bill. What Ahmed Tibi attempted to do in the Knesset this week had no connection with democracy or human rights. It was a crass and shameless attempt to legislate a particular – and false – anti-Israel version of history: namely, that Arabs became refugees in 1948 because of a ‘disaster’ imposed on them – an alleged Israeli attempt to drive them out of the Jewish state. The truth is otherwise: Palestinian Arabs became refugees because the Palestinian Arabs refused to accept UN Resolution 181 creating an Arab and a Jewish state.  Instead six Arab countries invaded Israel in an attempt to destroy the fledgling Jewish state and murder as many Jews as possible. During this Arab-initiated war, the Palestinian Arabs fled the land primarily at the behest of their own leaders and Arab armies. It was the Palestinians and other Arabs’ horrific actions that caused the ‘refugee’ issue and stopped the establishment of a Palestinian Arab state in 1948. (Of course today we’re talking about the grand and great-grandchildren of the ‘refugees’; they are the only refugees in the world whose grandchildren are still designated as ‘refugees’.


“Worse, not only was Tibi’s bill an attempt to legislate a false version of history, but it attempted illiberally and repressively to impose sanctions on those who know better and are prepared to denounce Mr. Tibi’s pernicious propaganda version of Israel’s birth. It is rare for the Knesset forum to reject a bill when it is presented – in fact, it has not been done in seven years – but in this case, the decision was clearly a correct one. No state is required to put to a vote outrageous propositions that negate its existence and its legitimate founding.


“It should be noted that Tibi, in arguing for his bill, labeled those who would oppose recognition of his propagandist version of Palestinian history via the institution of a ‘Naqba Day’ as ‘deniers,’ a term that immediately and offensively conjures up the idea of Holocaust denial. The Palestinian propagandist version of history is not based on truth or an impartial search for justice and repudiating it is a duty. However, the attempt to even introduce this vile and offensive bill in the Knesset points to the disloyalty of Israeli Arab Ahmed Tibi and the Arab MKs who are prepared to back it. It certainly explains the skepticism of the Israeli public as to the loyalty to Israel of the country’s Arab minority. Ugly actions like Ahmed Tibi’s are bound to only increase this well-founded suspicion. In fact, this type of action by an MK may be on the verge of being treasonous.”


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