It’s true. In his talk, “Debunking the Myth of Israeli Democracy”, Jamal Zahalka quoted Hannah Arendt. I think. He might or might not have quoted Hegel, I can’t remember. He definitely quoted Hannah Arendt. He also quoted Spiro Agnew, which was weird. He definitely didn’t quote Hitler though, which is apparently what they’ve started saying about him back in Israel. The group that brought him, “Students Against Israeli Apartheid”, are in the process of getting the video of his talk ready and available on the internet so everyone can see for themselves that the vicious and all-too unsurprising rumors that are being spread about him are not true. The real message, I suppose, is that Palestinians shouldn’t be given platforms to speak. They should be denied any opportunity to tell their story, from any platform. Having been pretty thoroughly shut out of the media (you might see one interview with this member of the Israeli parliament published besides the one on ZNet, and that other one will be in a small alternative news magazine in Toronto), Palestinians like Zahalka can’t even talk invited by small campus groups to audiences of a few hundred without being subjected to vicious campaigns of defamation. It isn’t enough to dispossess them, starve them, imprison thousands of them, kill hundreds of them. We also have to prevent them from talking about it.
So in the spirit of letting Zahalka’s words speak for themselves, here is the interview I did with him the day after his talk in Toronto, in which we recap many of the issues he raised in his talk.