- js reader version
- view hidden posts
- tags and related articles
Wednesday, Jan. 08, 2003 at 12:15 AM
A Decision That Hurts Israeli Democracy
January 6, 2003
By DAVID NEWMAN
Even amid conflict, Israelis have always applauded
themselves for allowing anyone to run for office -
including those who reject the very raison d'être of a
Only rarely has a political party been banned from the
elections, the most notable being Kach, the extreme
rightist anti-Arab party founded by Meir Kahane.
But now, with a round of Knesset elections three weeks
away, Israel has much less reason for pride. While Mr.
Kahane's successor, Baruch Marzel, was allowed to run for
office as the No. 2 candidate for another extreme rightist
party, the two most prominent Arab legislators in the
outgoing Knesset, Ahmed Tibi and Azmi Bishara, were barred
by the Central Election Committee last week.
The committee, composed of representatives of the parties
that have Knesset seats and two neutral members (both of
whom opposed the decision), described Mr. Tibi and Mr.
Bishara as consistently expressing opposition to the
existence of a Jewish state (as contrasted with a state of
"all its citizens" in which everyone is equal, Jew or
Arab). Under Israeli law, such opposition bars a person's
candidacy. Mr. Bishara was also accused of supporting armed
resistance in the occupied territories, an accusation he
Mr. Marzel, whose candidacy was in danger because of his
association with the banned Kach, could run, the committee
members decided, because he had assured them that he no
longer held to the racist policies of Kach - even though he
is often shown on television promoting "transfer," a code
word for the expulsion of the Palestinians from the West
Bank and Gaza.
The final decision on Mr. Tibi's and Mr. Bishara's
candidacies now rests with the Supreme Court, which is
scheduled to hear the candidates' appeals tomorrow. But
even if the court overturns the ban, Israeli Arab voters'
faith in the election system has been broken. The message
could not be clearer: if you are a Jewish extremist, you
can go on the campaign trail. But if you belong to the Arab
minority and do not openly toe the government line, you
cannot be part of the election game.
In the elections held for prime minister just two years
ago, one factor in the defeat of Prime Minister Ehud Barak
was the Arab minority's boycott of the polls. This was seen
by most political commentators as a dangerous step toward
voluntary disenfranchisement of 20 percent of the country.
Arab politicians have worked hard to convince their
constituents that the way to achieve greater economic and
social equality - and to realize the goal of a state for
their Palestinian cousins - is by engaging in the political
But such efforts may now have been in vain. With their two
most outspoken representatives banned, Israeli Arabs are
saying that once again, they will stay away from the polls.
Even if the Supreme Court allows Mr. Tibi and Mr. Bishara
to run, Israeli Arabs will remain reluctant to vote,
because the message of the election committee has been
heard loud and clear in Arab towns and villages.
Who can blame them? No Israeli prime minister has ever
given leaders of the Arab parties significant positions of
power. The argument used to justify the exclusion has been
that cabinet discussions are too sensitive to include
representatives with Palestinian sympathies.
The ban on Mr. Tibi and Mr. Bishara demonstrates that it is
only a short step from excluding parties from the cabinet
to excluding their representatives altogether. By not
protesting this exclusion from government positions, we
have paved the way for the more extreme antidemocracy
measures last week. No matter the decision of the Supreme
Court tomorrow, the damage to Israeli democracy has been
David Newman is professor of political geography at Ben
Gurion University of the Negev.
Report this post as:
LATEST COMMENTS ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 1 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
Change Links September 2018 posted
More Scandals Rock Southern California Nuke Plant San Onofre
Site Outage Friday
Change Links August 2018
Setback for Developer of SC Farm Land
More problems at Shutdown San Onofre Nuke
Change Links 2018 July posted
More Pix: "Families Belong Together," Pasadena
"Families Belong Together" March, Pasadena
Short Report on the Families Belong Together Protest in Los Angeles
Summer 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert!
Watch the Debate: Excluded Candidates for Governor of California
Change Links June 2018 posted
The Montrose Peace Vigil at 12 Years
Unity Archive Project
Dianne Feinstein's Promotion of War, Secret Animal Abuse, Military Profiteering, Censorshi
CA Senate Bill 1303 would require an independent coroner rather than being part of police
Three years after OC snitch scandal, no charges filed against sheriffs deputies
California police agencies violate Brown Act (open meetings)
Insane Company Wants To Send Nuke Plant Waste To New Mexico
Change Links May 2018
Worker-Owned Car Wash on Vermont Closed
GUIDE TO REBEL CITY LOS ANGELES AVAILABLE
lausd whistle blower
Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images
UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light
Change Links April 2018
More Local News...
Against the Rent Madness and For a Nonprofit Orientation!
Cybermonde, cyberguerre, cyberespace, cyberterrorisme
Paraphysique de psychosomatique
Chuck Grassley: Women Abusing, Animal Murdering, Illegal War Supporting Criminal
Finance Capitalism and the Digital Economy
Muselières syndicales, muselières patronales
Jeff Bezos, Amazon, The Washington Post, Whole Foods, Etc
Why Choose Nut Milk Over Cows' Milk
Antrhopocène, le grand effondrement
The Dictatorship of Corporations
18 Lethal Consequences Of Hunting
Paraphysique de l'outplacement déontologue
Shopping du bashing
After Lehman Brothers, Experts Say Global Financial Crisis Can Happen Again
“Animaniacs in Concert!” Starring Voice Legend Rob Paulsen
Probabilités de fin d'humanité
Florida Area of Migrant Farmworkers Denied Right to Construct Health Clinic near NaplesCIW
Steer clear of work morality!
The Shortwave Report 09/07/18 Listen Globally!
August 2018 Honduras Coup update
Brett Kavanaugh Filled The 5th Circuit With Execution Judges
Augusta Georgia Woman Gets 5 Year Prison Sentence for Writing About Russians Crime Acts
Paraphysique de contextualité
Crisis Regulation in Global Capitalism
Ex-voto de réification
Please Oppose Warmonger, Execution and Torture Supporting Bush Operative Brett Kavanaugh
Paraphysique d'exploitation occultation
More Breaking News...