In her first speech in an American synagogue since joining the Knesset, Aida tore Touma-Sliman into the new Jewish nation state law, which she called normalized discrimination and Jewish supremacy, and eventually abandoned the equality as normative value of Israel.
The inspiring Palestinian feminist, journalist and politician treated a few hostile questions with self-confidence and on Sunday evening won compliments from the audience in Temple Israel of New Rochelle (PDF), telling them that the passage of this constitution was "the first" moment of the Israeli Apartheid regime. "
Touma-Sliman, born in a Christian-Arab family in Nazareth, with a degree in psychology and Arabic literature from the University of Haifa, was the founder of the Arab feminist group Women Against Violence, who worked with abused women. In her election to the Knesset in 2015 she was the first female Arab MK to be appointed to chair a Knesset committee, here the Committee for the Status of Women and Gender Equality.
She has two daughters, one of whom, she said, married a Dutchman on Sunday. Her grandchildren, born in Israel, are automatic citizens of the Netherlands, but not citizens in Israel, where they were born and their mother was born. "I meet many Jews at home who say that we need a Jewish state as an insurance policy, in case something goes wrong," she said. "But why should I pay the price of your insurance?" Israel, she said, takes responsibility for Jewish citizens from other states and neglects its own non-Jewish citizens and inhabitants. In the past 70 years, 700 Jewish settlements have been built; 0 for Arabs. "We can not buy houses in many of these settlements." According to Article 7 of this new constitution, the development of Jewish settlements is a national value. "It's like you say in the United States that the development of the White is a national value, and equality is no longer the value of the state."
There is no question, she noted, of "democracy" or "democratic" in the basic law, which "put an end to the balance" between "Jewish" and "Democratic" in the description "Jewish and Democratic State" that Jewish Israeli & # 39; s often attribute pride to themselves.
Early in the question period after her speech, Touma-Sliman was confronted with a man who described himself as an American Jew whose relatives went to the concentration camps. He asked why Palestinians "feel that they have the right to get something from the Israelis every time they lose a war?" Are not the spoils the winners?
Her answer: "If you mean that by Palestinians who lose wars, that nations or nations who lose wars do not deserve to fight and demand to live as human beings, then you would have paid a very high price as Jews, because what happened to you as Jewish people should bring you into a situation of more tolerance and more sympathy and understanding for the suffering of other people, especially when they are suffering from occupation. "
When asked about her own future in the Knesset, Touma-Sliman said that she and other Arabs may not be a long-standing member, citing the Suspension Act that allows a member to be suspended as a majority of the MKs. for votes. "While the Supreme Court has set limits to the law, that court changes, with three settlers with extreme right-wing backgrounds" who have recently been appointed to serve in the Supreme Court. She referred to the May 2018 decision by unanimous vote maintaining a July 2016 amendment to the Basic Law on the Knesset, allowing 90 lawmakers to remove a sitting member of the Knesset if they believed that his or her actions were inciting racism, reflect support for armed struggle against the state or for a terrorist organization, but caution that "the expulsion agency" can not be used "except in the most extreme exceptional circumstances".
Touma-Sliman was then asked about her opinion on the Two State Solution. Since she was the first female member of the High Follow-up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel, which in 2006 published a manifesto called The Future Vision of the Palestinian Arabs in Israel, calling on Israel to change a Jewish state that gives priority to its Jewish majority state of all its citizens, it was surprising to hear her say that she now believes that, while the Two State Solution "goes out," it is still preferable to the likely One State Solution that would continue to favor and discriminate against Jews and oppress Palestinians. Yes, she said, the ideal would be a One State Solution that offers complete democracy, but the bad blood that affects the two peoples suggests that "the One State Solution will not be our dream" because it is not "the right of self-determination in which we believe. "
Touma-Sliman has a lot to say, and leaves her listeners a lot to think about. We need more Palestinian votes, such as hers, which speaks to more Jewish communities, here and around the world.
Thanks to Howard Horowitz