Correcting a misleading English translation of a brave Haaretz Editorial on the challenge now posed by the Joint List MKs to “the Jewish politicians who dream of […] stopping Israel’s slide down the nationalist-religionalist slope”

Today’s courageous & insightful Hebrew editorial in Haaretz is not about background, but about the future.

The thrust of this editorial has (IMHO) been watered down (to say the least), a few (one especially, see if you find it) of its statements have been misleadingly mistranslated, & a few somewhat awkwardly translated.
To offer a more accurate translation I’ve therefore made a few changes to Haaretz’s English translation (using strikethroughs for my deletions from that translation, & bold for my changes/contributions to it).

The first misleading moment is in the title.





The decision by the Joint List MKs not to attend former President Shimon Peres’ funeral stated has established a very highly significant political fact. The leadership of the Arab public rebelled against the narrative of the Zionist majority, which ignores the history and feelings of the minority, and demonstrated dual political independence – vis-à-vis the official Israeli establishment, represented by that Peres represented, and and vis-à-vis Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who came to the funeral.

Joint List chairman MK Ayman Odeh appeared on the establishment TV Channel 2, our “tribal campfire,” and faced barbs of criticism from the interviewers when he presented an opposing narrative – the memory of the Nakba, the massacre of Kafr Qasem,Qassem, and the Arabs killed during the events of October 2000, commemorated in ceremonies in the Galilee and Wadi Ara. Never has a political figure from the majority Jewish community attended these events and they are not covered on prime-time television.


Ayman Odeh MK (Hadash), leader of the Joint List

The boycott of the funeral thus achieved its goal: placing the opposing narrative of the Arab minority at the center of media and public center stage attention, backed by the power of the third-largest faction in the Knesset. The excoriations condemnations of Odeh and his fellow faction members for their impoliteness protest will neither disappear efface nor blunt their principled blur the fundamental demand that they presented: that the Jewish majority recognize, recognition by the Jewish majority of the suffering and the mourning of the Arab public as a necessary condition for the building of a shared identity and for political cooperation in the future.

The Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu offers to Israel’s Arab citizens more funding, promises of employment integration into the employment market and promotions of advancement in the civil service, in exchange for silence sealing their mouths and forgetting obliterating their narrative. The prime minister often says the Nakba is a lie, that 90 percent per cent of the stories about it are not true and that people who make the events public cause whoever has published its history has caused damage to the State of Israel. No wonder his government insists on hiding the archive files that would expose some of the events of 1948 from primary sources.

Any additional funding and action to close gaps between Jews and Arabs is welcome and important. But they will not buy the silence of the Arab community nor inspire the singing of the national anthem “Hatikva” in the streets of Nazareth, Sakhnin and Umm al-Fahm. Only recognition of a parallel Israeli story, at the heart of which are immoral acts by the majority toward the minority, can be the basis for shared citizenship and true integration. Jewish history teaches us that peoples do not easily give up their narrative, even in the face of temptations and persecutions.

This is the challenge that has now been set before the Jewish politicians who dream of replacing the right-wing government and stopping Israel’s slide down the binational nationalist-religionalist slope. Their goal will not be achieved without the cooperation of with the Joint List and its voters. Instead of automatically taking a knee-jerk stand with Netanyahu and the extreme right, and chiding the Arabs for not being nice, they must find a way ways to win hearts in the heart of the minority community.

My thanks to Sol Salbe who suggested I post the corrections this way.

Questions &/or comments about anything in or about this corrected translation will be welcomed. So will likes!



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