Thursday, October 29, 2015

How to shit on a refugee's dream of return

A phony sliver of Israel's Haifa [Alsaafin/November 2012]

I met a man the other day, a friend of a friend who was sitting at the next table. He’s from a Palestinian refugee camp in Beirut, and came to London a few years ago to finish his postgraduate degree. He sought asylum after he completed his degree and then later began working. In two years time he will get UK citizenship, and he plans on going to Haifa, where he’s originally from.

He said all of this in a semi-eager, semi-bashful way. 

I couldn’t stop myself. I snorted.

He looked at me, politely puzzled by my reaction. I closed my eyes, mortified since I thought my expression of derisiveness was safe inside my own head. I breathed deeply, and opened my eyes again. I apologized.

“It’s just…I didn’t like Haifa,” I said somewhat lamely. “I’m sorry I’m probably ruining your lifelong dream to return, but I just can’t bear to see how refugees romanticize their hometowns, villages and cities that their grandparents were kicked out from.”

I felt like a dick as soon as the words tumbled from my mouth. The grimace on my face was actually self-disgust. How could I say that? From generation to generation, refugees confidently answer the question of where they are from with the names of places they have never seen before, and only know about them by word of mouth, and here I was, telling this man his city is not worth it.

Here's a research topic for those students, one that's been milked enough to shriveldom. Oral history and the importance of memory. Memory and remembrance. Identity and oral history. Refugees, remembrance, oral history, identity and-oh please, enough. Less words, more action. And here was a guy I met ten minutes ago, who was planning on doing just that, fulfilling a dream, a quest, a point to drive home-he's returning goddammit-and I was shitting all over his face.

His expression remained neutral, friendly even. 

“Actually, I’m interested in what you have to say,” he replied in an even tone. “I’m aware of carrying that romanticized dream with me so you do have a point. I don’t want to be crushed and disappointed. What’s Haifa like?”

I was startled by his frankness. 

"Don't ask me," I said a bit roughly. "Ask someone who loves the city. Or someone who at the very least doesn't hate it."

"Please," he said. "What was your experience there like?"

It was so innocent. I wanted to bawl. I wanted to go to the roof of the tallest building in this city and scream at God at the unfairness of it all.

Why should I, with no ties to Haifa, and not even the remotest inclination to search for some false connection that neatly weaves in the narrative of my grandparents’ former lives before 1948 (like my grandfather going to the city for business- which never happened) be the one to tell this refugee about the place where he’s supposed to be from? Why am I the one who had the privilege to see the city numerous times while he is more entitled to it than me but has faced the impossibility of doing so? Perhaps privilege isn’t the right word, since I went there "illegally" without permission from Israel…it’s more of a luxury. An illusion of a luxury which turns out to be nothing more than- like the rest of the ’48 territories-a heartbreaker.

I swallowed. “Well…it’s very Israelified,” I said. “It's a bubble, similar to Ramallah but with more Israelis. It’s a city that is stripped of its Arab Palestinian identity, with the Palestinian minority propped up on the bars and restaurants in one area. And the whole bars and drinking excessively isn’t my issue with it, it’s the impression that it’s the only thing the people there do. Which sounds unfair because I haven’t met the entire population obviously, and just because that's what I experienced there doesn't mean that's all there is to it, but that’s just my opinion. It’s such a shame, because it is a beautiful city, the parts that date back to pre-1948 and aren’t gentrified or ghettoized or abandoned like ghost towns.”

He nodded thoughtfully.

"Some houses on the Carmel are still empty," I rambled on. "Abandoned. Probably weren't in a good condition for the Israelis to settle in. Their windows are broken, and vegetation has crept in between the stones. It's creepy, sad, a bit voyeuristic. The fact that they're still there I mean."

“People are so pretentious there,” I added, feeling lightheaded now. "So nauseatingly...liberal."
Shut your trap woman. Shut it now.
“They’re not that friendly. You have to be like them, act like them, dress like them to fit in. It’s weird. Their Arabic is peppered with Hebrew words. To me it felt like a slap in the face every time I heard beseder. In Akka it’s a different feeling, you actually feel some semblance of belonging to it. It still feels Palestinian.” And then I muttered, “Sorry.”

“No, it’s ok,” he said. “I have a friend who was like me…came from Lebanon to here, and as soon as he got the British passport he went straight to Yafa, where he’s originally from.”

I stared at him acutely aware of not painting a more positive picture of his hometown before blurting out, “Yafa is so depressing. When I went I was literally crying in the middle of the street.”

“Yeah…he had this rosy image of what he would find there and his expectations were so positive and high. But they all collapsed once he went. He said he felt so out of place, so alienated…to the extent that he actually told me he wish he’d never gone in the first place so he can still have this illusion of return.”

We lapsed into silence.

Some people settle. Others decide to do something and become embroiled in a mental battle of wills, the seesawing of “it’s worth it” to the “there is no point.” Others run away to a different part of the world and drink to forget and to stop dwelling on bygones and current realities so that they could delude themselves into thinking they are finally living, even if it's just for a bit. They turn into cliches, running away from who they are. It's all so tiresome.

"Well I hope you get your chance to go, and I hope you like it," I said apologetically, cringing inwardly. You are a dick, a dick, a massive dickhead I told myself.

"Thank you."

As I glared at the tabletop, shame coursing through me,  he carried on smoking his argeelah, his expression still friendly, maybe even a bit relieved.

Just maybe.

Friday, September 11, 2015


Stereophonics frontman Kelly Jones performing at Mode in London on 10 September 2015 [Alsaafin]

Their latest album "Keep the Village Alive" is out today. 

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

In the city

I’ve taken to walking around listlessly again, listening in on snippets of passing conversations and fighting the dull restlessness and bewilderment that comes with trying to make sense of where my place is in this conundrum that calls itself life. That wasn’t a very original description of life, but writers are beset with clichés despite their commendable and-truth be told- laughable struggle to prove themselves by swimming against the current. That will be discussed later, but for now, I must tentatively sip my black coffee, jiggle my right foot a little, bask in the warm glow of a franchise coffee shop, and record those inane, or completely meaningful snippets of conversation.

“Hey, the train is fucking delayed mate.”
“Thomas moved in the flat, and I fucking hate it.”
“And like, what am I supposed to say to that? He wants to meet my grandma!”
“The driver is shit.” Titter. “Excuse my language.”
“I’ve got this new CD from a band in Prague…can’t understand it but it’s so cool.”

I must admit, the last time I was walking around in public doing this exact same thing was when I knew that I had to leave the country or I would wither up like an old plant and watch helplessly as my brittle leaves crack. It’s quite the ominous sign.

It’s also quite perplexing. Changing countries like changing the prescription on your glasses, every six months or every year because the eyes would get half a degree worse. They kept getting steadily worse but an operation fixed them. What’s the equivalent to that in this case?

Too much whimsical thinking means that the dog will forever be chasing its tail. I’ve simplified it using one diagram I can remember from school, the Venn diagram. One circle is the WHAT DO YOU WANT cauldron and the second one is the WHERE DO YOU WANT TO GO and the intersecting middle part is the answer. So far, I’m having trouble finding it, because I barely have any savings anymore. All thanks must be owed to the ill-conceived and downright delusional idea of leading an independent, illustrious and filling life in a place that takes and takes and takes as you hypnotically give and give and give.

We were sold the dream and now that we're living it, we realize how shit it is. That quote-which we all regarded with awe and considered as a golden nugget of a life truth- emerged from the haze of weed and alcohol, in a rare sober moment in a room full of like-minded, warm-hearted good people. Rare gems.

(And I know what you're thinking
You're sick of that kind of crap
But you'd better listen man
Because the kids know where it's at)*

Most of those people left this country by now. 

A bride stood outside the Anchor Brewhouse just off Horseleydown Lane, and I snapped a photo of her like a true voyeur so I can share that on my Instagram later, as if to say, my my, look at this wonderful city, how many times have you seen a bride in the street before! What an exciting life I must lead, go ahead and judge my exhilarating fun-filled existence in this abnormally fast-paced capital. Wasn’t the mention of the street names just an exceptional touch? Oh how genuine it all must be!

(A flock of cyclists just passed by on the cobbled street, but that’s just not very interesting.)

This city doesn’t stop. Everything works like clockwork, and nothing goes backwards. If you happen to deliberately stop to question, to observe, to record, to evaluate, to think, then you’re off the racetrack and your presence will be disjointed, there but not really there, and there’s no coming back, you can’t throw yourself back in the loop without comprising this little space you’ve created outside the incessant rhythmic marching of this city.

Most conversation snippets occur on the train. I gave up staring at passengers as if by reading their faces I could divulge some interesting aspect of their lives, and previously came to the conclusion that they are all dull boring people. How else would you explain the deliberate miss of eye contact and mouths pressed into hard lines while in such close proximity with other strangers? Cold, fake politeness.

The icebreaker is always a dog. In a rare occurrence, one time most of the people in the train carriage oohed and aahed over a goddamn dog. And just like other observers that do not hail from “first-world countries” I thought, the dogs here lead a more privileged and comfortable life than the people back where I'm from.

The dog sneezed, and I sucked in my breath as an effusion of melting hearts filled the carriage. The dog pranced up and down on strangers’ legs, who bent down to scratch its ears and stroke its head. The dog responded by licking their faces, to which the strangers happily received.
“He’s a pet poodle,” the dog’s owner said, her voice nasally and clipped. “I had to take him to trim his fur, it got so long.”
The dog pranced about near my legs, and I continued reading from my book.
“Oh, he’s a bit disappointed,” the same clipped nasally voice said. “Some people are not interested in him.”

I looked up from my book and gave her a soft, pitying look, but without too much emotion.

These days I am itching for a fight.

I read my books on the train, mostly Arabic ones, in order to ignore thinking about the lives of these people. It's a silly thing to do, making up little fantasies about them. I caught a glimpse of my own face in the black reflection once and saw grief etched there, below the resting bitch look. No one knows the feeling, and for a long time I was angry, furious that I couldn't make everyone feel the gaping hole in my chest, the disorientation, the feeling of helplessness, weakness, and the ever present grief flaming, burning my insides. I still find myself angry.

You need to give yourself some time, someone said. 

Time doesn't heal though. It merely dulls the senses.
The strangers who do strike up a conversation are never from the city. An old darling of a lady managed to find out where I live, where I work, and what I do in less than 30 seconds. Very promising, I snorted inwardly, if I ever got on the end of an interrogation by the authorities. (What kind of stupid thought is that to have?) In return, I found out where she’s trying to get to, her opinion that everyone here is steeped in cold quietness, and that her country and people are a loud bunch and therefore, naturally warmer. Bye-bye darling, she said.

From the setting of the franchise coffee shop, I looked up briefly, and saw a family of four walking past. The balloon attached to one of the boy’s hand pulled free and as the father tried in vain to grab it, our eyes met. I gave him a sympathetic look. He ignored me and berated his son sharply, who shrugged his shoulders sheepishly. The family walked on. I shook my head, ever the sanctimonious idiot, and carried on typing drivel to prolong the inevitable walk back and running away from poised, stoic reflections.

Monday, July 6, 2015

رسالة من عاصمة أوسلو

الى عزيزتي عزيزة

(المقدمة المشروطة لأي رسالة)

أما بعد,
هل  تعلمين أن لغتي العربية الفصحى-سواء بالحديث او الكتابة-تطورت لدرجة أنني قطعت عهد مع نفسي ألا أطعن وأدنس هذه اللغة الجميلة بمحاولتي الركيكة لإستخدامها؟  لذلك-وكل الاحترام لعمنا سيبويه-سوف أكمّل حديثي معك باللغة المكسرة الشبه عامية. ولكن  لعلمك, سأستمر بشراء روايات عربية وقراءتهم على القطار في طريقي الى الشغل وأنا في لندن, لتبقى بصمة جذوري المسخمطة حلق في أذني وربما, اتسلل الى منصب المفكر النخبوي. يا له من طموح غاشم.

أما بعد,
بعد مرور سنتين او ثلاثة من انهيار الانسة أفنان ع. والانسة لينة س. الفاضح في مقهى سنديان, أجد نفسي جالسة على نفس الطاولة التي تزحلقنا من كراسيها الى الأرض نجعر على طول صوتنا ومرارا وتكرارا: واتس ذا بوينت؟ 

كنا نحيب ونقهقه, بما أن شر البلية ما يضحك, وننظر الى بعضنا بعيون مغبشة, نرتجف على حفة الحفرة الجهنمية التي اسمها  الرشد. الشيء الذي يضحك هو لو أننا عرفنا موقعنا وظروفنا الان, كان رحبنا وتمسكنا بتلك اللحظة بكل عنادة. فاليوم نجد أفنان تخلع طواحين في بلاد الفسق والفجور تحت راية ال سعود, تذهب بقهر من سجن الى سجن اخر. اما لينة, بعد ان خلعت مأزق صراع الهوية المبتذل, نجدها قد ادمنت على المحرمات  والأرق في عاصمة اوروبية مليئة بالحيوية وجفاف الدم,  تتعامل مع صدمة الموت المفاجئ واتساع ثقب الفراغ بجحشنة وعزل العالم.

اخ على زمن الخوالي يا عزيزة! اشتقنا لقضايا بسيطة تشغل بالنا..اشتقنا للسذاجة. واشتقنا ايضا الى شعور الهرولات على اكتافنا والصفعات على وجوهنا والمسبات الراقية من  ذخر الوطن, الجهاز الأمني. اشتقنا الى الحج حول دوار المنارة والصفا والمروى في شوارع رام الله ولذة البطولة والتحدي, افنان تهتف "يسقط يسقط حكم العسكر" ولينة تناشد الفدائي يعيد الكرة, يخطف جندي ويحرر أسرى.

اشتقنا لشعور البطولة المذوقة بعدم الإنجاز  في حياتنا. أكبر همنا كان ترك البلد لمدة كافية ونحررها بإرسال إشارات "تليباثيكية" للقطيع, لكي نعود ونركب موجة الإنتصار الوطنية والنسوية. الان نقول: كاف-سين أخت الحياة. نريد فقط المال والمزيد من المال لنفعل ما نريد- الأمر الذي ما زلنا نعاني منه بسبب  جهلنا على ما نريده بالفعل.

رجعت إلى البلد يا عزيزة لفترة قصيرة, في محاولة لترتيب أمور عائلتي, وحرق المزيد من الجسور. أتلهب بزيادة من داخلي من كرهي وشوفة الحال على كل ما له علاقة بالقوقعة التي اعتبرناها مرة ذرة النضال والنشاط. 

ضفت على منظري نظاراة شمسية كبيرة, تغطي نص وجهي-اللي قد التعريفة على رأي إمي المرحومة-ومشيت بالشوارع (اذا احتجت للمشي) دون الإعتراف على احد. إنني اختبئ من الواقع.

في ناس عمرهم ما بتغيروا. بياع الكعك على قرنة دوار المنارة مثلا. (الدوار والقرنة, ما في اشي منطقي.) الشحادين. المحلات. بياع القهوة الضريرالذي يردد-أهوة أهوة! مرة ابن خالتي المعنتر قال لي: هاد الزلمة وسخ بس بديش احكيلك قصته لإنك بنت. كل ما اعرفه أنه كان يشتغل بالإذاعة في غزة, ومحسوب على فتح, وتصاوب أيام معركة الحسم في ٢٠٠٧, ثم أتى إلى عاصمة أوسلو يبيع قهوة.

العمال على نفس حالتهم, وضعهم يتمواجى بين السيئ والأسوأ…النخبوية على نفس وضعهم, المفكرين على نفس وضعم, في نفس المقاهي, يتكلمون بشغف تحت مفعولٍ ما عن الديالكتيك والفساد وحراك الشارع, يقطفون أوراق الوهم لتغطية حياتهم الفارغة. والنشطاء مازالوا يتكتكوا على الكيبورد, في سبيل  الشهرة وكسب اللايكات والمتعة والمهنة المحبوبة عند الجميع, المزاودة. أما النشطاء الذين رأوا النور واستقالوا, فمنهم يتزوجون, او يفرون من البلد, أو يسمعون إلى موسيقى صوفية ويعاتبوا الاخرون على ذوقهم الوقح والمستشرق.

على رأي الشاعر:

لا تسأليني عن مخازي أمتي
ما عدت أعرف-حين أغضب
ما أريد
وإذا السيوف تكسرت أنصالها
فشجاعة الكلمات…لا تفيد!

اقترحتْ علي أختنا الفاضلة ريتا أ.غ صياغة رسالة لأفرّغ كل خراء بطني. ما عادت الكلمات تفيد, والحديث عن أيا كان ممل ومتكرر. لا أفضّل مراجعة أيام الخوالي, لأننا كنا على قد نيتنا الطيبة الساذجة لدرجة المياعة الساحقة. أكتب ما أريد, يوجد هناك غيري يكتبون عن الأمل والإفادة من التجربة وضرورة الخبرة وامتداد النفس الطويل وبركة الشباب وحلاوة الحياة. أعلم ذلك, هم يعيشون في واقع بستطيعون كتابة الهراء بإبتسامة, لكنني أريد أن أكتب بحدية لأفرّغ خراء بطني لأنني أحتاج إلى خروج شيطنة الطاقة المشحونة في رأسي والثقل المعدني في قلبي, حتى لو كانت بطريقة سادية. ربما أتمتع من جرح شعور الناس لأنني قادرة على جرحهم. إمي كانت طيبة ومحبوبة. أريد أن أكون مثلها. ما هو سر تحطيمي؟ الحديث عن إمي في صيغة الماضي. أريد فقط النوم. السعادة تمكث هناك.  أيهما أفضل, السعادة أم الراحة؟ هل السعادة تجر الراحة أم العكس؟ ما الفائدة من كل هذا..

لنبدأ من جديد, من أول الفقرة:  اقترحتْ علي أختنا الفاضلة ريتا أ.غ صياغة رسالة لأفرّغ كل خراء بطني.لا أفضّل مراجعة أيام الخوالي, لأننا كنا على قد نيتنا الطيبة الساذجة لدرجة المياعة الساحقة. هل تعلمي ما هي قمة المياعة يا عزيزة؟ أن نقول أو نشعر بأن كلمة "إسا" تؤدي إلى النشوة. كان بدنا طخ والله.

ما علينا. الحياة عبارة عن تجارب والإستفادة من مواقف سمجة وغلطات فاضحة.  فلتذهب إسا إلى ستين داهية, ولتبقى أراضي ال٤٨ محرومة منا للأبد…فالصراصير في حمامات موقف باصات تل أبيب ماخذين راحتهم هناك أكثر منا,الأمر الذي شاهدته بعيني. وشتم مدينة اليكا ستخرجنا من ملة شرفاء فلسطين الأبية.

تمسكت بنفسي وزرت بيتي. هل هذا معقول؟ من "يزور" بيته؟ أرعب الحارس بفرحته عندما رآني, عيونه مظللة بالحزن. أغلقت الباب ورائي, وسقطت على ركبي, كأن النفس قاطعني, وبكيت بحرارة. لففت يدي حول خصري واشتد البكاء إلى نواح, هذة هي ردة الفعل التي منعتها عن نفسي عندما دخلت البيت قبل ستة أشهر لألقي العزاء بوجهي. اخذت أفتح الخزائن كلها, اطوف بين الغرف حتى تملكني الغيثان. اسندت ظهري على الحائط, أتنفس بصعوبة, أفكر بقلبها الكبير, قلبها المتضخم. ثم غادرت, ونظاراتي الشمسية على وجهي مرة أخرى.

ماذا علي أن أفعله يا عزيزة؟ لا حياة هنا, ولا هناك. علقانين بين حملة متسكتنيش/متحركين/مكملين وحملة كل واحد حر بحاله. لا أعرف ما هي ترجمة ليمبو, والإنترنت نوّري بعدة مصطلحات: نسيان, ردهة, جهنم, لا يقين, موطن إهمال الليمبوس دهليز في جهنم, الخ.

ذهبت مع ح. إلى الحديقة السرية ومارسنا الرياضة واليوغا. جمعنا الصنوبر وحطمنا قشره تحت حجر. ثم جمعنا الحجارة وبدأنا رشق هدف غير معلّم. انفعلنا بزيادة, وأصبحنا نصرخ "الله أكبر" مع كل رمية, صوتنا يعلو وتهيجنا يكثر,نزعق ونرد على بعضنا-تحية لكتائب-عز الدين!. نرمي ونصرخ "قسام!"وننفجر من الضحك, ثم انطويت على َمدة تطل على المدينة, وصفنت وصفنت.

تخيلي لو سمعونا, قالت ح.

قبلها بليلة أو ليلتين, مشينا في الشوارع الخلفية بصمت ثقيل. قعدنا على رصيف الشارع وقالتْ: في اشي غريب مع الناس..بعرفش اذا دايما كانوا زي هيك أو احنا بنلاحظ أشياء عشان فش حدا ممكن يستوعب ايش بنْمُر فيه..في اشي غلط فيهم. صفنا وصفنا, والثقب زاد اتساعا.

أحاول أتجنب رام الله ودكاكينها. زيّنتْ سيارة عرسها من الوردة الحمراء. اشترتْ فستانها الخمري المخمل من هيليوبولس. كانت تشتري الكنادر الشتوية من  هذا المحل, والمعجنات من هناك.  في أشياء-غير الناس- ولا ممكن تتغير. صالون رائدة, قائم منذ التسعينات, منذ طفولتي. المساجد. القبور. 

مددت رأسي فوق ضريحها حتي كاد أنفي يلمس الحجر واسمها المنحوت تحت اسم أمها وهمست: رح أرجعلك ماما, سلام.

هذه هي الخلاصة يا عزيزة.  رح أرجعلها. أو بالفصحى, سوف أعود, وأنهي معركتي.



Monday, April 13, 2015

In Defense of the Word by Eduardo Galeano

One writes out of a need to communicate with others, to denounce that which gives pain and to share that which gives happiness. One writes against one's solitude and against the solitude of others. One assumes that literature transmits knowledge and affects the behavior and language of those who read...One writes, in reality, for the people whose luck or misfortune one identifies with- the hungry, the sleepless, the rebels, and the wretched of this earth- and the majority of them are illiterate.

...How can those of us who want to work for a literature that helps to make audible the voice of the voiceless function in the context of this reality? Can we make ourselves heard in the midst of a deaf-mute culture? The small freedom conceded to writers, is it not at times a proof of our failure? How far can we go? Whom can we reach?

...To awaken consciousness, to reveal identity- can literature claim a better function in these times? these lands?

...Our own fate as Latin American writers is linked to the need for profound social transformations. To narrate is to give oneself: it seems obvious that literature, as an effort to communicate fully, will continue to be long as misery and illiteracy exist, and so long as the possessors of power continue to carry on with impunity their policy of collective imbecilization through...the mass media.

...Great changes, deep structural changes, will be necessary in our countries if we writers are to go beyond...the elites, if we are to express ourselves....In an incarcerated society, free literature can exist only as denunciation and hope.

...We are what we do, especially what we do to change what we are...

In this respect a "revolutionary" literature written for the convinced is just as much an abandonment as is a conservative literature devoted to the...contemplation of one's own navel...

Our effectiveness depends on our capacity to be audacious and astute, clear and appealing. I would hope that we can create a language more fearless and beautiful than that used by conformist writers to greet the twilight.

...In Latin America a literature is taking shape and acquiring strength, a literature...that does not propose to bury our dead, but to immortalize them; that refuses to stir the ashes but rather attempts to light the fire...perhaps it may help to preserve for the generations to come..."the true name of all things.#

-Eduardo Galeano, 1978
from Days and Nights of Love and War (1983)

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Top 15 quotes of Ayman Odeh, the quintessential Israeli Arab

Defenders of Zion/ Photo Credit Rami Shlush, Haaretz

Last year I was invited to give a talk at Leeds University on Israeli apartheid and colonialism. In the subsequent Q & A session, one student asked me my opinion on Palestinian citizens of Israel voting in Israel elections.

I folded my hands, fixed a neutral smile on my face, tilted my head somewhat apologetically and answered, “I can’t answer the question because I am not a Palestinian living in Israel, so I can’t impose my views when I don’t face the struggle that they do in their daily lives.”

What a crock of bullshit. Afterwards, I told the same student my real opinion and garbled something about normalization, accepting the colonial master’s tool, and turning the whole cause into a matter of equal civil rights as opposed to an anti-colonial struggle for liberation, justice and self-determination.

The past two weeks I have inundated myself with dozens of articles in English and Arabic on the messiah-like role of the Joint List, why more Palestinians in Israel are voting this time, how boycott was the moral thing to do, how boycott is the outdated counterproductive thing to do, how the three Arab parties have skillfully rallied under one banner, how the three Arab parties are destined to break up once they secure their seats in the Israeli parliament, or Knesset because they loath each other, and so on. Communists hate the nationalists, nationalists and communists hate the Islamists, Islamists hate the communists, etc. How is Aida Touma, a communist member of Hadash and self-professed feminists, in a coalition with Talib Abu Arar, a member of the Islamists who is married to two wives?

It’s all a masquerading stupor, waving the flag of fake unity to get into the Knesset where no Palestinian Arab leader or party has ever made a positive difference to the lives of Palestinians in Israel. Haneen Zoabi serves as a reminder of how racist the Knesset is, with her perfect Hebrew “defending terrorists” and calling out her fellow MKs as fascists, but how is that an achievement? Ahmad Tibi the clown uses the podium to recite funny little poems in better Hebrew than his Israeli counterparts, but how does that alleviate the poverty that half of Israel’s Palestinian citizens live in?

Every Palestinian voting in the Israeli elections, not to be all melodramatic and sensationalist, has forgotten the roots of t
I won’t go into why I don’t support Palestinian participation in Israeli elections, “for the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house” as Audre Lorde said. The point is that, even though the term “Arab Israelis” is an abhorrent one, unfortunately, it exists. It resoundingly exists. Those who see their life’s journey as one fighting for an equal Israeli state for all of its citizens, who speak like true Israeli leftists- those are not the Jewish Israelis, no. The Israeli left is the Arab Israeli, the one who calls for an end to the occupation of the 1967 borders, the one who opposes the construction of settlements in order to divert that money to improve the socioeconomic conditions of Israelis, the one who believes in the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside an Israeli one, the one who’s ego in so inflated he compares himself time and time again to Martin Luther King and the struggle for civil rights.

Israel has succeeded. Israel has divided and conquered us with such aplomb, such ingenuity, such simplicity. There is no one united Palestinian people. We are separate entities, in non-contiguous geographical spaces, with a different set of laws that govern our reality. Gaza, West Bank, Jerusalem 1948 territories, refugee camps, diaspora. The best hope we have is to for each of the Palestinians in their separate areas, those who still care about romantic conceptions of liberation and justice and an end to colonization, fight until they secure those goals, and then we can form a confederate of Palestine. COP. A confederate of the republic of Palestine. CORP. Hamas will liberate Gaza, the poor sods in ’48 will get rid of house Palestinians and Zionists, a natural disaster will wipe out the West Bank for good, a Kurdish fighter will lead an army to liberate Jerusalem, an army of children will announce autonomy for the refugee camps in neighboring countries, and so on.

Anyway, this was all a rambling prelude to the top 15 quotes of the model Israeli Arab, Ayman Odeh-the head of the Joint List, a member of Hadash, a lawyer, and if he were younger, he’d be a Haifster. As it is, he’s a 40 year old father of three who “has a dream.” Sit back and enjoy these gems.

1)   My ideological transformation was part of my political maturation, choosing to become part of the greater whole.

You assimilated to Zionism, a racist supremacist ideology premised on the massacres and ethnic cleansing of an indigenous population.

2)   I tell you, I want two nations here by choice. I want two cultures here. It adds something important for me. We are all richer because there are two nations and two cultures here. Let’s focus on the positive things that unite us and not what separates us.

Positive things: we both enjoy drinking Tubi. Negative things: um..Zionism

3)   Instead of wasting money in the occupied territories, money should be spent here in Israel for the good of all of us- for education, for health and for social programs.

Bravo! The model Israeli lefty has struck again!

4)   Abu Mazen is a pragmatic person, a peace loving person, in everyone’s opinion-other than the opinion of the Israeli government.

Seriously beginning to question if Odeh is a closeted drug addict. Hallucinogen pills anyone?

5)   We need to extend bridges to the Jewish community. Martin Luther King fought for blacks, and democratic whites where with him.

Except, in a twisted diseased society like Israel’s, where racism is institutionalized and drilled into their children, there are no democratic Israelis. They’re raving mad Ayman! On second thought, your idea of democracy is shit so maybe you do make sense here.

6)   We will be an alternative camp, the democratic camp-where Arabs and Jews are equal partners, not enemies.

Can we equate all Jews with the ones in Israel? Is it so hard for Odeh to say “where Arabs and Zionists are equal partners, not enemies”? He won’t even notice it’s a conundrum!

7)   It would be correct to say that the Arab citizens of Israel are among the pioneers of civil resistance in the world.

Cough, splutter, snicker. Pray, do tell us more about the amazing civil resistance Arab Israelis engaged in- I must have been living under a rock all these years!

8)   We intend to march on Jerusalem, echoing the civil rights march in Washington led by Martin Luther King more than 50 years ago to demand justice and democracy.

Here it is folks, he’s dropped the big bombshell.

9)   From Nazareth to Jerusalem, like Martin Luther King on 28 August 1963, I have a dream. We want the participation of tens of thousands of Arabs and Jews, because they’re clever.

Not sure I understand the “clever” part, but at this point I can no longer bring myself to care.

10)    We recall that to this day, any Israeli withdrawal from an inch of Palestinian land has occurred through the political weight of the Arabs in Israel.

More hallucinatory talk. The last time Israel withdrawed from Palestinian land was Israel, which it then promptly blockaded for good two years later. And before that, more Jewish settlers colonized more Palestinian land in the West Bank. Great story.

11)    An Arab who works and pays taxes is good for everyone.

Jeez, so much for the pioneering civil resistance part.

12)    Just as Jews in the US joined Martin Luther King, I’m sure hundreds of thousands of Jews will join the struggle for civil equality in Israel.

Gotta love his conviction, bless his soul. Remember when hundreds of thousands of Jews (Jews again, not Zionists according to this fella) marched in protest of the high prices of cottage cheese? And when an Israeli Arab tent was set up, it got attacked with bags of feces? Good times!

13)    I want Jews in the national symbols, but want to see my face there as well.

My ego brings all the boys to the yard, damn right it’s better than yaaars

14)   We want to create a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders alongside the state of Israel.

Huzzah! The two state solution lives on in the delusional minds of shit-talking politicians!

15)   I believe that the Jewish people have a right to self-determination, which the state of Israel has fulfilled.

And that, dear every Palestinian refugee, that was the sound of a huge phlegm-heavy spit landing right at the centre of your faces. Kkkkkhhh-tfoooo!

Oh ye droves of Arabs, descend upon the polling stations like model citizens, thinking that this is your way to stick two fingers up at the Israeli right-wing. I mean, Herzog promised to invite you all to his house and treat you like his equal, no? Oh wait, he’s also a right-winger dressed in the Israeli costume of a leftist politician.

Those Israeli Arabs are not my people, they do not represent an iota of what I stand for nor do I belong to them. If anyone asks, I’ll be watching the Nahal Oz video on repeat for the rest of the day.