I can see it happening as we speak!
The Knesset’s House Committee recommended today, by a vote of 7-1, to revoke Balad MK Hanin Zoabi’s Parliamentary privileges. You might recall that Zoabi was a passenger on the ill fated Gaza flotilla. Upon her return to the Knesset, she was verbally assailed by various right-wing parliamentarians and prevented from speaking. The three main privileges Zoabi stands to lose are the privilege to leave the country, the privilege of carrying a diplomatic passport and the right to have the Knesset cover her litigation fees if she is put on trial.
These and other privileges are meant to allow an MK to fulfill his or her duties without fear of undue pressure from others. These privileges are accorded to all MKs – those we agree with and those we disagree with and are meant to promote and enhance the democratic process. Whether I like it or not, Zoabi’s actions are supported by her constituents. Haaretz reported that “Likud MK Yariv Levin, who serves as chairman of the Knesset House Committee, said before the discussion that Hanin Zuabi betrayed the State of Israel and she must be put on trial.” I suggest that those that seek to diminish the democratic process are the ones betraying the foundations of the State of Israel.
Above and beyond all that, the angry, frustrated parliamentarians calling for Zoabi’s hide are on the verge of handing to our enemies, on a silver platter, yet another PR victory. Now what will we say when they accuse us of being racist and undemocratic? Unless of course we are willing to use these same standards across the board regardless of an MKs ethnicity or ideological orientation. Will we strip parliamentary privileges from MKs who support extremist settlers who openly battle the IDF and take the law into their own hands? Do we really want to go down that slippery slope? Do we? I don’t know about you, but I certainly don’t.