MK Odeh Tells J Street Conference: Israel Finds Itself at a Crossroads

Hadash MK Ayman Odeh addressed J Street’s National Conference in Washington on Sunday, delivering a 15-minute speech that laid out the Hadash commitment to a two-state solution. He told the conference that Israel, more than ever, finds itself at a crossroads between a future of occupation, apartheid and war, and a future of peace, democracy and equality for all.

MK Ayman Odeh’s words to the annual National Conference of J Street, December 4, 2022 (Photo: J Street)

J Street has made opposition to Israel’s expected incoming far-right coalition a key focus of its three-day conference, which drew roughly 2,000 attendees at the Omni Shoreham Hotel. Speakers at Sunday’s plenary sessions warned of anti-democratic undercurrents in American and Israeli politics. A speech later on Sunday MK Odeh, leader of the Hadash-Ta’al faction in the Knesset, said he worries “for those who speak out against occupation and apartheid, for all minorities, for my own children.” It is difficult, Odeh added, “to overstate just how dangerous this moment is.”

Likud MK and former Shin Bet chief Avi Dichter set off an uproar at the Knesset on Monday when, in a statement against Odeh, he said: “Allah is waiting for you up above. God will hold you accountable and when you arrive at the gates of hell, Sheikh [Ahmed] Yassin and [Abdel Aziz] Rantisi of Hamas and [Fathi] Shaqaqi of Islamic Jihad will be waiting for you and will quickly appoint you head of their house committee without a vote. You’ve passed their admission exam.” Later on Monday, Odeh responded to Dichter, saying: “Dichter appears to be desperate for headlines, so he has chosen to engage in cheap and petty incitement. We will continue to promote politics of peace and cooperation.”

The full Ayman Odeh’s speech: