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«If Kahlon convince you, I will revoke the law on the Holodomor». Interview by Akram Hasson

Knesset member from the party «Kulanu» Akram Hasson introduced a bill on recognition of Israel Holodomor an act of genocide. The bill put forward by MP-a Druze, has drawn sharp criticism from Russia. The Deputy of Hason, the pressure is on him trying to convince of the need to withdraw the bill.

The author of the bill responded to questions political correspondent NEWSru.co.il Gabby Wolfson.

Mr. hason, let’s start from the end. On a scale how much pressure is on you to be forced to withdraw the bill?

Well, first stage was 10. Now 7-8. But I immediately gave all to understand that it is useless.

Which side is under pressure?

From almost all factions of the Knesset.

From the office of the Prime Minister, too?

Indirectly. Talking with representatives of my party. Some Ministers and MPs talked to me personally, some have argued in the press.

I heard that you talked and the Secretary to the government.

Indirectly.

And what do you say to those who are trying to put pressure on you?

Many of them simply don’t know me. I’m not a novice in politics and in the Knesset. I’m not looking for the headlines and not looking for drama. If I believe in something, go with it to the end. For me it is useless to push, I need to convince. Only belief with me can be something to negotiate. I don’t work on Russian, do not work for Americans, not work for the Germans. I am a member of the Israeli Knesset, the representative of ethnic minorities. I grew up on the values of democracy and respect for others. Even when I was a soldier in 1982, traveled to the framework of the delegation to Dachau and saw what they were doing the Germans. When I became mayor of the city And Carmel, our first sister city of Lodz was the Jewish capital of Poland. I took a delegation of Druze in Auschwitz and what they saw will never forget. And so I visited Ukraine with a parliamentary delegation. You know perfectly well that the history of famine before, I’ve never heard anything about it did not know. I was invited to visit the Museum. I saw Soviet documents, listened to explanations. Later in Parliament, I was asked to promote this issue in Israel. You know that 130 of the 350 members of the Ukrainian Parliament are members of the Association of friendship with Israel? I said I will check if it is possible. Three months studied this question. America supported the recognition of the Holodomor as act of genocide, and Australia supported by Canada and the Vatican. Even Poland, with which we are now in conflict, is supported. For me support was granted. I’m not from Ukraine, not immigrant, I don’t have any accounts, and you can not blame me that I am pursuing some interests. We live in a state that was established after the genocide and to support the recognition of the genocide suffered by another people, it was only natural for me.

But you understand what’s going on. Many argue that in the history of Israel since the founding of the state of the situation in which we would need good relations with Russia more than it is now. In this situation you provoke the conflict?

But I’m not in conflict with Russia. My bill is irrelevant to the dispute between Russia and Ukraine over Crimea. I do not associate with one another.

You – no, but Yes.

Perhaps Russia is just using this as an excuse to put pressure on us. If Russia was a democratic country, that its representatives met with me and tried to convince the same as it did the Ukrainians. I have nothing against Russia, against its people. I was in the USSR in the late 90-ies, is familiar with Moscow, Voronezh, Vladimir. And my initiative is not directed against the Russian people. The Soviets did what they did in 1932-1933. I saw the title, saw the laws that are deliberately established. It was an act of genocide, a fact which is recognized by 27 States. And we have to reinvent the wheel just because we pressured?

But you’re not a history teacher, Mr. Hasson. You politician, and every public action has political consequences.

Well, what of it? On the territory of Ukraine killed Jews, Russians, Ukrainians. Why Russia cannot dissociate themselves from what made Advice? Why Russia can’t condemn their actions? Is it so difficult?

We go back to what I said before. It is the policy.

Yeah, nothing new but I never told anyone. 27 States, including the Vatican, recognized the Holodomor an act of genocide. What secret have I revealed? And explain to me why I, as a member of Parliament, have no right to make a question for consideration, at least for people to know history to keep the memory as a warning? So all these threats and pressure from Russia, at me the impression is not produced. Instead of talking to me, they speak with the office of the Prime Minister, with other senior officials.

With the Finance Minister, who heads your party?

I want to tell you that the Finance Minister is a generous man. I only work with him, and I’m obliged only to him. He’s the one who wouldn’t talk to me on this subject.

Generally?

Absolutely. First, he was in America when this all broke out, and, believe me, was busy with more important things than this nonsense. The Israeli economy, relations with the US is much more important. Now he’s back, I think in the coming days we will discuss this issue.

But if Kahlon will require to withdraw the bill?

I’ll try to convince him. But if I fail, if he continues to argue that the bill is harmful, I think that I will respect his opinion. I only work from Kahlon, and he knows that he can rely on me.

The rumor that you have already agreed to withdraw the bill wrong?

This rumor Lieberman. But I still have Lieberman do not work, and he doesn’t know anything about what I’m doing.

This rumor reached me not from Lieberman.

One of the journalists told me that, Lieberman said, if I agreed to withdraw the bill. This is a gross lie, and it is important to know that there is no law I have not withdrawn. I intend to go to the end, and if the government has a problem with this bill, it has many possibilities to prevent its promotion. I’m not Prime Minister, but only one of the 66 members of the coalition.

You have already submitted this bill?

Ten days ago I submitted it to the Secretariat of the Knesset.

And when he will be put on the agenda?

Never know. After the Secretariat of the Knesset, the bill goes to the legal Department and then to an inter-Ministerial Commission on legislation.

And when she goes to discuss this bill?

I don’t know, but it is important to emphasize that the law is served, and I wasn’t recalled. And again I want to reiterate that there is no connection between this bill and the attitude towards Russia or with Russia. I wasn’t going to make this policy.

You got a reaction from the Ukrainian side?

Yeah. I called the Ambassador of Ukraine and thanked me. He said that it is an important and bold step that restores historical justice in relation to the Ukrainian people. Was of gratitude and Ukrainian parliamentarians. There were letters from ordinary Ukrainians. Not only from the Ukraine but from the USA. This is not politics, but humanity.

But if Moshe Kahlon will ask you agree to revoke the law?

If he asks and explain to me, then probably Yes.

And if tomorrow will be put to the vote the question of recognition of the Armenian genocide, you will support it?

Certainly. I believe that we are overly kowtow to Erdogan, and he is looking to hurt us. Why should it be so? We on the one hand is a regional power, and on the other we have a state created after the worst genocide in history, the worst crime against one nation. And now we kowtow to Erdogan to Russia. If you behave, we will become a «banana Republic». The distinction of Israel from other States in the region is that we have the value of human life, the value of man is the highest value. This is not from our neighbours, where people are being killed left and right. Human life is more important than politics.

A few words about you. You were in different parties.

I grew up in the Likud and in the Likud, then was in «Kadima» and became the first Gentile, head of «Kadima» (this post hason took after leaving Kadima of Mofaz Saluja and stayed there for two days before receiving the offer to join party «Kulanu» – approx. ed.). Then I joined Kahlon, whom he knew well for the Likud. We Kahloon worked together a long time.

You deal with Shaul Mofaz?

Certainly. I supported Mofaz in the primaries in «kadime». We have a very good relationship.

He will return to politics?

Never know. Some time ago I tried to convince him to come back. But he said he was now wholly absorbed in the topic of cyber security. He believes that there is much more good than in politics. I’m sorry, because Sha’ul is very good and honest man who could bring many benefits.

You are going to run for the Knesset of 21st convocation?

I’m in this Knesset never thought I would be, but after Moshe Kahlon resigned from Parliament, being Minister, I went. While I’m here, trying to do everything to help in the implementation of the agenda of the party «Kulanu», and then we will see. If Moshe Kahlon will ask, I will stay. We’ve known him for 22 years, he is like a brother to me. But to be honest, I’m not sure what the Knesset is place of which I dream at night. The current Knesset also noticeably different from the Knesset, the 18th convocation and not for the better.

Explain.

Earlier there were more values, less vulgarity, more friendly relations. Today it is unpleasant to even listen to what they say people on the streets. Laugh at us.

You did not utter the name Oren Hazan, but apparently it is a reflection of what you’re talking about.

I unsuccessfully tried to arrange a reconciliation between the Chazan and the rest of the deputies. You can’t afford such behaviour. The Knesset is a mirror of Israeli society, and if the mirror is disgusting, and the society will sooner or later become so. But it is not only the Oren Hazan. He is not alone, there are many MPs who allow themselves to do it.

Many argue that most of those whom you say are in your former party, the Likud.

I knew and know some great people in the Likud. I went to this party in the late Menachem Begin. He was a great man who not only brought peace but also did a lot for the weaker sections of the population, Druze. But I’m not just talking about it. Earlier leaders were more committed, try harder to give to others. So today I am in the «Kulanu». Kahlon is. I see that this person does on a very unpopular position, where many have failed. When he asked me to join the «Kulanu», I was the head of «Kadima». We returned the entire budget of the party, to the last Agora, so no one could say that I took the money and went with them to another party. Only then went with Kachanom.

If I remember correctly, you were going to run, even in the party «Bayt Yehudi».

It was not I, but my brother’s son. His name as well, so everyone thought it was me. I have nothing against the «Bayt Yehudi», but I am in this party was neither one day. Was in the Likud, was «Kadima» now «Kulanu». If Kahlon wants – I will stand again. «Kulanu» was ranked first in the Druze sector. I’m proud of that and continue to work.

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«If Kahlon convince you, I will revoke the law on the Holodomor». Interview by Akram Hasson 14.02.2018

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