Back in June 2011, Islamic Movement in Israel leader Sheikh Raed Salah was identified by the British government as a negative and extremist influence and banned from entering the country on a speaking tour, which included a meeting in the Parliament building itself. Somehow, the UK’s Border Agency failed to recognize Salah who arrived in Britain unimpeded until the police caught up with him later.
Salah has spent the last 10 months fighting deportation, finally winning his case, much to the disgust of the British government and organizations concerned with the Sheikh’s anti-Semitism.
Having just returned to Israel, Salah launches a tirade against Israel’s alleged mistreatment of its Arab citizens in The Guardian amid claims that “Israel’s cheerleaders in Britain will continue to smear my character.“:
My people – the Palestinians – are the longstanding victims of Israeli racism. Victims of racism, anywhere, should never condone or support the maltreatment of another people, as Israel does. …
Despite the Israeli policy of “transfer” – another term for ethnic cleansing – the Palestinians will not go away. The Israeli state can occupy our lands, demolish our homes, drill tunnels under the old city of Jerusalem – but we will not disappear. Instead, we now aspire to a directly elected leadership for Palestinians in Israel; one that would truly represent our interests. We seek only the legal rights guaranteed to us by international conventions and laws.
Related content: MK Shills For Anti-Semite in Guardian
Here are but a few examples of why Salah’s presence in the UK was deemed by the government to be undesireable:
- A blood libel charge made during a speech in 2007 where he accused Jews of using children’s blood to bake bread?:
“We have never allowed ourselves to knead [the dough for] the bread that breaks the fast in the holy month of Ramadan with children’s blood,” he said. “Whoever wants a more thorough explanation, let him ask what used to happen to some children in Europe, whose blood was mixed in with the dough of the [Jewish] holy bread.”
- Salah’s despicable promotion of the conspiracy theory that the 9/11 terrorist atrocities were carried out by Israel:
A suitable way was found to warn the 4,000 Jews who work every day at the Twin Towers to be absent from their work on September 11, 2001, and this is really what happened! Were 4,000 Jewish clerks absent [from their jobs] by chance, or was there another reason? At the same time, no such warning reached the 2,000 Muslims who worked every day in the Twin Towers, and therefore there were hundreds of Muslim victims.
- Salah’s Islamic Movement’s mourning of Osama bin Laden may have led the UK authorities to consider him worth excluding from the country:
We in the Islamic Movement condemn the assassination operation against the sheikh, the martyr Osama Bin Laden, if [reports are] true, at the hands of the American security arms.
The assassination, if true, proves collusion of mercenaries who have sold their consciences to cursed Satan.
It comes as no surprise that The Guardian, which has been one of Salah’s staunchest defenders in his legal battle against deportation, has given the Sheikh the opportunity to attack Israel only a day after finally returning home to the very country that he now savages.
Of course it would be naive to suggest that the status of Israeli Arabs is perfect. But it is a far cry from Salah’s claims of deliberate persecution.
Indeed, in a recent blog post for The Times of Israel, Haviv Gur writes the following:
In a February 1 Haaretz column, Alexander Yakobson, a noted Hebrew University historian who also happened to write my favorite book, gives some enlightening statistics, gleaned from the Israel Democracy Institute’s Israeli Democracy Index for 2011 (PDF). I couldn’t find a translation from Haaretz itself, so I’m using one sent to me by Dr. Yakobson:
According to the Israel Democracy Institute’s “Israeli Democracy Index for 2011,” 52.8% of Arab citizens (as opposed to 88% of Jewish citizens) respond in the affirmative when asked whether they are proud to be Israelis.
The details are even more eye-opening:
Of course, being proud to be an Israeli does not mean refraining from harsh criticism of the establishment. According to the 2011 survey, only 24.5% of Arab Israelis trust the Prime Minister; 35.5% trust the government as an institution…; and 69.4% trust the Supreme Court (almost identical to the percentage among Jewish Israelis). The IDF enjoys the trust of 41% of Arab citizens and 45% agree that it is “very important” or “quite important” to strengthen Israel’s military capability.
Israeli Arabs like being Israeli, are proud to be Israeli and want Israel to remain secure.
Can this be true? Doesn’t it contradict the conventional wisdom of the media, the rhetoric of Israeli Arab leaders, the political discourse on both right and left? And if it is true, if hundreds of thousands of Arabs are proud Israelis, what should we make of the claim that a Jewish state can’t accommodate proud minorities?
Yakobson concludes that it is long past time for Israeli Arab politics to begin to reflect Israeli Arab feelings toward Israel:
It would seem that the basic attitude of the Arab minority towards the State is an ambivalent one. Given the current conditions, this ambivalence is good news. This public’s elected leadership reflects for the most part the negative side of this ambivalence, and nothing else; no force in the political arena reflects this ambivalence’s positive side, which, as we have seen, in not at all negligible. It is definitely in the interest of the Arab public, and of Israeli society as a whole, that such a force should emerge.
Sheikh Raed Salah is symptomatic of the radical and poor leadership in the Arab sector that contributes to the problems of that sector rather than alleviating them.
Salah’s charge of “drilling tunnels” under Jerusalem’s Old City is in keeping with his penchant for whipping up anti-Jewish feeling amongst Muslims by falsely accusing Israel of undermining the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount. As for his aspirations for a “directly elected leadership for Palestinians in Israel”, considering that Arab citizens of Israel have the right to vote and have their own parties and elected politicians, this can only be a call for separatism and disengagement from the Israeli state as a whole.
That Raed Salah has the freedom to incite within Israel itself is something of a testament to the liberties provided by Israel to all of its citizens, even those who wish to see the state destroyed. For The Guardian to give Salah a final platform upon exiting the UK is just another example of this media outlet’s malicious intent towards Israel.
Send your considered comments to The Guardian – email@example.com
- Banned Israeli Islamist to remain in Britain (timesofisrael.com)