The core essence of the various parties making up the Joint List finally is coming to the fore. And the unwillingness of many in the political system to accept its inimical platform and therefore, permit it to become part of Israels governing institutions as an actual coalition partner, as distinct from being simply represented in the Knesset, is not a matter of anti-Arab racism. That too many ignore or refuse top acknowledge the danger is worse.
in 2013, Odeh, then Hadash secretary and not yet a Knesset member, wrote a poignant article against members of the Islamic Movement. Recently, Meyer Ettinger found the full article in Arabic on Odeh’s comments and posted it on Twitter. The words that Odeh wrote there are completely opposite to the moderate image that the chairman of the joint list enjoys in most parts of the Israeli media…He was outraged at the violation of Nasrallah, the man who “defeated” Israel twice, he said. Odeh wanted to remind the leaders of the Islamic movement that Nasrallah is “an exemplary example of sacrifice, loyalty and professionalism” and that the man “sacrificed hundreds of martyrs and his son within them.” This is the son of Nasrallah who was a Hezbollah fighter and was killed during a 1997 operation of a Walnut unit in southern Lebanon.
Compliments of terrorists can also be found said by Odeh himself, as in a 2013 post, in praise of Sammer Issawi who was sentenced to decades in prison after participating in shootings against Israeli civilians. He was released in the Shalit deal, returned to prison under administrative detention and then launched a prolonged hunger strike and a public fight that eventually led to his release. Odeh has called Issawi “the prisoner of war.”
On the site of Palestine Today, Odeh was quoted in 2015 as explaining that the particiupation of the Arab parties in the Knesset is another and inseparable way of the Palestinian popular struggle. “Our entry into the Knesset is not recognition of the occupation. It is not different from the popular struggle, but another form of it,” Odeh was quoted on the website. “Election participation is the biggest antithesis to the Jewishness of the state.”
Odeh was further asked if he is not afraid of Arab identity being lost in the very activity of the Israeli political system. “There is no such concern,” he replied. “The occupation has not been able to remove Palestinian characterization in recent decades. We seek to stabilize our presence and achieve our rights through the establishment of a special national foundation for the interior Arabs |Arabs of Israel – AG and JP; outer Arabs are the refugees in the Arab World – YM|, to build our own institutions, we want to support the people of the Negev and stop demolition orders threatening thousands of Arab homes ass well as other demands.” In general, Odeh is careful to say “Palestinians” and not “Arabs of Israel,” a term that he believes legitimizes Israel and hurts the Palestinian cause.
In an interview that took place on the ~Faleestan~ broadcast network, Odeh sought to protect Hadash as a party in the Israeli political arena: “We are a framework that includes Arabs and Democratic Jews, whose purpose is to strengthen our power in Arab society, to be a front for Palestinian Arab society and to influence Jewish Israeli society. We hold the rope at both ends. We oppose the Zionist position and the Zionist parties in Israel, and see the impact on Israeli society as a service to our occupied people and to the general Arab society. Our impact is not only on Jews who oppose Zionism but also on the Jews in the Zionist left who believe in the right to establish a Palestinian state whose capital is Jerusalem and who oppose the right of return. We struggle within the Arab society as well as within the Israel society in order to influence it, both on the issue of peace and in the war against the fascist way that Lieberman is leading, which is part of the general Zionist position.”
Odeh developed a conspiracy theory that Israel was interested in deporting Israeli Arabs, just as Bashar al-Assad expelled various populations from Syria during the country’s war. He got the inspiration for the theory from an article published by Prof. Ze’ev Sternhell in Haaretz. Odeh quoted Sternhell’s words that “Israel moved from fascism to the first stage of Nazism.” According to the chairman of the Joint List, those words left a huge impression on him and he went to Sternhell’s house to go deeper.
“I wanted to make things clear to me,” Odeh said, “and he told me in the first phase that the Nazis did not seek to burn Jews but to violate their rights, and sought to encourage voluntary immigration. Only in 1938 did they discuss race theory legally and put it into practice, and then afterwards was World War II against the Jews. Prof. Sternhell said that so-called ethnic discrimination is in the State of Israel, and he talks about the Palestinians who remained in the homeland (ie, Arabs of Israel).
“Ten years ago, it was impossible to think about expelling these civilians from the state. But today, following the racist atmosphere, the loss of legitimacy of Arab citizens and the existence of weapons within Arab cities and villages |the problem of illegal weaponery possessed is enormous – YM|, and in the context of what is happening in Syria and the fact that there are millions of refugees – in this atmosphere, Arab citizens could find themselves in such a dangerous situation (that is, their deportation from Israel).” That is, according to Odeh, Israel headed by Netanyahu promotes a reality in which its Arab citizens may be in the same situation as refugees from Syria.
In that same interview, Odeh attacked the Saudi Arabia Israel policy:
“Not only is Saudi Arabia aligned with Israel, which is an old and well-known thing, the dangerous thing is that it is an ally of Netanyahu and the right-wing in general…Saudi Arabia says the Iranian issue is the most important issue in the region, more important than the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Who shares that statement – Avi Gabay from Labor, Yair Lapid of Yesh Atid, or Benjamin Netanyahu, the extreme right leader. Saudi Arabia has a direct alliance with the Israeli right and with Netanyahu. Saudi Arabia is confident that Netanyahu is the one who can incite America against Iran, and influence the cancellation of the agreement with Iran. Therefore, Saudi Arabia has entered into a direct alliance with the Israeli right headed by Netanyahu. Saudi Arabia has actually made an alliance with the enemies of the Palestinian people.”
Odeh campaigned aginst the initiative of the Greek Orthodox Father Gabriel Naddaf to promote the recruitment of young members of the Christian community into the IDF, security forces, and national service. Nadaf’s actions angered the Arab parties.
They note that
In 2014, Ayman Odeh was interviewed again on the Lebanese Mayadeen website, explaining that Israel is working to divide the Arab public into tribes. He said Israel promoted this policy mainly after the “resolute resistance in 2006”, that is, the second Lebanon war in which Israel responded to Hezbollah attacks. He even called the Israeli withdrawal from southern Lebanon “the liberation of southern Lebanon”, a terminology common to the Hezbollah people.
Odeh said in an interview that since its inception, the Jewish state has been conducting “attacks and wars against the Arab peoples.” He compared Netanyahu with Richard Lion Heart, King of England, who was the patron of a crusade to Israel and fought Saladin. “It must be prevented that where Richard Lion Heart failed in the Crusades, that Netanyahu Hypocritical Heart will succeed today,” Odeh said, declaring that “we are at an important and historic juncture.” In Odeh eyes, Christian enlistment into the IDF is like enlisting in the Crusader forces.
Odeh continued there and made his position clear
“We are part of the Arab Palestinian people and part of the Arab Palestinian issue. The State of Israel considers itself a Jewish state, the state of the Jews. This state has been conquering Palestinian lands, and has been fighting and waging war against the Arab nations since 1948 unto this day. We cannot accept that we will be part of this Israeli occupation and hostility in the region and against the peoples living there, first and foremost against the Palestinian Arab people living under Israeli occupation.
“There is an attempt to separate groups from our people through military recruitment,” Odeh continued. “It comes from three main reasons: one is the classic colonialist stance of segregation and governance. The other is that Israeli officials are trying to turn the issue (Israeli-Palestinian conflict) into a religious issue. After September 11, especially, they wish to tell Europe as well as America and the West, that our problem is with the Muslims and not with the UN rights-based Palestinians. The third reason is that the State of Israel considers itself a Jewish state, and if it recognizes us as a national group, it will recognize that within Israel there are two national groups, and then it will have to transform from a Jewish state to a multinational state. She therefore wants to continue to say that she is a Jewish state, and that the rest are individual tribal groups.”
In a 2018 interview, Odeh declared,
“In our view, it is wrong to put Jerusalem into a religious definition. There is international agreement that East Jerusalem is the capital of the State of Palestine. There are resolutions in the UN Council, there are 129 countries that voted against Trump’s statement on Jerusalem. Nationally and diplomatically, we are strong. If we move the Jerusalem issue toward religion, Netanyahu will tell Europe and America about Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Jeremiah, and Isaiah. He can quote Samuel Huntington (author of ‘The Clash of Civilizations’) and say that he is part of the world’s struggle against Muslims. It does not serve us and it is not true. We need to emphasize our national right to Jerusalem, Muslims and Christians. “
Responding to the High Court for Justice directing Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein to hold elections for a new Speaker, Odeh tweeted on March 23:
Anyone have boxes and a van? Asking for a friend. (למישהו יש ארגזי קרטון וטנדר? שואל בשביל חבר)
“Brothers and sisters, as the great [Yasser Arafat] used to say: ‘They see it as far off, but we see it as near.’ We will be with you at the Eighth Fatah Conference, which will be held in East Jerusalem, the capital of the State of Palestine
“Ayman, go find something to do. You have ruined our city. Enough interviews… You have ruined the city. No Jews came here today. Why are you conducting an interview? You had your protest and ruined the entire world.”
As for MK Heba Yazbak who was permitted to be included on the Joint Arab List only after the High Court of Justice rejected a petition to disqualify her, her anti-Zionism can be observed in video clips.
In one of the videos, Yazbak can be heard saying, “We want to fight – with all our strength – racism, apartheid and Zionism. We will work with all our strength on our project of ‘a state of all its citizens.'”
In the second interview, Yazbak says, “At the same time as we are joining the Knesset in order to achieve civil rights that we can use. We in Balad (Yazbak’s faction in the Joint Arab List – ed.) are holding our compass strong – this is a state of all its citizens.”
“This plan opposes and fights the country’s Zionism and prides itself of divesting the country of its Jewish and Zionist existence, and at the same time preserves our national identity, without sacrificing full citizenship and without sacrificing citizenship.”
These persons are the new alliance partners of the Blue-and-White Party.
Additional background is in this 2002 article: Voice of Palestine: The New Ideology of Israeli Arabs by Dan Schueftan and especially his summary:
There are, of course, differences in style and emphasis in the way Arab MKs express themselves. But these do not fundamentally alter the overall picture which emerges from a careful consideration of their statements. The essence of their position is an all-out rejection of the basic tenets perceived by the Jewish majority in Israel as underlying the existential interests of the Jewish national collective. There are three components to this rejection, each of which is becoming more pronounced over time: (i) Denial of the political and moral justification for a Jewish state; (ii) open identification with Israel’s most implacable enemies; and (iii) sympathy for, and occasionally even advocacy of, acts of violence and terror against Jewish civilians in Israel.