On June 29th 2011, hours after Sheikh Raed Salah had been arrested in London, The Guardian published an article in his defence on its ‘Comment is Free’ website by Haneen Zoabi.
There are three elements to this story and despite the fact that they may appear to come from different worlds, they in fact have more in common than may first meet the eye. Their binding factor is one: Israel.
Haneen Zoabi is an Arab-Israeli (from Nazareth) member of Israel’s parliament on behalf of ‘Balad‘ – an acronym for ‘Brit Leumit Democratit’ or National Democratic Alliance. It is a secular far-Left Arab party formed in 1995 by Azmi Bishara and others as an expression of dissatisfaction with the Oslo Accords, which were supposed to bring about a two-state solution. Its members reject the concept of a Jewish State – and therefore Jewish self-determination – and seek to establish a bi-national secular one in its place to which Palestinian refugees would be given ‘the right of return’. Concurrently, it supports the establishment of a Palestinian state in the territories captured by Israel from Egypt and Jordan during the Six Day War, including part of Jerusalem.
Raed Salah is also an Arab-Israeli – head of the radical northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel (or, as they prefer to be known, the ‘Islamic Movement in ’48 Palestine’) – and a resident and former mayor of the city of Um El Fahm. The movement’s origins can be traced back to the days of the Arab revolt in Mandate Palestine in 1936, but it gathered momentum as a result of the co-operation between Haj Amin al Husseini and its parent organisation (also that of Hamas), the Muslim Brotherhood. The signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993 was accepted by the movement’s more moderate southern branch –a move which created a permanent rift between it and the northern branch, which rejected the agreements. The underlying principles of the northern branch are similar to those of Hamas: the rejection of Israel’s right to exist, the establishment of an Islamic state (as part of the Caliphate) in its place and the implementation of Sharia law. It also supports the ‘right of return’ for Palestinian refugees.
In other words, despite the fact that, according to Salah’s ideology, Haneen Zoabi would no longer have the right to be a secular, uncovered, educated female Arab politician, the ‘red’ of the far Left finds common ground with the ‘green’ of the Islamist movement on one subject: the desire to eliminate the Jewish State from the map.
Salah and Zoabi have another thing in common: both were aboard the ‘Mavi Marmara’ last May when Muslim Brotherhood-linked IHH activists viciously attacked and wounded Israeli soldiers trying to prevent the ship from breaching the naval blockade on Gaza and nine of them were killed as a result. Photographs taken aboard the ship at the time yet only recently published apparently show Zoabi in the vicinity of Turkish activists armed with guns.
Here is Salah in action after the flotilla:
And where is the Guardian in all this? Well, it frequently gives a platform to anti-Zionists and in particular those of the far-Left variety, in accordance with the ideologies and activities of some of its own staff such as Seumas Milne. It also frequently acts as a voluntary platform for members of Hamas and sympathisers of that Islamist movement. It is, in other words, the place where red and green meet in order to promote their anti-Israel message and at no time was that more obvious than during the aftermath of the 2010 flotilla which was dutifully promoted by the Guardian according to red/green dictates.
Like Salah and Zoabi, the Guardian too appears to reject the option of negotiation as the preferred manner of solving the Arab-Israeli conflict; its active participation in the ‘Palestine Papers’ affair which effectively put the lid upon the Palestinian Authority’s ability to negotiate anything indicated that Farringdon Road is definitely in the Hamas camp.
So let us now examine Zoabi’s arguments in favour of Salah, as published by the Guardian. Immediately she tries to attribute the blame for Salah’s arrest to Israel and its supporters, whilst at the same time playing the ‘Islamophobia’ card. According to British statements on the subject, Salah was arrested under Section 3 of the Immigration Act of 1971 which, to the best of my knowledge,’ Israel and its supporters’ had no part in drafting. Obviously, Zoabi cannot credit the UK authorities with possessing minds of their own.
She refuses to recognise the unpleasant fact that, like many other countries, both Britain and Israel have seen a worrying rise in the popularity of various strains of the Islamist movement in recent years and that measures to limit incitement against non-Muslims, Muslim apostates, women, homosexuals and members of other ethnic groups are part and parcel of a democratic country’s responsibility towards its citizens of all stripes. Raed Salah is not the first (and will probably not be the last) Islamist (or other) hate preacher to be denied entry to or deported from the United Kingdom and that fact has nothing whatsoever to do with ‘Islamophobia’ or clandestine behind the scenes operations by a mythical ‘Zionist lobby’.
Is it surprising that the Guardian should permit Zoabi to promote such ridiculous claims on its virtual pages? Not in the least: it has frequently allowed Islamists and their supporters to sound warning bells of ‘Islamophobia’ (as opposed to the real phenomenon of anti-Muslim bigotry) on its pages as part and parcel of the campaign by British Islamists to silence debate. As for the all-powerful ‘Zionist lobby’; this, of course, is one of the favourite themes on CiF and is promoted by former Foreign Office types, Arabists and Islamists alike.
Zoabi’s falsehoods continue with the statement that:
“Because I took part in the first freedom flotilla to break the illegal and inhuman siege of Gaza, the Israeli establishment has waged a propaganda campaign against me, accusing me of “terrorism”, and demanding the withdrawal of my parliamentary immunity and citizenship. This will be difficult to implement, but it threatens my political legitimacy and defines me as a “risk”.”
Of course she conveniently forgets to mention that as a Knesset member she swore that “I pledge myself to bear allegiance to the State of Israel and faithfully to discharge my mandate in the Knesset.” Sadly for Haneen Zoabi, the right to collaborate with enemies of her country and to attempt to facilitate the increased influx of weapons from the Iranian regime she so admires into Gaza with the sole purpose of their being used to kill, injure and terrorize the civilians who pay her generous salary is not included in her job description. She also neglects to mention that the sanctions enacted against her following her flotilla escapade were at most symbolic; as she herself said in an interview with ‘electronic Intifada’ “ The three parliamentary sanctions are nothing — I mean nothing — because I can still use my civic passport”.
Zoabi then goes on to dismiss criticisms of Salah as ‘fabricated’:
“Unable to produce any legal evidence, the Israeli establishment and its supporters in Britain accuse him of antisemitism. Salah has rebutted the fabricated allegations behind these claims and instructed his lawyers to begin legal action against those repeating them.”
“It appears that the charge of antisemitism is being used as a way of suppressing criticism of Israeli policies. Since when has the struggle for equality become a form of racism? Since when have states that boast of their democratic credentials acquired the right to arrest people for their political views?”
A quick tour around Salah’s (Zoabi endorsed) ‘struggle for equality’ and ‘political views’ shows him to be a supporter of the notion that Jews were pre-warned about the 9/11 terror attacks, a condemner of America’s action against the “martyr” Osama Bin Laden and a radical homophobe. That alone would probably be enough to drastically reduce his Brownie points with the British Home Secretary but has nothing to do with Israel.
On his home turf, Salah is best known (apart from funding Hamas and having spent five months in prison for assaulting a policeman) for being a very successful inciter of violent riots. His favourite tactic is to whip up fervour by telling his listeners that Israel is attempting to destroy the Al Aqsa mosque.
“On Friday the leader of the Islamic Movement’s northern branch told followers that should Muslims have to choose between renouncing the al-Aqsa Mosque and becoming martyrs they will choose the latter.
“Should the State of Israel make us choose…we will clearly choose to be martyrs,” said Sheikh Raed Salah in the annual al-Aqsa convention in Umm al-Fahm. “We are a nation that does not give up, we will die and win; the al-Aqsa Mosque is not a matter that can be given up on, and we shall win, God willing.”
Thousands of Muslims heeded Salah’s call and made their way to Jerusalem’s Old City early Sunday. Police initially restricted access to the compound – both to tourists and visitors – as a precautionary measure, after learning that residents of east Jerusalem were urged to “come to protect the Mount.” Large police forces were deployed in the Old City as well.”
At a lecture at Haifa University in 2009 he said:
“We love life, our families, our homes and our children, but if they suggest that we give up our principles and holy sites, we would rather die and we will welcome death.”
Salah claimed that the government continued constantly to dig tunnels under the Temple Mount and the al-Aqsa Mosque, and that Netanyahu was planning to complete during his current term what he did not complete during his first one – “to dig additional tunnels under al-Aqsa and rebuild the Temple on the Temple Mount.”
The Muslim students responded by chanting, “Allahu Akbar” (God is great).”
It is, of course, the prerogative of the British Home Secretary to decide that it is not in the public interest to allow such an obvious master in the incitement of violence to have free access to the already problematic sections of radicalised youth in her society.
No amount of crying wolf by Haneen Zoabi can transform that into ‘Islamophobia’, just as Israeli opposition to the actions of those who seek to deny Jews the right to self-determination should not be categorised as racism. The Israeli public and government have nothing against Salah and Zoabi because they are Arabs or Muslims; any objections are to their (often violence-related) actions taken as part of their red/green campaign to destroy the Jewish State.
Salah, Zoabi and the Guardian obviously cannot understand the difference. That could well be because none of them have pristine reputations themselves when it comes to anti-racism, and their repeated references to a ‘pro-Israel (ie Jewish/Zionist) lobby’ influencing policy in foreign countries, both in this article and others, are just the tip of that particular iceberg.
Of course the rich irony of it is that of all the countries in the world, Israel and the United Kingdom are members of quite a small but select club of those which would allow people such as Zoabi and Salah such a free rein to disseminate their lies and propaganda, and that especially excludes the types of country which members of the red/green alliance revere and would emulate if their wishes concerning the end of the Jewish State ever came true.
- Conal Urquhart quotes Ben White as a source in Guardian’s second whitewash of anti-Semitic preacher (cifwatch.com)
- The Guardian’s bias in covering Sheikh Raed Salah (cifwatch.com)
- Guardian and Independent coverage of second flotilla omits key facts (cifwatch.com)
- Azzam Tamimi’s big ‘Arab Spring’ lie. (cifwatch.com)
- The tangled web they weave – the eminence noir behind the “Freedom Flotilla 2″ (cifwatch.com)
- ‘Freedom Flotilla 2′ – Update 4 – ‘Brothers’ in Arms (cifwatch.com)