Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Ahmed Tibi Interview: On being an Arab lawmaker in Israel

Ahmad Tibi, a member of Israel’s parliament, talks about why he thinks democracy in Israel applies only to Jewish citizens, why he’ll never accept Israel as a Jewish state and why he’ll never leave

MK Ahmed Tibi

MK Ahmed Tibi

As one of Israel’s few Arab lawmakers, Ahmad Tibi knows how to fight to be heard, even when colleagues don’t want to listen. That determination was never clearer than last month when Tibi, a top political advisor to PLO chairman Yasser Arafat before being elected to the Knesset in 1999, refused to yield the floor during a particularly acrimonious debate. Escorts were summoned to pry his white-knuckled hands off the lectern and lead the 51-year-old away. Tibi, a former gynecologist, hasn’t lost his sense of humor. On his office walls is a newspaper cartoon of him bound and gagged on the Knesset floor. On a top shelf is a row of fat binders, including one titled “Dead Ends.

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