It’s a Good Thing You Didn’t Attend the Nation-state Rally in Tel Aviv, Tzipi Livni

There’s no doubt that Livni’s DNA can be found in every paragraph of the nation-state law. And if anyone in the Arab community is working to forge an alliance with Livni, it’s because there are people even worse than she is

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Israeli opposition head Tzipi Livni.
Israeli opposition head Tzipi Livni.Credit: Chandler West for IRL Production
Odeh Bisharat
Odeh Bisharat

Perhaps one might whisper in opposition leader Tzipi Livni’s ear that before she tries to explain to us why she didn’t attend the demonstration against the nation-state law organized by the Arab community’s Higher Arab Monitoring Committee, while adding that only if a long list of conditions were met would she condescend, of her great goodwill, to attend, she ought to say who even invited her. How do the Arabs phrase it – she’s like “a beggar who also sets conditions.”

After all, what lunatic would invite someone to the demonstration when, to this day, there might still be an outstanding arrest warrant against her in London on suspicion of involvement in war crimes during Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip in 2009, when she served as foreign minister and vice prime minister under Ehud Olmert? As a reminder, during that operation, Israeli bombardments killed more than 1,300 Palestinians, the vast majority of them civilians.

>> Read more: There's a reason the opposition didn't attend the nation-state protest | Tzipi Livni ■ Israel's contentious nation-state law: Everything you need to know

And really, what a broken age we’re living in, in which everyone treats the Arabs like children. And as if this condescending “Abu Ali” attitude weren’t enough, we now have Umm Ali, who sets conditions for participating in a demonstration that already took place, of which the most important was the demand that we acquiesce to Israel’s definition as a Jewish state. Did no one explain to Ms. Umm Ali that the Tel Aviv demonstration was against the nation-state law, not in favor of it?

There’s no doubt that Livni’s DNA can be found in every paragraph of that law. And if anyone in the Arab community or the real left is working to forge an alliance with Livni and her ilk, it’s because there are people even worse than she is. That’s another sign of the broken times: We’re starting to rank evil.

After all, this woman once said that Arab Israelis would find their national self-expression “only in a Palestinian state.” Israel has no place for Arab patriots. The Arabs here are citizens without a nation. And if, heaven forbid, the nationalist gene expresses itself in them, let them go to Ramallah, sing the Palestinian anthem “Biladi,” recharge their batteries and come home to a life devoid of nationhood.

When the talk of Israel as a nation-state first began, we told Livni and her ilk, “You’re playing with the fire of nationalism, and anyone who plays with fire will get his fingers burned, as the Arabs sing at weddings” (Don’t be frightened, the song refers only to the fire of love). And if that weren’t enough, we recalled the poem of Syrian poet Nizar Qabbani, in which he tells his love, “Choose love, or non-love, there is no middle ground between paradise and hell.” Here, there’s no middle ground between the benighted nation-state and a 2018-model democratic state.

But the Zionist Union and Yesh Atid parties operate according to the Arab saying “my soul longs for it, but I’m repulsed by it.” These honorable men and women desire the nation-state law with all their might, but the stench of apartheid arising from it frightens them.

They’re so in love with the law that one of the pillars of this political camp, a man by the name of Haim Ramon, is trying to teach us how to lie to ourselves, so that following his brilliant analysis, the nation-state law will become one that complements the Basic Law on Human Dignity and Liberty (Haaretz in Hebrew, August 17). What nonsense, Ramon, given that the state encourages only Jewish construction in this country. Your acrobatic efforts to make the nation-state law kosher are revolting.

Therefore, I’d like to tell Livni: You’ve already caused enough damage to the Arab-Jewish issue and to a shared life based on mutual respect. It’s time for you to do some soul-searching, and you ought to do it publicly, so that the younger generation would learn a few lessons. And for your information, the younger generation, even on the Israeli right, generally relates to Arabs as equals, not as people to whom conditions should be set, as if we were still under the accursed military government.

It’s a very good thing you didn’t attend the demonstration, Livni. After all, to once again borrow from Arab wisdom, “We already have enough of this carob in our warehouse.” You think one Benjamin Netanyahu isn’t enough, that we should go looking for his clone?

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