Pro-BDS Raja Zaatry of the Joint List resigned as deputy mayor of Haifa. (Facebook) (Facebook)
Raja Zaatry

Whether in Israel or abroad, anti-Semitism must never be allowed to thrive in the name of “diversity” or “pluralism.”

By Daniel Krygier, United with Israel

Haifa’s new mayor, Einat Kalisch-Rotem, had appointed terrorist supporter and Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) movement advocate Raja Zaatry as her deputy. Under pressure on a national level – including from President Reuven Rivlin and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – to cancel the appointment, she confrontedZaatry Tuesday about the allegations.

Initially defiant, he resigned the next day.

Zaatry, a member of the Israeli Communist party and the Joint Arab List, has benefited greatly from being a citizen of Israel, a democratic island of freedom that embraces minorities and diversity. However, tolerance for racist intolerance should have no room in Israel or any other part of the free world.

While much of the Israeli Arab minority is quietly embracing integration in Israeli society, many Israeli Arab political and religious leaders have become increasingly radicalized, often openly siding with Israel’s lethal enemies. In even the most liberal democracies, this constitutes treason and is punishable by law.

Supporting BDS and Terror Groups

Instead of being a positive and inspiring role model for young Israeli Arabs, Zaatry openly opposes the same country that feeds him. In 2012, Za’atra established a local organization that supports BDS. The new organization promotes boycotting the Jewish state among Israeli Arabs in a similar fashion to the Nazi boycotts against Jews during the 1930s.

While many Israeli Druze and some Israeli Arabs proudly serve in the IDF, Zaatry shamelessly supports the anti-Semitic Hamas and Hezbollah terrorist groups, which openly seek Israel’s destruction. In 2016, he defended Hezbollah after the Arab league declared the Islamist group a terrorist organization. Za’atra whitewashed Hezbollah’s terrorism and defined the Lebanese-based Jihadi terror group as a “resistance movement that succeeded in expelling the occupier,” referring to Israel during the 2006 Second Lebanon War.

Zaatry has also voiced vocal support for the brutal Bashar Assad regime and its allies in Syria. He has demonized Zionism, the Jewish national liberation movement, by falsely claiming that it inspired the creation of the Islamic State terror group. While the Jewish state embraces minorities, ISIS has ruthlessly massacred minorities like the Yazidis.

Haifa: Symbol of Coexistence

Haifa, Israel’s third-largest city, has long been a symbol of peaceful coexistence between Arabs and Jews. Every year Haifa organizes the Holiday of Holidays, which celebrates the Jewish Chanukah, the Christian Christmas and the Muslim Ramadan.

Israeli Arab MK Yousef Jabareen absurdly accused Prime Minister Netanyahu of racism against Arabs, adding that the minority deserve to be represented in Haifa’s city council. However, loyal Israeli Arab citizens do not benefit from the appointment of anti-Semitic bigotry. Quite the opposite. Appointing an extremist Jew-hater as the deputy mayor would undermine years of peaceful coexistence.

The Israeli government has declared fighting global anti-Semitism a national priority. However, fighting anti-Jewish bigotry must be fought whether in Israel or abroad. Anti-Semitism must never be allowed to thrive in the name of “diversity” or “pluralism.”

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