(JTA) — An Arab-Israeli lawmaker equated Israel’s actions against the Palestinians to the violence against Jews that led to the Holocaust in a speech commemorating Kristallnacht in Amsterdam.
“Kristallnacht didn’t suddenly fall from the sky, come out of nowhere, it was the result of a development over time,” Hanin Zoabi of the Joint Arab List said Sunday afternoon. “We can see a similar development happening in Israel over the last several years.”
Kristallnacht, the “Night of Broken Glass,” was a pogrom over the night of Nov. 9-10, 1938 against Austrian and German Jews. Many Holocaust historians view Kristallnacht as the opening shot in the Nazi-led campaign against the Jews.
“I am honored to speak on behalf of the victims of Kristallnacht, and on behalf of all victims of racism and oppression,” Zoabi said.
Zoabi’s appearance was organized by Platform Stop Racism and Exclusion, a far-left group that is shunned by local Jews for its members’ perceived animosity toward Israel and sympathy for Hamas. About 200 people attended the event.
“During Kristallnacht, thousands of businesses and hundreds of synagogues were ruined and burned down by German brown shirts. Perhaps the majority of Germans did not approve, but they kept quiet,” she said.
“When in Israel two churches and tens of mosques are burned; and hundreds of Israeli supporters of Beitar shout ‘death to the Arabs’ after each soccer match; when a family is burned to death; when a 15-year-old boy is burned to death, the majority keeps quiet, although they are perhaps shocked,” Zoabi continued.
“Most Israelis today believe that the Jewish Zionist values are more important than democracy,” she said. “It is easy to notice the gradual moral descent that reminds us of Germany during the 1930s.”
Later, Zoabi said, “Eighty-five percent of my people were expelled, in an ethnic cleansing and colonialist plan.”
“I identify with the victims. We must not keep silent, otherwise we will be responsible,” she said. The audience applauded.
The lawmaker called for a Palestinian popular struggle, and urged the international community to join it.
“We call for a popular struggle, yes, we call for a struggle with them. International law. And it is not a call for violence, but a call for freedom,” she said.
Zoabi was also heckled from the audience. “Stop stabbing Jews,” one audience member shouted. “Am Yisrael Chai,” was also heard. Her microphone was cut off for several seconds during her speech.
Last year, Zoabi was censured by the Knesset over statements she made encouraging Palestinian “popular resistance” and saying that the kidnappers of three Israeli teens were not terrorists. She also participated in the 2010 flotilla sail to Gaza organized by the Islamic IHH group in Turkey.