Controversial Israeli-Palestinian Parliamentarian, Haneen Zoabi, to Speak in Cork on Friday, 10 August 2012 at 8 PM

Controversial Israeli-Palestinian Parliamentarian, Haneen Zoabi, to Speak in Cork on Friday, 10 August 2012 at 8 PM
‘Israel: Democracy, Racism and Apartheid.  An Insider’s View’
Haneen Zoabi, the first Palestinian woman elected in 2009 to a Palestinian party in the Israeli Knesset, will speak in Cork on Friday 10th of August at 8 pm in the Metropole Hotel, McCurtain Street as part of a national tour of Ireland organised by the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign.
Haneen Zoabi was born in Nazareth in 1969.  She earned a BA in Philosophy and Psychology at the University of Haifa and an MA in Communications from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.  She joined the National Democratic Assembly party in 2001 and co-founded the NGO, Media Centre for Arab Palestinians in Israel, in 2003, for which she acted as its general director until she resigned to focus on her political career in 2009.  She shot to prominence following the attack on the Freedom Flotilla to Gaza in May 2010.
Haneen, who was on board the Mavi Marmara when it was stormed by Israeli commandos, condemned the raid in Israel’s parliament as “a pirate military operation.”  This led to her being called a traitor by her fellow parliamentarians, receiving death threats and demands from the Israeli Interior Minister, Eli Yishai, that her parliamentary immunity and Israeli citizenship be revoked.  As a result, the Knesset has removed a number of Haneen’s parliamentary privileges, including the right to participate in discussions and to vote in parliamentary committees.
With a background in education and media, Haneen campaigns for equal citizenship for all of Israel’s citizens and for an end to the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Territories.  She believes that the Israeli state ideology of Zionism is inherently racist and points to over 30 Israeli laws that legally discriminate against Palestinian citizens of Israel.  Describing her quest for equality she has said, “The problem is not simply the terms of citizenship: we want to be equal to the Jews, but also, as the indigenous people, this homeland belongs to us.  I want to be equal not because I immigrated or because I’m a citizen. Primarily I want to be equal because it is my homeland and nobody has the right to take it away.”
Haneen has been at the forefront in opposing the introduction of loyalty oaths for Israel’s non-Jewish minorities, Admission Committees and other anti-democratic legislation, condemning leading Israeli politicians, including the Prime Minister, as “…a bunch of fascists pure and simple”.  Of the current legislative assault on democracy, she remarks that it is “a gradual continuation of long-standing policies that confiscated my land; that discriminate against me; and that refuse to recognize me as an equal citizen and as one of the owners of this homeland.”
Haneen additionally brings a much needed feminist perspective to the struggle for equality and civil rights, calling for Israeli feminists to join with Palestinian advocates: “We can’t call ourselves feminists if we occupy other women, demolish their homes, force them to live under a blockade, support settlement expansion, and then come home and talk about women’s rights.”
Despite the harassment and threats, Haneen remains undaunted; referring back to those she represents she has remarked, “I was not elected to keep silent or to sit at the table and clap.”
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