Haneen Zoabi and Jamal Zahalka.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
A speech by Joint List MK Jamal Zahalke given during the debate on the gas deal in the Knesset plenum, in which he accused Labor Zionism of racism, went viral on Monday.
Zahalke's ire was especially piqued by MK Stav Shaffir (Zionist Union), who sent a letter to Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein demanding that he investigate if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised the Joint List funds for Arab municipalities in exchange for its MKs skipping the gas deal. The Joint List was also angry at Zionist Union for voting in favor of the anti-terrorism law, among other legislation the Joint List perceived as anti-Arab.
"Miss Social Justice Stav Shaffir has never said a word to me. She's never even said hello to me! I am transparent to her. Arabs do not exist! Racist! Racist of silence! Racism of ignoring; I will tell you what that is! Ignoring the existence of a person! Since you are in the Knesset you have never spoken to me! You don't say hello to me! I try and you don't say hello back! Racist!" Zahalke said.
"What a lie," Shaffir shouted back at him.
Zahalke continued, calling the Labor Party, which makes up most of the Zionist Union, the "mother and father of racism."
"You invented racism," he said. "The people who took our land, who expelled us, weren't the ones who chant 'death to Arabs.' They're the ones who said 'we're bringing peace to you.' Shame! You should be embarrassed by the racism and discrimination!...You are condescending, wealthy, comfortable Ashkenazim! Give us back the land you took from us...in the name of universal values!"
"Who harmed us more, the Likud or Labor? Labor, of course. Likud built settlements next to Arab residents. You built your kibbutzes and your socialism on the ruins of our towns. Your faces are ug-ly, ug-ly, ug-ly," Zahalke stated.
"And you said we're left-wing," Deputy Knesset Speaker Yoel Hasson (Zionist Union) quipped to Science and Technology Minister Ofir Akunis.
Several hours later, Shaffir wrote on twitter: "Hello everyone! Just making sure you saw."