In an interview on Channel 2, Ayman Odeh, the “moderate” head of the Joint Arab List, made some rather shocking statements. Well, at least they would be shocking to anyone who actually bought into the myth that he is in anyway moderate or worthy of representing the Israeli Arab community.
Most of the media focused on the fact that he accused the Shin Bet of assassinating Yasser Arafat. This libel has been around since before Arafat even died and was debunk almost as quickly as it arose, but let’s not let facts confuse the honorable MK.
However, despite the fact that he has been compared to Martin Luther King Jr., as the JPF has previously shown, Odeh is just a pretty face on top of an extremist, anti-Zionist party that rejects the idea of Jewish self-determination. It should come as no surprise that he sees no distinction between the Hamas leadership and the Palestinian leadership as a whole:
Asked by the interviewer at the end of the segment whether he wanted to withdraw the allegation, Odeh repeated, “They sent the people to murder the leadership of the Palestinian people… Take Dichter, for instance,” he said. “He sent the people who murdered Arafat and Sheikh Ahmad Yassin and Abdel Aziz al-Rantisi.”
Not only does Odeh defend his original lie that Israel murdered Arafat, but he compounds it by lamenting the fact that Israel killed the co-founders of the Islamic Resistance Movement! Imagine just for a second a Muslims Congressman going on CNN and complaining that the US killed Osama Bin Laden. Not only would such a thing never happen, but even if one insinuated something close to what Odeh explicitly said, there would be such an outcry that he would be forced to resign in disgrace. Or imagine a right-wing MK condemning the PA for being complicit in the assassination of Meir Kahane, calling him “the leadership of the Jewish and Israeli people.” This would be headline news around the world and would draw censure from nearly every other MK across the board.
But the standards set for Arab politicians, both Israeli and non, are so low that someone who rejects Jewish self-determination and openly mourns the deaths of terrorist leaders is seen as not only a moderate, but are actively aided by the US government in Israeli elections.
As long as the Israeli Arab community is represented by extremists like Odeh who openly support terrorists and reject Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish and democratic state, true integration will remain out of reach and Jewish-Israelis will continue to regard them with suspicion. What’s more, as long as this is “the best we can expect” from Israeli Arabs, we shouldn’t be surprised when our disturbingly low expectations are met.