Palestinian politician to address public meeting

The first Palestinian woman to represent a Palestinian party in the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, will speak at a public meeting in Cork tomorrow night.

Haneen Zoabi, 43, an outspoken critic of Zionism and the concept of Israel as a Jewish state, will give an insider’s view on Israel, touching on themes such as democracy, racism, and apartheid.

Ms Zoabi, who was born in Nazareth and who is described as a Palestinian citizen of Israel, was elected in 2009 after she stood for election to the Balad party.

She shot to prominence in May 2010 after the attack on the Freedom Flotilla to Gaza.

Ms Zoabi — who was on board the Mavi Marmara when it was stormed by Israeli commandos — condemned the raid as “a pirate military operation”.

It led to her being called a traitor by her fellow parliamentarians.

She received death threats, and Israeli interior minister Eli Yishai demanded that her parliamentary immunity and Israeli citizenship be revoked.

The Knesset subsequently removed a number of her parliamentary privileges, including the right to take part in discussions.

Despite the punishment she remains undaunted. “I was not elected to keep silent or to sit at the table and clap,” she said.

She campaigns for equal citizenship for all and believes the Israeli state ideology of Zionism is racist and points to more than 30 Israeli laws that legally discriminate against Palestinian citizens of Israel.

* Ms Zoabi will speak at the Metropole Hotel, MacCurtain St, at 8pm as part of a national tour organised by the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

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