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Video: Israel’s celebrated Labour Party ‘is the mother and father of racism’, says member of Knesset


An incredible video and speech by Jamal Zahalka, a member of the Israeli Knesset, in which he blames Stav Shaffir and her tradition of Labour Zionism for doing far more to hurt Palestinians than the later Likudniks.

“The party that expelled us from our homeland, which disenfranchised us, far more than the right wing, which had murdered tens of thousands of Palestinians. And they come here preaching to us. The social justice woman [Shaffir] outdid them all.

Shaffir had never spoken a word to me. She doesn’t even say hello. I am transparent to her.

The extreme right at least acts like human beings. They smile, they say hello to you.

Even Yisrael Beteinu smiles at us. But the Labour Party is the mother and father of racism. You have invented racism.

Who harmed us more? The Likud or the Labor party?
The Labor of course!
The Likud had built settlements beside Arab villages, while you have built your Kibbutzim, your socialism, on top of the ruins on our lands.
Then you come here and speak in the name of social justice, in the name of the left, while rolling your eyes.”

“She did half a demonstration on social justice and would now like to preach us morality! Shame on you!”

MK Jamal Zahalka on libZionism and its Supremacist Foundation from ronnie on Vimeo.

Thanks to Ofer Neiman and Ronnie Barkan.

This speech, and Zahalka’s body count, requires a response from J Street, which hosts Stav Shaffir like she’s a rock star, and from Assaf Sharon, who in the current issue of The New York Review of Books, explains that the Likudniks are heirs of the Jewish terrorists of the last century and that if they could only be pushed out, Zionism and Israel would be fine, because terrorism doesn’t work. The piece elides the violence of Labor Zionism, the state terrorism that Zahalka describes above: tens of thousands killed. Assaf (you and I visited the settlements together once), what do you say to this analysis?

P.S. Our media will be hopeless until it includes these Palestinian voices. And asks these citizens: How many of you believe in Zionism? And if you don’t believe in it, why not reconstitute the society?

Phil Weiss and Annie Robbins

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Annie Robbins is Editor at Large for Mondoweiss

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47 Responses

  1. Xpat on September 12, 2015, 3:21 pm

    Gideon Levy linked to this video in his latest piece. Amazing. It’s not just Zahalka’s courage in directly challenging the crushing force of the Israeli state but his self-control. How do you maintain your composure in such a hostile environment backed up by the force of the state. I wonder how the Israeli pols will retaliate? Shaffir’s sneers were not quite so charming as her J St glamor shot.
    Let’s give this as much publicity as possible. Ari Shavit, Labor and J St will all look like quite silly once we hear the authentic voices of Palestinians over here.

    • ritzl on September 12, 2015, 4:29 pm

      Well said Elliot. +100!

      Re Jamal Zahalka’s courage and poise/discipline: Just another example of why the Joint List is going to help lead, if not actually lead, Israel through its transition to one state.

      You undoubtedly have more insight into this, but I get the feeling that the Joint List pols have and exhibit the kind of courage and inclusiveness that is wholly lacking in the Jewish-Israeli “left.” To the extent that there is some part of the Jewish-Israeli electorate that still values that, the JL may attract more solution-oriented Jewish support, hungry for political difference, meaning, and maybe even hope.

      • Xpat on September 12, 2015, 4:37 pm

        The Joint List is Israel’s only democratic party. Even the most secular Israeli Jews prefer to share power with the settler Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox they despise rather than give any power to people who have the same democratic, egalitarian people as them, folk who watch the same American TV and movies and have the same aspirations. There is no getting over their Arabness. “Jewish” always trumps “democratic.” I voted for the Joint List in the last elections. A family dinner almost fell apart when I objected to the casual nastiness directed at MK Zoabi and declared my support for her party.

      • lysias on September 12, 2015, 6:21 pm

        Fine article about how horrible life is for Palestinians, including those who are Israeli citizens, under Israeli rule in last week’s New Yorker by Ruth Margalit: An Exile in the Corn Belt: Israel’s funniest Palestinian writer decamps to the Midwest.

      • ritzl on September 12, 2015, 8:50 pm

        Sorry if I missed it if you expressed your choice before, but kudos for voting JL, Elliot.

        You should write an article about your dinner.

        I believe I understand the huge obstacles that would prevent that, but it would be tremendously insightful given the remarkable context of you, the narrator, being one of few Jewish-Israelis who actually did the deed (voted away from politics as usual in Israel).

        So much is written by people who say such and such “needs to” happen to change things in Israel, yet vote for Meretz or, ugh, Labor anyway. Little is written describing, if not celebrating, the positive model of the why and how, and obstacles to voting for change (or as you say, democracy) in Israel.

        Maybe it’s out there. Don’t know, but fronting your path might help others make your choice.

      • Xpat on September 12, 2015, 9:31 pm

        Thanks, Ritzl for both of your comments. The JL’s power is in being a unified force. That drives Israelis (and Zionists over here) crazy. Remember how the mainstream Jewish community went beserk over the Kairos statement of Palestinian Christian unity. When “divide and rule” fails, they are left with no more manipulations in their bag of tricks.
        Unfortunately, the number of Jewish voters for the JL was miniscule. The party still is beyond the pale in Jewish circles just like it was before. The Arab is still the same Arab.
        Over here in the States, the people I meet have never even heard of the JL. J St is still a radical novelty for them.

    • JWalters on September 16, 2015, 7:49 pm

      Zionists all seem to be Nakba deniers. How could it be otherwise for anyone with any aspirations to morality and justice?

      • Sibiriak on September 17, 2015, 2:09 am

        JWalters: Zionists all seem to be Nakba deniers. How could it be otherwise for anyone with any aspirations to morality and justice?

        Some are rationalizers and downplayers, not full-fledged deniers. E.g. Benny Morris. As time passes and the events recede into History , more Zionists will join that current.

  2. ritzl on September 12, 2015, 4:10 pm

    [Joint List MK] Jamal Zahalka: “Shaffir had never spoken a word to me. She doesn’t even say hello. I am transparent to her.”

    J Street and AIPAC are simply variations on the same ugly, violent theme?


    I hope ruminations on the demise of AIPAC and the ascendancy of J Street reflect that. J Street is not a change agent. It’s a mechanism for prolonging Palestinian suffering (by diluting and deflecting calls for direct justice and/or maintaining that modest change can only happen in ways and in such time that Jewish-Israelis and other Zionists are not made uncomfortable; i.e. staunch champions of the hyper-elusive “immaculate solution”). Their political acceptance, and therefore ascendancy, is based on that one characteristic – innocuous chatter/advocacy in support of things that everyone knows are never going to happen.

    Any mark of progress should be, must be, made on the anti-/non-Zionist side of J Street.

    This article, with its Palestinian voice, points that out very clearly. Great catch. Thank you.

    Meanwhile in Jerusalem (not in any of J Street’s libzio definitions of “occupation”), Palestinians are routinely being beaten:

  3. yourstruly on September 12, 2015, 6:51 pm

    Israel is a settler colonial entity

    without exception settler colonial entities are racist

    therefore all of its institutions are racist

    the labor party is an Israeli institution

    no surprise that it is & has always been racist

    • Stephen Shenfield on September 15, 2015, 7:07 pm

      For historical background on how the Israeli Labor Party became what it is, see Professor Ze’ev Sternhell’s classical study “The Founding Myths of Israel: Nationalism, Socialism, and the Making of the Jewish State.” He shows how Ben Gurion shaped the party to ensure that nationalism would always have priority over “socialism.” In fact, the “socialism” was in the service of the nationalism. Under the conditions then prevailing the Zionist proto-state (the Yishuv) could only cohere on a collectivist basis. It was from the start an exclusively Jewish collective.

  4. K Renner on September 12, 2015, 7:03 pm

    I remember talking to one Palestinian I met once who said something to the extent of “at least the (Israeli Jewish) right is honest” in that they’re very upfront in what they believe about the Palestinians and what they’d like to do regarding the occupied Palestinian West Bank and the “settler” annexation project.

    The left and “diaspora” Liberal Zionists are always a lot easier to talk to, if you can get past the weepy-eyed “why can’t we just all get along” shit, but it’s been said before and it’ll be said again that they think the problem begins and ends with the illegal occupation and the annexation project, as well as Gaza.

    Which are, in the context of Israel-Palestine, the most pressing current issues, but it’s not as though (as it’s been said) there was nothing wrong and everything was fine before 1967.

    The main issue here is that we cannot go back in time. We can, and should, recognize that Jews only ever bought and were entitled to maybe some 6% of the overall land. We can, and should recognize that Palestinians had zero obligation to “share” massive tracts of land with people who had no intention of sharing with the Palestinians, who wanted a “Jewish state for Jews only” based off of the ideas of Zionism. We can and should urge Palestinians to always remember as much. To not forget, to keep bringing up that fact even if it’s all they can do as individuals.

    • Mooser on September 12, 2015, 9:16 pm

      “The main issue here is that we cannot go back in time.”

      Renner, the other day, about two weeks ago, a woman made a misjudgement getting out of her parking space and scraped my car. We can never go back in time, to the days before my car got a little scratched. But guess what, we didn’t need to, her insurance company got an estimate of the damage and paid for the repair and all costs associated with the accident.

      Couldn’t we at least ask the Zionists to do the same?

      • K Renner on September 13, 2015, 2:59 pm

        “Couldn’t we at least ask the Zionists to do the same?”

        We can ask. I think they’re obligated to fully overcompensate the Palestinian diaspora and at the least allow for a partial right of return.

        Of course, as we know, they’re not going to do this if they can help it. That means that we have to lean on them harder, and eventually the most influential in the international community will do as much to put this stupid, shitty conflict– perpetuated and inflamed by Israel– to bed.

        All I’m saying is that you’re not going to get them to cede to a one state solution in the fairest sense of the term for Palestinians also. An economically viable, continuous Palestinian state on at least 22% of the land with a robust self-defence capability is also something the Israelis don’t want, but it’s something that’s a lot more immediately reachable through increasing pressure and people getting sick and tired of Israeli waffling and BS.

      • Mooser on September 13, 2015, 7:13 pm

        “We can ask. I think they’re obligated to fully overcompensate the Palestinian diaspora”

        Yes. Do you think they (Israel) can afford it?

    • RoHa on September 12, 2015, 10:52 pm

      “based off of the ideas of Zionism.”

      Hardly. It’s pretty obvious that the”Jews only” state was directly based on the ideas of Zionism.

      • K Renner on September 13, 2015, 3:29 am

        Minor variation when it comes to phrasing. That’s basically what I was getting at.

      • RoHa on September 13, 2015, 8:40 pm

        So “off” means “on”?

        Poor Geoffrey!

      • echinococcus on September 14, 2015, 1:05 am

        Perfesser, don’t be a schoolmarm.

      • Mooser on September 14, 2015, 1:01 pm

        “Perfesser, don’t be a schoolmarm.”

        Huh? Why not? Everybody can’t do Barbara, or the Supremes or Judy Garland.

      • RoHa on September 14, 2015, 7:22 pm

        Why not, indeed?

        A schoolmarm’s job is to make sure you get everything right. How can that be a bad thing? The world would be a better place if there were more schoolmarms checking everyone’s work.

        Especially schoolmarms like Ms. Hardman.

        And, Mooser, since some people can do Judy Garland, etc., I suspect you meant “Not everyone can do Barbara, or the Supremes, or Judy Garland”.

        In order to avoid ambiguity, remember that the rule is that the negative precedes that which is to be negated.

      • echinococcus on September 14, 2015, 8:12 pm

        Don’t take it personally; “schoolmarm” is a quasi-technical term in linguistics for prescriptivists, also known as Canute Commanding the Tide to Hold Back. Nothing wrong with it, of course, as wrongs go.

      • Mooser on September 14, 2015, 8:22 pm

        “In order to avoid ambiguity, remember that the rule is that the negative precedes that which is to be negated.”

        Thank you, Mr. Parkhill, a hundred, no, a thousand times I thank you. I see now, these are good rules, sensible rules, but can you tell me why I was bumping into a lady in the street this morning and she says “A big department” to me?

  5. Kay24 on September 12, 2015, 7:10 pm

    There is no doubt that Israel is one of the most racist nations in the world. Despite calling themselves “democratic” their policies are apartheid, treats black Jews differently, treats Arabs like second class citizens, and the Jewish terrorists show nothing but hatred for Arabs by attacking, firebombing, spraying racist graffiti, burning Mosques and Churches, and basically behaving superior to everyone else. Eerily similar to those who once acted evil towards them.

  6. a blah chick on September 12, 2015, 7:43 pm

    As they used to say in my youth Zahalka told it like it T-I Tis!

    This is how clueless Shaffir is. A year or two ago she was on a panel with several others, which included Zoabi, and made the statement that it was not as if her people had taken Palestinian land and thrown them out of the country. To which Zoabi replied that that was exactly what her people had done. I mean she makes this statement in the presence of a Palestinain woman, it shows how completely ignorant people like Shaffir are about Israel’s deeds.

    In my alternative universe it is PM Corbyn welcoming Israeli PM Odeh on a state visit. *sigh*

    • ritzl on September 12, 2015, 8:55 pm

      “In my alternative universe it is PM Corbyn welcoming Israeli PM Odeh on a state visit. *sigh*”

      That may not be all that farfetched, abc. It just might not.

      • JLewisDickerson on September 14, 2015, 6:47 pm

        P.S. ALSO SEE: “Where Is Our Jeremy Corbyn?” / By Chris Hedges / Sep 13, 2015

        [EXCERPT] The politics of Jeremy Corbyn, elected by a landslide Saturday to lead Britain’s Labour Party after its defeat at the polls last May, are part of the global revolt against corporate tyranny. He had spent his long career as a pariah within his country’s political establishment. But because he held fast to the socialist ideals that defined the old Labour Party, he has risen untarnished out of the ash heap of neoliberalism. His integrity, as well as his fearlessness, offers a lesson to America’s self-identified left, which is long on rhetoric, preoccupied with accommodating the power elites—especially those in the Democratic Party—and very short on courage.

        I will not support a politician who sells out the Palestinians and panders to the Israel lobby any more than I will support a politician who refuses to confront the bloated military and arms industry or white supremacy and racial injustice. The Palestinian issue is not a tangential issue. It is an integral part of Americans’ efforts to dismantle our war machine, the neoliberal policies that see austerity and violence as the primary language for speaking to the rest of the world, and the corroding influence of money in the U.S. political system. Stand up to the masters of war and the Israel lobby and you will probably stand up to every other corporate and neoliberal force that is cannibalizing the United States. This is what leadership is about. It is about having a vision. And it is about fighting for that vision. . .

        SOURCE –

      • JLewisDickerson on September 14, 2015, 7:13 pm

        P.P.S. Corbyn became a vegetarian at the age of 20 after working on a pig farm . . . His favorite novelist is the late Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe, who wrote “Things Fall Apart,” an exploration of the destructive force of colonialism.


      • JLewisDickerson on September 14, 2015, 11:47 pm

        P.P.P.S. TARIQ ALI:

        . . . Unlike the Blair cabinet, Corbyn is not interested in power for its own sake or to amass personal wealth. After all they happily supported austerity and Cameron is no different from Blair. We shall see. But whatever happens it will no longer be possible for the self-censoring BBC to keep the views espoused by the new Labour leader off the screen. The living dead have been vanquished, if temporarily. English politics has come to life again.

        SOURCE –

      • JLewisDickerson on September 15, 2015, 12:10 am

        The Red Flag – Billy Bragg

  7. Donald on September 13, 2015, 1:57 pm

    I’m a little behind– I’ll have to google to find out who this Shaffir person is and what she has said.

    I just read the New York Review piece at the library yesterday and yeah, it was as you said, an attempt at putting all the blame on the Zionist right. Ben Gurion was portrayed as this moderate opposed to terrorism. He seemed okay with the Nakba., but that went unmentioned. This is like modern day liberals who condemn individual acts of terror like the burning of the Palestinian baby, but supported the slaughter in Gaza last year.

    • Donald on September 13, 2015, 2:04 pm

      Okay, I just read her Wikipedia bio. She’ s a poster child for being progressive except for Palestinians. A very long article and they never come up once. If the article is reflective of her life, I could easily see her looking right through a Palestinian colleague.

      • K Renner on September 13, 2015, 3:04 pm

        Palestine isn’t a “progressive” issue as it is– it’s a common sense issue.

        I’m hardly “progressive” when it comes to gender and sexual identity politics– far from it, actually– and I’m extremely pro-Palestine.

        People can’t expect “progressives”, especially social progressives to magically be tuned to the right ideas or on the side of right in every issue just because they’re “progressives”.

        These are the people who think that “gay pride” parades are what characterizes the worth of a society, remember. At least at the extreme end of the scale of “progressivism”.

  8. MHughes976 on September 13, 2015, 5:31 pm

    It’s a basic matter of right and wrong. I don’t ask for support for Palestine as a means to a more general reformation of society but because fundamental oppression is happening there and being applauded and sanctified within the culture to which I belong. Perhaps I am a POP – RoHa’s coinage, I think – progressive only on Palestine. Please don”t make it POOP.

  9. jon s on September 16, 2015, 4:45 pm

    My one encounter with Stav Shaffir was last summer, at the Haaretz-sponsored conference in Tel Aviv, when she mistakenly walked into the men’s bathroom.

    • Mooser on September 16, 2015, 5:38 pm

      “My one encounter with Stav Shaffir was last summer, at the Haaretz-sponsored conference in Tel Aviv, when she mistakenly walked into the men’s bathroom.”

      “Jon s” that’s a stale, sexist joke you’re setting up, and it wasn’t funny the first time, either. Drop it.

  10. jon s on September 16, 2015, 4:52 pm

    And now grieving for Meir Pa’il, a remarkable man and leader of the Israeli Left:

    Meir’ke, rest in peace.

    • echinococcus on September 16, 2015, 5:09 pm

      Where the heck do you think you are writing, John S? The Zionist Clarion Obit Page for Zionist murderers and sundry war criminals?
      One less.
      [RoHa: fewer]

      • Mooser on September 16, 2015, 5:36 pm

        “Where the heck do you think you are writing, John S? The Zionist Clarion Obit Page for Zionist murderers and sundry war criminals?”

        “echin” this is his ‘histrionic homeland’! “Jon s” is entitled to settle, and feels “at home”, anywhere in greater Mondoweiss.

  11. hophmi on September 17, 2015, 11:20 am

    LOL. The only difference between Israel and the other countries in the Middle East is that if Zahalka ranted and raved like this from a Parliament podium elsewhere in the Middle East, he’d be arrested or killed.

    • jon s on September 17, 2015, 4:35 pm

      Meir Pa’il was a rare combination of military man,intellectual and political leader. He’s sorely missed.

      • Mooser on September 17, 2015, 5:00 pm

        “Meir Pa’il was a rare combination of military man,intellectual and political leader. He’s sorely missed.”

        I think “Jon s” is trying to set up another joke. I wonder what the punchline is.

        Oh wait, I just got it. He was a “leader of the Israeli left”! That is funny. Sick, but funny.

      • Mooser on September 17, 2015, 6:01 pm

        “He was elected to the Knesset in the 1973 elections on the Moked list, and was the party’s only representative in the Knesset. The party merged with several others to form the Left Camp of Israel prior to the 1977 elections. The new party won two seats, which were rotated between five party members including Pa’il. However, they failed to win any seats in the 1981 elections and Pa’il did not reappear in the Knesset. He died on September 15, 2015 due to complications of Alzheimer’s disease.[1]

  12. Chaos4700 on September 17, 2015, 6:33 pm

    Regarding jon s. and hophmi’s comments…

    So. I guess Jamal Zahalka has been empirically proven correct. He and the rest of his people, and their plight, are quite literally COMPLETELY transparent to the Israeli “left.” They don’t see it, they don’t care.

    Yeah, *that* I couldn’t let pass without comment. Okay, back to my self-imposed hiatus from commenting here.

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