Arab Parties Nixed

israelThis just in from Ha’aretz:

(Israel’s) Central Elections Committee on Monday banned Arab political parties from running in next month’s parliamentary elections, drawing accusations of racism by an Arab lawmaker who said he would challenge the decision in the country’s Supreme Court.
The ruling, made by the body that oversees the elections, reflected the heightened tensions between Israel’s Jewish majority and Arab minority caused by Israel’s offensive in the Gaza Strip. Israeli Arabs have held a series of demonstrations against the offensive.

If you’d like to offer feedback to the Central Election Committee, here’s their contact info.

27 thoughts on “Arab Parties Nixed

  1. Oy! This is bad! I understand that people are upset when Arab MK’s visit Arab countries that are still at war with Israel – but on the other hand, there really needs to be Arab representation in the Knesset!

  2. It’s not “Arab Parties Nixed” – it’s THESE Arab parties there were disqualified. If the members of these parties would cease to preach racism and cooperate with those who wish to destroy the very state they were SWORN to represent – they would be more than welcome to participate in the democracy.

  3. Knesset spokesman Giora Pordes said the election committee voted overwhelmingly in favor of the motion, accusing the country’s Arab parties of incitement, supporting terrorist groups and refusing to recognize Israel’s right to exist.
    Is this accusation true or not? And doesn’t it matter to you?

  4. “If there be any among us who would wish to dissolve this Union or to change its Republican form, let them stand undisturbed as monuments of the safety with which error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it.” Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address.

  5. LB writes:
    It’s not “Arab Parties Nixed” – it’s THESE Arab parties there were disqualified.
    Is there any info on which parties it was? The article doesn’t specify. Was it both Balad and the United Arab List?
    If it was both, and if this decision stands, what effect will this have on Arab-Israeli voters in this election? Will Hadash’s support increase, or will Arab voters sit the election out, or some of each?

  6. Arab voting rates are higher than Jewish voting rates in Israel, interesting to note.
    BZ, both Balad and the United Arab List were banned. JTA article here.
    Apparently this was done in 2003 and the Supreme Court struck down the vote as unconstitutional. From what I hear, it’s unlikely the court will let the vote stand again.
    Israel may have made a mistake committing itself to democratic principles. Now it’s got to stick by them.

  7. To follow up on some of the comments above, according to the article this is a ban on United Arab List-Ta’al and Balad.
    All I knew about Arab parties in the Knesset before today was that (1) they existed and (2) some of their members made rather outrageous statements on a pretty regular basis. This article and y’all’s comments made me want to learn more, so I figured I’d share my findings for those as unfamiliar with the subject as I was 15 minutes ago.
    From what I can gather on Wikipedia, these are the only two explicitly Arab parties, but Hadash (which BZ mentioned) is a third party that is mainly led and supported by Arabs but is not explicitly Arab in character (see, you too can be an instant expert!).
    See Wikipedia pages for:
    United Arab List
    So the vote was not to ban Arabs or all Arab parties from the Knesset. But it has the effect of banning the explicitly Arab voices from the Knesset, which is almost as bad and is the reason the Supreme Court will probably reject the ban.
    Somebody please correct me if I got any of this wrong.

  8. KFJ: “Israel may have made a mistake committing itself to democratic principles. Now it’s got to stick by them.”
    It outlawed Kach for its racist ideology. Why it can’t it do the same for Arab parties?
    Israel has no absolute freedom of speech – otherwise Kach would be legal (and maybe in the Knesset, too).

  9. Stop! As usual on Jewschool there is a rush to judgment and to criticism before looking at all the facts and the larger picture. Above someone implied that this committee decision was a sign of a flawed democratic process.
    Really? It is just for reasons such as this vote that in democracies we have an independent judiciary system – which in Israel is quite activist.
    This was nothing more than a Knesset committee passing something they knew has virtually no chance of being implemented. It was a way for MKs to sound off. I would expect nothing less from the likes of Lieberman and company.
    But democracy allows for such behavior even as it has allowed for the continuing racist (one could even make a case that some of the statements were treasonous) statements by some members of these political parties. Yes, some Jewish MKs have also made racist statements. This is a disgusting aspect of the Knesset. But the alternative is to shut down free speech.
    Thus far the ONLY party the court has allowed to be banned was the Jewish Kahana part (Kach).

  10. Kach got banned, the arab parties get banned, all under the same law.
    The irony (yes I am gloating) is that it was the leftist who drafted this law 20 years ago, solely in order to ban the kach party. And it was Kahane who pointed out the folly of doing so.
    Under that law no political party would be allowed to run for election. All of them are under violation. He pointed this out at the time.
    Kahane was a genius. G-d, I wish he were alive now.

  11. Sometimes, I admire the Israeli right. Why pretend to be moral at all when you can just ourtright say you’re in favor of race war? There’s no hair-splitting equivocation here.

  12. Ruby K and I were talking about this last night. Does Israel know nothing about winning a media war? Like, at the same time that the Association for Civil Rights in Israel uses even a heavily-cavaeated “apartheid-like” to describe the two-tiered legal system in the West Bank when the international community has already been using the term with more and more license (and accuracy), in the middle of a hugely unpopular war internationally speaking, that’s when Israel decides to ban the two Arab political parties? Oh God.
    If those outside the country didn’t already think Israel was verging on ethnic cleansing, then more alarm bells will go off. Leiberman is expected to sound off because he’s the far right, but the JTA article said Meretz was the only party to vote against. That’s pretty damning for Israel’s case abroad.
    formermuslim, it’s laudable when Jews censure Jews based on anti-racist principles (ostensibly coexistance) but when Jews incite racial strife by using the same tools, it’s hardly the same. If the law applies to all parties, but it’s only used against the Arab parties now, then it’s the opposite: racist.

  13. Here’s the text of the law:
    “A candidates’ list shall not participate in elections to the Knesset if its objects or actions, expressly or by implication, include one of the following:
    (1) negation of the existence of the State of Israel as the state of the Jewish people;
    (2) negation of the democratic character of the State;
    (3) incitement to racism.”
    (How does this apply to all parties?)

  14. Formermuslim writes:Kach got banned, the arab parties get banned, all under the same law.
    Not quite. The Arab parties have NOT been banned. Would someone here do just a bit of research into the law? A party can not be banned without the OK of Israel’s High Court. It does NOT even require an appeal to the court. The court agreement is required.
    This has not happened and nobody in their right mind thinks it will.
    This was nothing more than pathetic legislators playing to the right for votes. They knew their act had no legal standing (however morally repugnant).

  15. If the purpose is to ban explicitly Arab parties from the Knesset, they should be consistent and ban the explicitly Jewish parties too. Hell, it’d make the coalitions more secure and thus take out the instability of the government.
    Wouldn’t it be great if religious Israelis would vote for the party they think would be best to lead the country instead of voting for a party of dayanim because their rabbi told them to?

  16. Kari-
    not that I agree with people voting for who their rav instructs them to (in a democracy), but why would you believe that they don’t think that “dayan” would be their opinion of the best to lead the country?

  17. Might be worth mentioning as I’ve written about it myself, that this is neither a new idea nor will it stand up to the High Court scrutiny, as it hasn’t in the past. It’s frustrating, but there is no serious doubt that Balad and Ta’al will be allowed to participate in the coming elections.

  18. BZ:” (1) negation of the existence of the State of Israel as the state of the Jewish people;
    (2) negation of the democratic character of the State;
    (3) incitement to racism.”
    (How does this apply to all parties?)”
    FM: Here goes. (1) and (2) are a contradiction in terms. What if the arabs become a majority? Will you allow them to nix (1). If not you’re not democratic. If yes, you’re not Jewish. The religious parties are for (1). The secular (probably) (2). Both are in violation.
    About (3). What about practicing racism instead of inciting? The law of return discriminates in favor of Jews. What about a Rabbi who preaches against intermarriage? Neither the secular nor the religious are in compliance with (3).
    There you have it. All Israeli parties should be immediately banned under the law.

  19. FM, you DO realize those are the very same arguments put forth by the “Zionism is Racism/Apartheid” crowd, correct?

  20. B.BarNavi ,
    All countries on earth are racist apartheid regimes. That’s what states are for. Keeping nations separate so they don’t kill each other. Israel’s mistake is that it hasn’t made the separation big enough. All the idiots who accuse Israel are hypocrites, period.
    Having said that, if not being racist or apartheidical means you have to give up your own state and subject yourself to the “mercy” of gentiles then you should tell them all to go to hell.
    If you don’t have the balls to do that I’m not surprised. In the entire time that this post was published nobody even once mentioned G-d, except as an exclamation. Not to exhort others to pray nor even just to mention that one should have faith in G-d and not man. Instead everybody is busy playing realpolitik.

  21. ‘All the idiots who accuse Israel are hypocrites………….”
    Therefore to qualify for criticizing Israel (most people actually seem to criticize and accuse aspects of Israeli social order) you have to be 1. A hypocrite……and 2. An Idiot……..uuuum! I wonder how clever one has to be to work out that equation?
    In my country any politician expressing a racist statement – Israeli Arab, Christian, Aetheist or Jew would find themselves 1. Out of office PDQ …and 2. Facing public condemnation….and 3. Depending on the seriousness of the offence or incitement also facing criminal charges.
    I pray to G-d that Israel one day becomes a fair and just land for all its peoples – a mature democracy that is seen as a beacon – as a leader – at the moment there is such a tide turning in Europe against believing anything that israeli governments say…… attempt to ‘ban’ Arab parties from an election seems to me another disproportionate response…….taking action against individuals who make illegal and racist statements is the route of legal development (which applies equally to all people) that makes sense for me.
    The Israeli leadership is looking increasingly ridiculous in European media and many of the terms like ‘racist’ and ‘apartheid’ regimes are really sticking in more of a mass way for the first time. Sadly not because of any bias of reporting but simply through the way they are representing themselves.

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