PMW demands retraction from Corrie family’s lawyer
by Itamar Marcus
Palestinian Media Watch rejects the remarks made by Hussein Abu Hussein, the Israeli Arab attorney for the Corrie family, in response to PMW’s bulletin two weeks ago. PMW also demands a public retraction and an apology from the lawyer.
Instead of responding to the content of his own statements on Palestinian Authority TV that PMW had subtitled and publicized, Abu Hussein attacked PMW, claiming:
“This [PMW] clip was edited in a misleading and tendentious fashion by an anti-democratic organization whose goal is to harm the struggle for human rights and divert the discussion from the killing of the peace activist Rachel Corrie by a military bulldozer.” [timesofisrael.com, Aug. 29, 2012]
PMW had revealed segments of Abu Hussein’s recent interview on PA TV in which he contrasted Israel’s creation to the establishment of Nazi Germany. He said Israel was “founded from the start on robbery and theft,” while “Nazi Germany was a state based on the rule of law for a short while.” Israel’s creation, he claimed, did not even have the justification that Nazi Germany’s creation had:
“Nazi Germany was a state based on the rule of law for a short while and it found refuge in the law. [However,] the State of Israel was founded from the start on robbery and theft of a nation’s homeland.”
PMW also reported that Abu Hussein said the following about Israel:
“We suffer from a great injustice, from the giant monster… We all want to step on its head, but talking is not enough. Everyone has their role.”
Hussein, in the interview, did not elaborate or explain what he meant by “talking is not enough.”
Following PMW’s exposure of Abu Hussein’s statements, the Times of Israel reported that Abu Hussein complained about PMW:
“The comments had been taken out of context and the content of his remarks distorted. The publication of the comments by Palestinian Media Watch was an attempt to attack his character and that of the Corrie family, he said… the comments were part of an hour-long interview that covered a wide range of topics and a discussion of lessons to be learned from history – including the Holocaust.” [timesofisrael.com, Aug. 29, 2012, http://www.timesofisrael.com/corries-lawyer-termed-israel-a-giant-monster-in-arabic-interview/]
PMW rejects Abu Hussein’s libelous remarks. As a research institute, PMW publishes significant and representative segments of longer interviews. In the full interview, Abu Hussein said nothing that changed the context or meaning of anything that PMW reported. PMW has now expanded the translation and subtitled additional statements he made on PA TV.
Click to view
PMW has added a longer transcript of Abu Hussein’s remarks comparing Israel and Nazi Germany. At the outset, the host of the program, Israeli Arab actor Mohammad Bakri, questioned if Abu Hussein was satisfied being a lawyer in Israel, given that, in his words, Israel is “an abnormal state” with “legal tyranny and racist discrimination even in the law,” such that “you sometimes lose a case, not because you’re a bad lawyer” but because of Israel’s racism. To this question, Abu Hussein answered “yes,” adding that law in Israel is a “compliant tool in the hands of the authorities,” which he then compared to Nazi Germany’s use of law:
“In the final analysis, the law is a compliant tool in the hands of the authorities. The Nazi state was also a state ruled by law. It took refuge in the law in order to carry out the most hideous crimes against humanity. The catastrophes in WWII are known to everyone. In WWII, 52 million people were killed, but the historical narrative mentions this as if the only truth is that six million Jews were killed in WWII. However, this does not negate the ugliness of this war.”
It is ironic that in his response, Abu Hussein pointed out that he mentioned the Holocaust. In fact, as this quote shows, his mention of World War ll was to critique the fact that the focus tends to center on the killing of six million Jews – the Holocaust – and not on the 52 million people in general who were killed in the war.
Below is a longer transcript of Abu Hussein’s remarks. Other topics covered in the interview that PMW chose not to translate in their entirety are marked in the transcript by three dots […] and include: a discussion about Israeli judges, innocent people Abu Hussein said were killed by Israeli soldiers, a long prison sentence given to a Palestinian youth, Israeli accusations against a sick child that the child had contacts with terrorists, and other topics.
Nothing said in any of these discussions has any bearing on the material cited by PMW or gives a different context to what PMW reported, as claimed by Abu Hussein. Abu Hussein’s statement that the interview “was edited in a misleading and tendentious fashion” is false.
The following is the longer transcript of Abu Hussein’s statements:
Click to view longer video segment.
Hussein Abu Hussein, Israeli Arab lawyer: “Fate determined that I would work in this [legal] profession. I believe that at least until now, I have gone in the right direction and I don’t regret it.”
Mohammad Bakri, Israeli Arab actor: “Even though you live in an abnormal state, even though Israeli law is elastic, even though Israeli law includes racism, and even though you sometimes lose a case, not because you’re a bad lawyer, but because there is legal tyranny and racist discrimination even in the law.”
Hussein Abu Hussein: “Yes.”
Mohammad Bakri: “There are many examples that you’ve shown me and you’ve written articles about them.”
Hussein Abu Hussein: “In the final analysis, the law is a compliant tool in the hands of the [Israeli] authorities. The Nazi state was also a state ruled by law. It took refuge in the law in order to carry out the most hideous crimes against humanity. The catastrophes in WWII are known to everyone. In WWII, 52 million people were killed, but the historical narrative mentions this as if the only truth is that six million Jews were killed in WWII. However, this does not negate the ugliness of this war. Nazi Germany was a state based on the rule of law for a short while and it found refuge in the law. [However,] the State of Israel was founded from the start on robbery and theft of a nation’s homeland. Actually, the correct and true legal definition of what happened to the Palestinians is homeland theft…”
Hussein Abu Hussein: “We are proud of being part of our Palestinian nation, but we don’t have a racist attitude towards Jews as Jews. We have a position about Zionism that used Jews as a cover for using racism, racism of the lowest kind, against Palestinians wherever they were… The occupation [Israel] is what destroyed the Palestinian economy and the Palestinian infrastructures, and occupied Palestine in 1948…”
In court Israel argued that Rachel Corrie had knowingly entered an area of conflict that Israel had declared a closed military zone. Abu Hussein responded to this:
“[Israel claimed:] In a place where there is an army, there is no place for civilians. This ‘norm’ – war criminals in the Macedonian and Yugoslavian wars have been tried for it. But the actions of the American octopus during this period of history – as we peasants say – ‘we’ve had enough!’: of American crimes and of Israeli crimes, and of American crimes in Iraq and in Afghanistan. But there is no statute of limitations for war crimes in international legal practice. And maybe a time will come when they will be brought to trial…”
Hussein Abu Hussein: “We suffer from a great injustice, from the giant monster. This monster attacks us daily and bites into our flesh in the Negev, the Galilee, the Triangle [region in Israel], Jerusalem, and the occupied territories – the West Bank and Gaza. Every day it bites into our body.”
Mohammad Bakri: “I want to step on the head of this monster.”
Hussein Abu Hussein: “We all want to step on its head, but talking is not enough. Everyone has their role…” [PMW note: Abu Hussein did not elaborate or explain what he meant by “talking is not enough”.]
Abu Hussein recounted how he once addressed an Israeli judge in court during a case regarding land rights:
“We Palestinians have Canaanite and Phoenician roots which are an integral part of our history, and you [Israelis] are new, you are new occupiers. And there is no proof, in spite of all the digs you have done in Palestine by Zionist archeologists, who until today have not found one proof of their connection to this homeland.”
[PA TV (Fatah), July 2, 2012]
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