February 11, 2009

Azmi Bishara

I've seen a terrible thing in the Guardian. Azmi Bishara was a Palestinian member of the Israeli parliament but had to flee because of trumped up charges that he had aided Hizbullah. Well among the many zionist pieces in the Guardian's Comment is free there was one making out that Azmi Bishara fled because he was guilty of something rather than that he was being framed and threatened with life imprisonment or even death. The piece is by Jonathan Spyer:
The Lieberman phenomenon is far more complex. He has managed to tap into a considerable anger among many Israeli Jews at the growth of Islamism and nationalist radicalism among Israel's 20% Arab majority. This process is best exemplified by the flight from the country of Balad party leader Azmi Bishara, under suspicion that he aided Hezbollah in the 2006 war. Lieberman spotted that this issue was regarded as too controversial by the mainstream parties, and focused on it.
The controversy seems to be over the fact that the details of any charge against Bishara range from secret to ludicrous. Or they might now not be secret, just ludicrous.

Here's Bishara's own take on the whole business in the LA Times.
During my years in the Knesset, the attorney general indicted me for voicing my political opinions (the charges were dropped), lobbied to have my parliamentary immunity revoked and sought unsuccessfully to disqualify my political party from participating in elections — all because I believe Israel should be a state for all its citizens and because I have spoken out against Israeli military occupation. Last year, Cabinet member Avigdor Lieberman — an immigrant from Moldova — declared that Palestinian citizens of Israel "have no place here," that we should "take our bundles and get lost." After I met with a leader of the Palestinian Authority from Hamas, Lieberman called for my execution.

The Israeli authorities are trying to intimidate not just me but all Palestinian citizens of Israel. But we will not be intimidated. We will not bow to permanent servitude in the land of our ancestors or to being severed from our natural connections to the Arab world. Our community leaders joined together recently to issue a blueprint for a state free of ethnic and religious discrimination in all spheres. If we turn back from our path to freedom now, we will consign future generations to the discrimination we have faced for six decades.
I wrote to the Cif editor to point out that whilst the Guardian has always been happy to post articles by the justifiers of Israel's ethnic cleansing in the past, I think this must be the first time they've hosted an apologetic for ethnic cleansing in the future.

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