Snapshot of the censored speech by Reem Hazzan

Israel’s racism and violent occupation must end

It is clear that racism, bullying and Jewish supremacy are a direct product of the settlement enterprise that tramples the human rights of the Palestinians, tramples international law and even tramples Israeli law, is a result of a corrupt, evil and violent Occupation that must end.

4 min readFeb 20, 2023

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(Posted by Anat Matar • translated by Sol Salbe)

This is a speech by Reem Hazzan, Hadash’s Haifa secretary. Her speech was excluded by the organisers of the demonstrations yearning for democracy. Compare Reem Hazzan’s words with the organisers’ response which lacks a modicum of self-consciousness: “It goes without saying that all the Arab speakers speak about the Israeli Occupation and also about its importance of democracy for all citizens of the country. However, as mentioned, the emphasis is on what we all share and unifies us.” Because the Occupation and democracy for everyone is indeed a private concern of the Palestinian. What does it have to do with us Jews? But by and large we also accommodate such messages, if they do not actually cross the bounds of good taste, as apparently Reem Hazzan was about to do: “We understand that such a broad protest requires from all sides the inclusion of opinions that are not uncomplicated.”

These are the people we strive to build a democracy with. There is no doubt that if we ever win democracy, we will have to learn to accommodate these blockhead racists. And now to Reem Hazzan:

*Good evening Haifa [in Hebrew and Arabic]*

We live in dark times.

A time when dark forces threaten what’s left of the democratic space and the only chance we have to live here together, in peace and equality, Arabs and Jews.

This attack is dangerous for all of us. It is dangerous for all the residents of this land and especially for the city of Haifa which, despite all the challenges and difficulties, is the only place in this land that offers an alternative to segregation and racism by promoting a shared life based on equality and mutual respect.

It is no coincidence that the demonstrations in Haifa have been breaking records in terms of the number of participants, in recent weeks.

The Haifa community proves that it is democratic, oppositional, and active.

So where are the Arabs? Why aren’t we flocking to the protests?

And where are the other marginalised and enfeebled populations? Why are they, why are we, not here?

Let’s start with the obvious:

It is clear to anyone with an understanding that the Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel will be the first to be harmed by the legal coup.

From the point of view of the Arab citizenry, the legal system was a last bulwark against a policy of institutional discrimination, of the trampling of basic civil rights, the institutionalised dispossession system whose main goal is to take from the Arabs and give to the Jews.

It is clear that our appeal to the law courts has not usually ended with a satisfactory result.

And yet, we continued to appeal, out of trust and faith in the ability of the situation to change,

A trust that unfortunately often remains unfulfilled.

It is clear that racism, bullying and Jewish supremacy are a direct product of the settlement enterprise that tramples the human rights of the Palestinians, tramples international law and even tramples Israeli law, is a result of a corrupt, evil and violent Occupation that must end.

What we reap today was sown by the political and economic right for the past forty years.

And the time has come to say no more!

It’s time to stop being afraid and start saying clearly:

We support full equality for all who reside here.

We are in favour of ending the Occupation.

We believe that peace is possible because it is necessary for both sides.

We are in favour of a country that invests in its people and their future:

A country that builds schools, hospitals, universities, public transport, that benefits people and the environment, which works to reduce social gaps instead of expanding settlements and extending the gaps.

Enough!

There is a direct link between Israel’s peace refusal, the deepening of the Occupation. The dismantling the welfare state and the pain suffered by working people and the destruction of democracy and the rise of fascism.

The Arab community and the lower classes will feel that they are partners in the protest when this protest will act not only to stop the moves to reduce the liberal foundations of the Israeli regime, to maintain “business as usual” — we will feel like partners, and will be partners in the struggle, when the goal will be to change the policy of racism and discrimination and establish a new social contract based on the pursuit of peace and equality. When the fight for democracy will be for genuine democracy: not democracy for Jews only, but democracy for everyone.

You need us with you.

We all need each other.

This is the meaning of solidarity.

Only together will we win.

Haifa will lead the change — the power is in our hands!

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