Monday, January 12, 2009

Arab Parties - Balad and United List - Banned From Participating in Israeli Elections

Today, the Central Elections Committee voted overwhelmingly in favour to ban the Arab parties, Balad and The Arab United List for Change, from participating in the upcoming Israeli elections on February 10 after accusing the Arab parties of incitement, supporting terror groups, and refusing to recognise Israel's right to exist. See arabs48's article here.

The Arab parties have been vocal, as always, against the targeting of civilians and the belligerent forces of war, especially during this current war on Gaza, and in response have held a number of demonstrations. Furthermore, they have been calling for a number of years now for a state of all its citizens (see two documents reflecting this call - 'Future Vision' and 'Democratic Constitution') - that is, not a state based on ethno-cultural or racist particularities, but a democratic state where every citizen enjoys equal rights and protections, currently which Israel is not as it constitutionally accords the state to Jews to the exlusion of 18% of its citizenry, Arab Palestinians. The Committee has concluded that such demonstrations and such calls for a state of all its citizens either challenge Israel's right to exist, support terror groups or equal incitement!

These elections have been marked by more racist calls for population transfer of the Arabs in Israel from parties such as Yisrael Beitenu and National Union, and even traditionally 'left'/'liberal' parties, like Meretz, are tending to the center-right.

Hassan Jabareen, head of the legal NGO Adalah noted that at no time in the 20th century was any political party banned from running under the platform 'a state for all its citizens' except for the ANC in apartheid South Africa in the 1960s.

In the previous elections, the Balad party - then led by Azmi Bishara, who is currently in exile because he would be tried for treason should he return to Israel; such is the extent of his political persecution - was banned from running in the elections by the committee. The Israeli High Court of Justice overturned that decision and allowed the party to stand. Both parties are expected to file a similar case before the court shortly.

I think now the mask truly has come off. The 'only democratic' state in the Middle East is showing the world its true colours. Dissent is absolutely forbidden. Political dissent will not even be allowed the platform to run in elections! Come one, come all - come see the facade that has fallen apart!

Update: On January 21 The Supreme Court overturned the decision of the Central Elections Committee, allowing both parties to participate in the elections. Victory for democracy? I'm not so sure. Why does a political party that calls for a state for all its citizens and democracy for all have to petition a court to participate in elections? Why does the Arab minority who account for 18% of the population have to be threatened with losing political representation? And why do these parties, who are supposed to be among the people, working with their electorate, spreading their message, have to deal with a court case a few weeks before the election?

1 comment: said...

well this is really insane things.