Israeli Arab MK Ahmed Tibi (United Arab List - Ta'al), one of the most vocal critics of government policy in the Palestinian territories, evoked praise from his fellow lawmakers after delivering what Knesset speaker Reuven Rivlin called "one of the best speeches he has ever heard in the plenum" about the Holocaust.
During the parliament special session to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Tibi said that the victims of the slaughter must be attentive to the suffering of others, a remark which hinted at the Palestinian casualties of the Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip last year.
"There is no more natural an occurrence than for the Knesset and all its factions to unite and mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day," Tibi said. "The forces of evil sent tens of millions of people - Jews, Soviets, Poles, Gypsies, and political rivals - to an awful death. This wasn't a simple death, but an industry of death, which was borne of an ideology of hate, racism, and ethnic cleansing."
Tibi was congratulated by government ministers, including Minister without Portfolio Yossi Peled, himself a Holocaust survivor. "As a survivor, I say to you that you moved me," Peled told Tibi. "Thank you from the bottom of my heart, Ahmed."
Other MKs and ministers said Tibi's speech was "dazzling." Conversely, Shas MK Nissim Ze'ev was evicted from the plenum after interrupting Tibi's remarks, accusing the MK of comparing Holocaust victims to those injured in Gaza.
"An excess of power is very corrupting," Tibi said. "Aggression, messianic nationalism, Fascism, and racism are the methods used to attract people on a massive scale in order to support a policy which in practice is intended to crush them, and to crush us all."
"There is nothing more foolish or amoral than Holocaust denial," Tibi said. "For what purpose? What end is served exactly by those who do so? We are here in the era of realizing rights for self-determination and freedom, not dismantling states or peoples."
"People must stand courageously against instances of denial of the other, oppression of the other, denial of the Holocaust," Tibi said. "I, Ahmed Tibi, a tall, proud Arab, is happy to be on the same side as prominent Arab intellectuals who came out forcefully against Holocaust denial in the Middle East and other places around the world."
"We must stand and warn with a loud voice against all instances of discrimination, racism, and the politics of hate," Tibi said. "Racism and hatred for anything that is different, including Arabs, have raised their heads here in Israeli society. Racism has long become 'mainstream.'"
"Those who were victims of that horrible death, which is a byproduct of a malicious exercise of power - a destructive, absolute power ? must be attentive to the cries of the bereaved mother whose home was destroyed and whose children were buried underneath it; to the pain and cries of a doctor who lost his daughters; to the victims of the other, even if the other is his victim, the victim's victim."