|He's smiling, so he must be tolerant|
The New York Times wrote:
A prominent Arab-Israeli member of Israel’s Parliament whose party alliance made strong gains in the last election expressed optimism on Wednesday about the future of a more inclusive Israeli democracy and the creation of a Palestinian state.Bloomberg reported:
“We are living proof that Arabs and Jews can refuse to be enemies,” Mr. Odeh, 40, a lawyer from the northern city of Haifa who views the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X as role models, said in an interview with The New York Times, speaking in a mix of English and Hebrew.
“There is no other solution” except a Palestinian state side by side with Israel, he said. “Israel cannot be a democracy if it occupies land of other people.”
Mr. Odeh also said that as a legislator, he would push for greater rights and improved livelihoods among his fellow Arab-Israelis, who are in many cases poorer and less educated than Israeli Jews.
Ayman Odeh, who has helped turn Israel’s marginalized Arab politicians into the third-biggest force in parliament, is preparing for his next campaign by visiting the U.S. this week and going to the church where Martin Luther King Jr. once preached.Then, this happened:
With his native land suffering through a spasm of violence, Odeh has been seeking political support in Washington and New York, and spiritual nourishment in Atlanta. On Sunday, he attended services at Ebenezer Baptist Church where King and his father were pastors. He says he shares King’s goals: dialogue and civil rights.
“Even with all the difficulties, my dream is to strengthen the national conversation between citizens in the state of Israel -- Arabs and Jews together,” he said in an interview in Jerusalem.
Odeh presents himself as a new brand of Arab-Israeli politician, seeking to build equality rather than denigrate Israel. He speaks of fighting discrimination and building alliances, downplaying national security and foreign relations that accentuate the Arab-Jewish divide.
"There is no democracy with discrimination and those who want Israel to be a true democracy have to work for equality for the Arab minority in Israel," Odeh said in an interview in New York. "When we struggle for equality and rights, this is a struggle for democracy. This is a struggle for the common interest of all people."
Odeh said he is visiting the U.S., which he called "the most important place in the world," partly to appeal to U.S. Jews and their influence on Israeli public opinion as well as to explain the plight of Israeli Arabs.
"The Jewish American community has such a high moral standing," Odeh said. "They were the biggest supporters of the African-American civil rights movement." Then, citing a line from the Jewish liturgy, he said, "Justice, justice you shall pursue."
The chairman of the Joint (Arab) List MK Ayman Odeh refused to address the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations Thursday, protesting the fact that the New York offices in which the meeting was to be held also housed the Jewish Agency and other Zionist organizations.
According to the meeting’s organizers, Odeh entered the building’s lobby, but refused to go in, citing the fact that the offices on the floor with the Conference of Presidents also housed the Jewish Agency — a quasi-governmental organization that the Arab List claims participates in discriminatory practices against Israeli Arabs and Palestinians.
“I came here to represent the Arab public in Israel to American audiences,” Odeh later recounted in a statement. “As their representative, I cannot in good conscience participate in meetings in the offices of organizations whose work displaces Arab citizens, just as in the Knesset, we do not participate in the Ministry of Defense, the Foreign Ministry, and the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption.”
“Throughout my visit to the United States, I have spoken with Jewish and Palestinian communities about the need for a joint struggle for our shared future, based on mutual respect and independence for both peoples,” he wrote in his statement. “The Conference of Presidents’ refusal to meet in any other location shows a deep lack of understanding and respect.”
|633 3rd Avenue|
But so is the New York Job Development Authority, Consulate Generals of Switzerland and Afghanistan, a branch of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and of New York Sports Clubs, the NYC Office of the Governor of New York, and UNICEF-USA.
It is an office building!
Ayman Odeh's hate and intolerance is so extreme that he cannot bring himself to enter a building that includes Zionist groups (except the Knesset itself where he gains other benefits.) And his respect for Jews is so low that he insists that they move the entire meeting - in the name of respect.
The facade of a tolerant Arab leader willing to share his message of moderation and coexistence has been destroyed. To Odeh, "respect" is a one way street - only Arabs deserve respect. Jews are meant to be manipulated and bullied. Odeh speaks to the New Israel Fund and the Haaretz conference and other Jewish-heavy audiences only to fool them into believing that he is moderate by sprinkling in words like "Martin Luther King" and "democracy" and "tolerance" and "equality." He does not want dialogue; he demands a monologue - but he knows that many credulous Jews are willing to overlook his hate and intolerance as long as he uses the right language.
Arab politicians willing to cover over their hate with a message of liberalism is not a new phenomenon. But here we see the contrast between words and deeds on the same day.
Now, one would think that the story of such hypocrisy being revealed so deliciously by a politician would be like catnip for the media. But you would be wrong.
The only news outlets to cover the story of Odeh's hate and hypocrisy, a day after it happened, are Israeli and Jewish media. (JTA, which had a worshipful piece on Odeh a couple of days ago, covered the New York story as well.)
To the mainstream media outlets, the only message they want their audiences to read about is how an Israeli Arab leader is tolerant and peaceful. Odeh's actions contradict the narrative that they have built up, so it must be ignored. Words speak louder than actions when the words confirm your bias and the actions contradict them.
This isn't only a story about hypocrisy from an Arab leader. It is a story about how the media will choose the messages it gives and suppress those that it doesn't want anyone to know.
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