In an article in the Israeli Arab weekly Kul Al-Arab titled "Exploiting the Nakba Law to Delegitimize Israel," Israeli Arab journalist Zuheir Andreus, who also writes on the Israeli news website Ynet and in the London Arabic daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi, called on the Arab public in Israel and on its leaders to exploit the Nakba Law, recently passed by the Knesset, in order to delegitimize Israel in the eyes of the international community. The law enables the cutting of state funding to any bodies which negate the existence of Israel as a Jewish state or its democratic character; mark Israel's Independence Day as a day of mourning; support armed resistance or racism, violence, and terror; and which desecrate the Israeli flag or its national emblem.
In his article, Andreus said that Israel's laws were reminiscent of Nazi laws, and called on Israeli Arabs to participate in an international campaign to delegitimize Israel and "expose its disgrace." He proposed ways of circumventing the Nakba Law in order to ensure that the Nakba would be instilled in the consciousness of the coming generations. Finally, he stated that the Palestinians were "neither guests nor sojourners" in Israel and that anyone who disliked this fact could take the next plane back to the country from which he came to Palestine.
An edited Hebrew translation of the article appeared in the Israeli daily Haaretz, with a number of key omissions and alterations.
Following are translations of the original Arabic version of the article, and a review of the disparities between this article and the Hebrew version published in Haaretz:
"Israel's Law Book Has Become Blacker than Black"
"...The Palestinians in Israel must carefully consider how to handle the Nakba Law, which passed its third reading in the Knesset yesterday. [The truth is that] we should thank the racist Knesset members who supported this law. It is a strange and amazing paradox that the Knesset approved this law on the very same day that the phony democracy of the Hebrew state sent its former president, Moshe Katzav, to prison for seven years, after he was convicted of rape and of other sexual offenses. The Nakba Law, which joins a long list of racist laws forged in the workshop of the current Knesset, is a blatantly racist law. It allows withdrawing funding from institutions that question Israel's identity as a Jewish state, from public institutions which are accused of openly challenging its Jewish [identity], or from any activity that does not recognize Israel's existence as a Jewish-democratic state...
"Needless to say, the reaction of the Palestinian [citizens] of this occupation state needs to be matter of fact, rational, and practical. We must publicize this law outside of Israel's borders. That is, we must meet with representatives of the progressive and enlightened countries in order to make it known [to them], along with the long list of racist laws recently approved by the last Knesset. We must present documentation of these racist laws, black on white, and explain in detail to representatives of the Western countries... that Israel's law book has become blacker than black and is reminiscent of similar periods in modern history. I mean the Nazi laws against Jews and foreigners, which were passed by the criminal Hitler during the Second World War and were directed against Jews merely because they were Jews."
The Israeli Arabs Must Participate in Israel's Delegitimization
"[A campaign to expose] the Nakba Law and similar [laws] to the international [community] will fall on receptive ears in the [Western] countries, which are completely fed up with [Israel's] hooliganism and piracy in its treatment of the Palestinians on both sides of the so-called Green Line. [Even] the leaders of the Hebrew state [themselves] have begun warning night and day that their country, which is our homeland, is expected to face activity aimed at delegitimizing it. And there is nothing wrong with mentioning here that [Israel's] war minister, Ehud Barak, said last week that Israel would face a political tsunami if it continued to be obstinate vis-à-vis the so-called peace process with the Palestinians, and that, over the coming months, Israel's isolation and rejection by the international community will greatly increase. [Barak said that] this will push the Hebrew state into a corner and lead it [to adopt] a regime parallel to the Apartheid in South Africa during the white minority's rule there.
SUPPORT OUR WORK
"And if the situation in Israel is going from bad to worse, it is our obligation to seize this golden opportunity to actively participate in the attempt to expose the disgrace of Israel, which has become a 'country for all its Fascists.' We must... participate in the important activity of delegitimizing Israel, because we, who stand at the front [lines] in the land of [our] forefathers, have become victims of the capriciousness of the racist members of the Knesset of the Jews. We have truly become victims of these laws, and hostages of this gang that is motivated by intense hatred for every speaker of Arabic.
"We must explain to the progressive world that the 'country for all its settlers' has stolen and continues to steal our land, and that today, it has shifted to a stage no less dangerous, in which the country of the Jewish majority is trying to usurp our Nakba, [to erase it] from our collective consciousness... and to distort history... We are clean of these racists' blood. It is not we who are in the dock. The opposite is true: we, the '48 Arabs [i.e., the Israeli Arabs], are the accusers. We must remind the countries who voted in the U.N. in favor of establishing a Jewish state in Palestine that they did so on the condition that Israel would treat its minorities equally, without discriminating between these [minorities] and the Jews on nationalist grounds. Here it must be recalled that the first president of the Hebrew state, Chaim Weizmann, declared in the 1960s that the image of the occupation state in the eyes of the international community would depend on how [this state] treated the minorities living within it."
How to Circumvent the Nakba Law and Teach the Nakba to the Coming Generations
"The second part of our reaction to the racist Nakba Law must focus on the 'inside,' [on the Arabs] within the so-called Green Line. The High Follow-Up Committee of the Palestinians in the '48 territories must pass a series of resolutions in this matter... It must pass a binding resolution to display black flags and Palestinian flags on our cars and institutions on the Nakba Day of our Palestinian Arab people, since doing so cannot be considered a violation of the Nakba Law...
"The second proposal for challenging Israel and its racist laws involves electricity. We must disconnect the electricity in our cities and villages, from the Galilee to the Negev, including in the steadfast [towns of the] Triangle and in the mixed [i.e., Jewish and Arab] cities. Doing so would cause no small financial damage to the racist [electric] company... which does not pay heed to the 'inside' Palestinians, refuses to employ Arabs, and does not even hire them to customer service [positions, thus] preventing those 'inside' Palestinians who are not fluent in Hebrew from contacting the [electric] company for various services. In addition, turning off the lights on Nakba Day will save us a great deal of money, which can be put to use toward national projects for educating the coming generations about the Nakba and instilling it in their consciousness.
"This brings us to the third proposal – holding assemblies in our cities and villages in which the children will hear from the elders about the killing, expulsion, and deportation that took place during the Nakba. These meetings with people who lived during the Nakba will eradicate the theory of former prime minister Golda Meir, who said that the old will die and the young will forget."
We Are Not Guests in Israel; Those Who Dislike This Can Go Back to Their Countries of Origin
"Finally, we must convey a razor-sharp message to the Israeli people and its leadership: You must internalize... the crystal-clear fact that the Palestinians in your country are neither guests nor sojourners. Those of you who don't like this can take the next plane back to the country from which you came or from which you were brought to Palestine. Furthermore, it is our duty to point out that the greatest of Palestinian poets, the late Mahmoud Darwish, who has left us in body [but is still with us in spirit], has already told you in his famous qasida [an Arabic lyric poem]: 'O you who pass between the fleeting words, we have that which causes you displeasure. We have the future, and we have things to do in our land. We have the past here, and the first voice of life. We have the present, the present and the future, and here we have both this world and the next. So depart from our land.'"
Cleaned-Up Version of Andreus's Article Posted on Haaretz Website
On March 30, 2011, a Hebrew version of the article was posted on the website of the Israeli daily Haaretz, under the heading "The Nakba Law Is Good for the Arabs." In addition to the change of title, there were also changes in the article itself:
· In the Arabic version, Andreus writes that "Israel's law book" is similar to "the Nazi laws against Jews and foreigners, which were passed by the criminal Hitler during the Second World War." The Hebrew version says that Israel's laws are reminiscent of "dark periods in history and raise difficult questions regarding the liberty of the Arab [citizen]."
· In the Arabic version, Andreus states that the Palestinians are "neither guests nor sojourners in Israel," and invites any Israeli who dislikes this to "take the next plane back to the country from which [he] came or from which [he was] brought to Palestine." The invitation to leave Israel is missing from the Hebrew version.
· The expressions "country for all its fascists" and "country for all its settlers" are absent from the Hebrew version.
· In the Arabic version, Andreus says that disconnecting Israeli Arab cities and villages from electricity will "cause no small financial damage to the racist [electric] company... which does not pay heed to the 'inside' Palestinians, refuses to employ Arabs, and does not even appoint them to customer service [positions]..." The Hebrew says that disconnecting the power will "cause some small losses to the Israeli electric company."
· Finally, the Arabic version quotes lines from a poem by Mahmoud Darwish ending in the words "depart from our land," which are absent from the Hebrew article.