Democracy, Israeli Style : Arab Parties Banned from Elections

photo of Avigdor Lieberman

Avigdor Lieberman the head of ultra-nationalist party Yisrael Beitenu shown during a party meeting in Jerusalem 23 October 2006, is the driving force behind the ban of the Balad party in Israel. Photo by AFP / Getty Images.

The Arab parties earned the ire of the most hawkish elements in the Israeli government by publicly opposing the ongoing war in the Gaza Strip. Balad likewise made enemies by explicitly calling for equal rights for all citizens of Israel, regardless of national or ethnic identity.

By Jason Ditz | January 12, 2008

By a margin of 26-3, the Israeli Central Elections Committee decided to ban the Balad Party from running in next month’s election. By a margin of 21-8, they also banned the United Arab List-Ta’al (UAL-T). The two bans will prevent more than half of the current Arab members of Israel’s Parliament, the Knesset, from running for reelection.

The Arab parties earned the ire of the most hawkish elements in the Israeli government by publicly opposing the ongoing war in the Gaza Strip. Balad likewise made enemies by explicitly calling for equal rights for all citizens of Israel, regardless of national or ethnic identity, which the ruling Kadima Party said would “undermine Israel’s identity as a Jewish state.”

A handful of Arabs will remain on the ballots across Israel, running for as-yet-unbanned Jewish majority parties, but with the general consensus among most of the population that Israeli Arabs are traitors based purely on their ethnic background, they would seem to have an uphill battle. Many disillusioned Arab voters may not vote at all, now that the only significant Arab parties aren’t allowed on the ballot.

During the discussion, Balad Chairman Jamal Zahalka called the move to ban his party “a test for Israeli democracy” and asked Avigdor Lieberman, the driving force behind the ban, “Why are you afraid of democracy?” Lieberman declared Balad a terrorist organization and said “whoever values life” would understand the need to ban it.

Israeli Central Elections Committee decided to ban the Balad Party from running in next month’s election. By a margin of 21-8, they also banned the United Arab List-Ta’al (UAL-T). The two bans will prevent more than half of the current Arab members of Israel’s Parliament, the Knesset, from running for reelection.

The Arab parties earned the ire of the most hawkish elements in the Israeli government by publicly opposing the ongoing war in the Gaza Strip. Balad likewise made enemies by explicitly calling for equal rights for all citizens of Israel, regardless of national or ethnic identity, which the ruling Kadima Party said would “undermine Israel’s identity as a Jewish state.”

A handful of Arabs will remain on the ballots across Israel, running for as-yet-unbanned Jewish majority parties, but with the general consensus among most of the population that Israeli Arabs are traitors based purely on their ethnic background, they would seem to have an uphill battle. Many disillusioned Arab voters may not vote at all, now that the only significant Arab parties aren’t allowed on the ballot.

During the discussion, Balad Chairman Jamal Zahalka called the move to ban his party “a test for Israeli democracy” and asked Avigdor Lieberman, the driving force behind the ban, “Why are you afraid of democracy?” Lieberman declared Balad a terrorist organization and said “whoever values life” would understand the need to ban it.

Source / Antiwar News

Thanks to Carl Davidson / The Rag Blog

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1 Response to Democracy, Israeli Style : Arab Parties Banned from Elections

  1. I wish Mr. Lieberman would read this:

    What life have you left for us in Palestine and Lebanon to Value?
    The life of Hunger.
    The life of Homelessness.
    The life under the Zionist oppression.
    The Life of “live on what WE give you”.
    The Life of you are a stranger, we “The Israelis” are the Citizen.
    The Life of you are an Animal, we are the Humans protected under Human Rights?
    The life of living in a prison, which is suppose to be our Coutry, our Palestine.
    And you dare to ask “whoever values life”????
    Life for Palestinians has no meanings anymore…Dying while killing or at least trying to Kill an Israeli has more value now, as we will be free or at least when we are dead.

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