Canada Lets Separatists Run

but Israelis, at least in the next election, are banning arab parties from for seats in the Knesset. Notice that the ban is on Arab parties, not arabs simpliciter. The issue is bound to go the supreme court and was dubbed ‘racist’ immediately and part of an expressed desire to have an Israel shorn of Arabs.

Ironically, the last party to get banned (and Muffti thinks the only party to get banned) from Israeli politics was Kahane’s Kach party, which advocated the expulsion of arabs from Israel. Muffti finds the move incredibly undemocratic – the justification is that Arab parties of various crimes and indecencies such as supporting terrorism and visiting enemy countries. Why not prosecute them rather than ban their parties? But Muffti is sure he will receive a decent edumacation at the hands of our commentators.
From Jpost:

The 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.

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. Arab lawmakers have traveled to countries listed among Israel’s staunchest enemies, including Lebanon and Syria.

The 37-member committee is composed of representatives from Israel’s major political parties. The measure was proposed by two ultranationalist parties but received widespread support.

The decision does not affect Arab lawmakers in predominantly Jewish parties or the country’s communist party, which has a mixed list of Arab and Jewish candidates. Roughly one-fifth of Israel’s 7 million citizens are Arabs. Israeli Arabs enjoy full citizenship rights, but have suffered from discrimination and poverty for decades.

Arab lawmakers Ahmed Tibi and Jamal Zahalka, political rivals who head the two Arab blocs in the Knesset, joined together in condemning Monday’s decision.

“It was a political trial led by a group of Fascists and racists who are willing to see the Knesset without Arabs and want to see the country without Arabs,” said Tibi.

Together, the Arab lists hold seven of the 120 seats in the Knesset.

Tibi said he would appeal to the high court, while Zahalka said his party was still deciding how to proceed.

Pordes remarked that the last time a party was banned it was the late Rabbi Meir Kahane’s Kach Party, a list from the 1980s that advocated the expulsion of Arabs from Israel.

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  1. Abu Zibby

    1/12/2009 at 5:43 pm

    I hope the High Court will overturn this decision, will invite Amzi Bishara back from his unknown whereabouts and have of copy of”The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” or “Mein Kampf” ready to swear the oath on.

  2. montana urban legend

    1/12/2009 at 7:49 pm

    Without knowing much about this, my initial impression is that if done right it could be a good thing. As long as the Supreme Court can show that there will be no discrimination in preventing Arabs from joining and advancing within the ranks of the other parties, then it should be a legit move and one that will bode well for the prospect of a more integrated society – which is something Israel needs.

    The big question, however, is if it would have to be accompanied by the dissolution of more explicitly “Jewish-Nationalist” parties. My supposition would be yes.

  3. J.Miller

    1/12/2009 at 9:15 pm

    Another export from canada.Some of are Canadian cousins are a little bit kooky.Check out this video link below.Remember they are speaking for all Jewish youth and Jewish/Israeli women(sic)


  4. Steg (dos iz nit der Å¡teg)

    1/12/2009 at 11:27 pm

    prosecuting individuals for treasonous acts would make a lot more sense than banning whole parties

  5. Joel Katz

    1/13/2009 at 1:05 am

    Prior to the 2003 elections, the Central Elections Committee banned the Balad party from running by a one-vote margin, claiming it did not respect Israel’s legally-mandated status as a Jewish state and that its leader supported terrorism.

    The Elections Committee also voted to ban Ahmad Tibi of the Ta’al party who had formed an electoral alliance with the left wing Hadash coalition.

    However, the bans on both parties were overturned by the Israeli Supreme Court.

  6. grandmuffti

    1/13/2009 at 1:22 am

    Thanks Joel, that’s a helpful update.

  7. Ben-David

    1/13/2009 at 1:39 am

    It seems pretty obvious: in order to participate in a government, you have to endorse that government’s right to exist.

    Why can’t a party be considered seditious? There is ample evidence from leaflets, statements of policy and platform. If you pledge to act to overthrow the country, why should you be admitted to its legislature?

    Muffti – can you explain how this contradicts anything but the most childish definition of “democracy” (as in “it’s a free country and I can do what I want”).

    Democracy imposes obligations as well as granting freedoms. So?

  8. Tom Morrissey

    1/13/2009 at 5:04 am

    On a practical level, if you’ve got a substantial minority that feels alienated already and is in fact discriminated against, why formally disenfranchise them? How does this enhance the state’s security? Doesn’t it do the opposite?

    Are Arabs the only citizens of Israel who wish to see a secular republic?

  9. themiddle

    1/13/2009 at 5:10 am

    When the Israeli Supreme Court turned over a similar law a few years ago, they did say that this type of censure was permitted if the political parties in question tangibly aided or attempted to aid enemies in conducting war against Israel.

    There are some compelling arguments to be made that these two parties (and note that we’re not talking about all Arab parties or Arab MKs) which are on the receiving end of this action have indeed crossed over that line. One of their former leaders continues to live in self-imposed exile outside of Israel after having apparently assisted Hizbollah even beyond his positive and supportive public appearances on their behalf in the last war.

    Maybe the difference with Canada is that Canada hasn’t had to send its sons, husbands and fathers every several years to war, risking their lives and limbs. Maybe if the Separtist movement was launching rockets, suicide bombers and armies at the rest of Canada and Canada found itself naturally preparing for the next attack or the next conflict, then the Canadian Parliament would be less charitable towards the Parti Quebecois.

    You ain’t comparing apples to apples.

    It’s interesting that there was wide support among the MKs for this legislation and many in the center and center-left supported it.

  10. Tom Morrissey

    1/13/2009 at 5:20 am

    Maybe I’m mistaking Middle, but I assume he’s not claiming that Arab citizens of Israel are launching rockets against it. But even if the Arab parties at issue are as seditious as Middle suggests, the best approach to them is to keep them within the democratic system. If Basque separatists or the Tamil Tigers pledged to beoome parliamentary parties, this would be good, not bad news, right?

  11. themiddle

    1/13/2009 at 7:37 am

    Well, first of all, I disagree with this decision. It’s a mistake.

    However, I understand it. I’m not claiming that Arab citizens are launching rockets against Israel but rather that these two parties have been involved in activities that openly support Israel’s enemies in times of war. If this is true, they have no place at the seat of government because the role of a government is to act in the best interests of the state and the people. Supporting enemies who seek to destroy the state would appear to play an opposite role.

    The borader answer to your question, Tom, is that I’d rather not exclude these parties.

  12. Ben-David

    1/13/2009 at 2:29 pm

    Morrissey –
    1) Don’t assume that all – or even most – Israeli Arabs vote for these parties. There’s a nice Arab bloc well settled in the Labor party, for instance.

    2) Could you cite some examples of how Israeli Arabs are “discriminated against”?

    Considering the still-open wounds, I think they have a pretty sweet deal.

    Have you ever visited here?

    Both my son and my brother-in-law were treated in Israeli hospitals by Arab doctors. No glass ceilings. No apartheid. No institutional discrimination.

    Yes there is creeping radicalization – because, as we’ve already seen, the Arab world has interpreted Oslo as weakness.

  13. Tom Morrissey

    1/14/2009 at 5:24 am

    Dude, someone invite me and I’ll visit. Hell, I haven’t gotten so much as a seder invitation out of all my heavy lifting on this site. I’ll behave myself, I promise.

  14. themiddle

    1/14/2009 at 6:24 am

    I’d invite you, but then you’d lose that sense of, uh, mystery.

  15. Mordechai Luchins

    1/14/2009 at 7:53 am

    As someone who’s spent the last three weeks explaining over and over that Israel is not a Theocracy and that Zionism is not Racism, nor does the mandate for Israel call for an Ethnically Pure State, this makes me physically ill.

    As Mr. Steg cites, why aren’t we prosecuting individuals instead of parties? Should we be investigating all of Kadima because of the allegations about Olmert?

    Also, and maybe it’s just me not getting this, how is it possible for someone to serve in a government, but not recognize it exists at the same time?

  16. Texas Jew

    1/15/2009 at 5:30 pm

    “The only Democracy in the middle east” strikes again.

  17. themiddle

    1/15/2009 at 8:04 pm

    Well, Texas Jew, they did also restrict Kahane’s party from running.

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