"Don’t take part in a demagogic campaign against the Arab MKs"
Gush Shalom, the Israeli Peace Bloc, calls upon Israel’s citizens and all people of good will to write to the Knesset Ethics Committee and call upon its members not to take part in a demagogic campaign against the Arab Knesset Members, even though it is orchestrated by Prime Minister Netanyahu in person.
Already for months, the government of Israel and its extreme right auxiliaries are conducting a hunting expedition, targeting those who dare to raise their voice against the occupation and speak out for basic human rights.
After Im Tirzu's notorious video clip accusing the most famous Israeli writers and artists of being traitors and foreign agents, there was a strong reaction among the public, forcing the clip’s authors to hastily to retract it. Now, the Prime Minister and his fellows turned to the most convenient scapegoat – the Arab Members of the Knesset. Unfortunately, in this move Netanyahu gained the support of most of the media as well as of the political system - not only from government supporters but also from the so-called ‘opposition’.
The Prime Minister also appealed to the general public to pour even more oil on the flames, to write to the Knesset Ethics Committee complaints against Knesset Members Jamal Zahalka, Hanin Zoabi and Basel Ghattas, and to demand that severe measures be taken against them. We of Gush Shalom appeal to the public to send to the Ethics Committee requests of an altogether different kind, and call upon members of the committee to act with responsibility and discretion.
Messages to the Knesset Ethics Committee can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org Ph +972-2-6408295 / +972-2-6408296 Fax +972-2-6496522 https://knesset.gov.il/committees/heb/vaada.asp?vaada=14
With copies to the four members of the Ethics Committee
Chair: MK Yitchak Vaknin email@example.com
Members MK Eyal Ben Reuven firstname.lastname@example.org
MK Yusef Jabareen Jabareen@knesset.gov.il
MK Rachel Azaria email@example.com
You can use the following text, adding your name and address, or a text of your own
Adam Keller, Gush Shalom Spokesperson +972-(0)54-2340749
To Members of Knesset Ethics Committee The Knesset, Jerusalem
In recent days, Prime Minister Netanyahu has been conducting a massive campaign of demagoguery against Knesset Members Jamal Zahalka, Hanin Zoabi and Basel Ghattas, asking you of the Knesset Ethics Committee to take sever measures against them. Moreover, the PM called upon the general public to lodge with the Ethics Comittee complaints against the three. I would like to send you a message of a different kind, and call upon you to act with discretion and not let yourselves and your committee be used as the tools of an inflammatory demagogic campaign.
We would like to remind the Ethics Committee that in going to meet with Palestinian families, the three MKs of the Balad Party (Arab National Democratic Assembly) had a very specific and openly declared aim: to resolve a difficult humanitarian problem – namely, the government policy of holding on to the bodies of killed Palestinians and refusing to return them to their families for burial.
This is a very controversial policy, which is also strongly disputed in the military and security system itself, opposed among others by the Minister of Defense and the IDF Chief of Staff.
It should also be noted that there is a fundamental difference of attitude between Israel's Jewish citizens and their Arab fellows with regard to what is called ‘the wave of terror‘ in recent months.
The great majority of Israeli Jews are fully convinced that all Palestinian who were ‘neutralized’ and killed by soldiers and police were dangerous terrorists who ‘deserved to die' and that there had been no cases of an excessive use of force.
Among the Arab public in Israel, the opinions on these issues are quite different. The Arab Knesset Members, who have won the vote of hundreds of thousands of citizens, are committed to represent in Knesset to represent the opinions of their own voters – not those of the Likud Party or ‘The Zionist Camp’.
Finally, it is worth noting that in recent years, Israel faces an increasing tide of worldwide critics asserting that ‘Israel is an Apartheid state'. Against such accusations, a staple argument used by the government’s ‘hasbara’ propagandists is to point to the Arab citizens of Israel having the suffrage and taking an active part in Knesset elections (glossing over the fact that no such rights were granted to the Palestinians living under Israeli military rule for the past 48 years). Those who use the Arab MKs as a fig leaf in international propaganda campaigns cannot at the same time attack those same Knesset Members for acting in accordance with the mandate of their voters".