25 thoughts on “Knesset Stifles Voice of Israeli-Palestinian MK – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. I -would- call it a democracy, albeit one that’s quite flawed in several aspects, and requiring several fundamental changes in its practices. I was unaware of Shabak consistently investigating the Arab MKs on a constant basis; obviously, such a practice should be discontinued.

    1. If you’re unaware of the Shabak investigating the Arab MK’s on a constant basis – and ALL other Israeli Palestinians involved in political and even purely social work – how could you say that Israel is a democracy, even a flawed one. You might as well that you don’t know what you’re talking about !

      And with the new anti-boycott-law, Israel is definitely no democracy. You should read some of the numerous articles at ‘972mag’ on that topic.

      1. I was unaware because… well, I never saw the claim before. I generally try to keep myself aware of the political situation in Israel by looking at various sources of information, from 972 to the old Progressive Zionism blog.

        The anti-boycott law is indeed problematic as a major curb on freedom of expression, of which I am against. A number of countries have such laws that prevent free speech, or problematic laws considering other topics. However, I do not believe that it automatically nullifies the democratic nature of a nation.

        1. Excuse me for asking, but what is the different between the anti-boycott law in Israel and then following:
          “During the mid-1970’s the United States adopted two laws that seek to counteract the participation of U.S. citizens in other nation’s economic boycotts or embargoes. These “antiboycott” laws are the 1977 amendments to the Export Administration Act (EAA) and the Ribicoff Amendment to the 1976 Tax Reform Act (TRA). While these laws share a common purpose, there are distinctions in their administration.”

          Let me save you the search, in the US there is a criminal aspect to the law, and those who violate it may be imprisoned. In Israel, not so much.


          1. No search needed, as that little bit of hasbara has already been addressed by ACRI (Association for Civil Rights in Israel) From their pdf:

            The major differences can be summarized in five points:

            1. US legislation bans only participation in boycott, the Israeli legislation bans also calls for boycott.

            2. US legislation only restricts participation in a boycott initiated by a foreign government; Israeli
            legislation restricts all boycotts of Israel and the settlements.,

            3. In the US, the federal government is the sole body charged with enforcing the law, and there is no
            opening for the intervening action of private bodies.

            4. US law grants special protection to the boycott as an expression of conscience; the Israeli law not
            only does not protect it as an expression, but now formally says that boycott is a non-legitimate
            expression (only when it is a call for boycott of Israel or a territory under the control of Israel) .

            5. The wording of the Israeli law is so vague that it could apply to any boycott of any Israeli citizen or
            body for almost any reason. And as such causes a “chilling effect” on all boycotts, and on freedom
            of speech.

            Regarding the Israeli law:

            The Israeli legislation is broader and more comprehensive than its US counterpart in several key aspects:

            The most important is that the EAA is limited – it makes it unlawful for an American citizen to knowingly
            and intentionally support or participate in a boycott of Israel, only when “pursuant to an agreement with, a
            requirement of, or a request from or on behalf of the [foreign] boycotting country.” 1

            There is historical background to the EAA and its prohibition of boycotts initiated by foreign countries. The act was legislated as a means of counteracting the Arab League’s organized boycott of Israel. It is clear
            from the legislative history that Congress wanted to prevent a coordinated attempt to limit American
            companies and individuals from doing business with Israel. It was never their intent to limit American
            citizens and businesses from acting upon their conscience.

            In America, boycotts have especially protected status – they are considered expressive activity and thus
            enjoy the protections of free speech that are enshrined in US legislation. Any attempt to limit what citizens
            are allowed to buy, what they can convince others to purchase or call on them not to purchase, is viewed
            as an attack on the very heart of freedom of speech.

            more at link


          2. Not to mention that one of the seminal acts of colonial rebellion against Britain was the Boston Tea Party. The U.S. would never institute such a draconian law as Israel did.

        2. @ Benjamin
          “A number of countries have such laws that prevent free speech”
          Which democratic countries have such a law ? Some examples would be nice instead of such a vague statement which is a ‘Hasbara’ reply.
          The anti-boycott law in Israel is a further discrimination against the Palestinians – on both side of the Green Line. You’re not any longer allowed to propose BDS as sanctions against their oppression.
          Ahmad Tibi said once that ‘Israel is democratic for Jews, and Jewish for the Arabs’. It isn’t even true any longer. ‘Arab-lovers’ have been criminalized by this law too.

          1. Genocide denial speech. Instances classified as hate speech. In Greece, insulting the President. Other instances that one could go on about.

            I may be disgusted by the hatred that so many people espouse, but there is exactly -one- instance in which I believe that speech should be curtailed, i.e. preventing the name of victims of sexual assault from being published in the media.

            Yhis isn’t to justify the latest round of idiocy by the Israeli government, but rather to illustrate various curvatures to speech in the world.

        3. Israel is not a democracy because about a third of it’s residents are denied citizenship because of ethnicity.

          Everything else – from heavy discrimination to dozens of undemocratic laws to the intrinsically racist nature of judaism and of a jewish state – is just a bonus.

    2. A democracy provides the same rights and protections for all its citizens, not just a coddled few. Israel therefore is not a democracy but something else.

  2. This is indeed a sad day for Israel.
    This parliament is terrible and should be replaced ASAP.
    A number of stupid and harmful laws have been passed.
    In addition, depriving a parliament member of her voice is an anti democratic act that needs to be reversed.
    I say that as an Israeli who disagrees with most of what Zuabi stands for, yet, she was elected and as such must be granted the full rights of an elected parliament member.

    1. The problem is whether the citizens of Israel will not reinstate more or less the same parliament in the new elections. At present, this possibility seems too much likely.
      Probably Bibi’s govt. should be allowed to remain in power till the end of 2011, in order to cope with the diplomatic fiasco that is expectable at the coming session of UNGA (and hopefully, with economic protests within Israel, which may now be taking root with the housing issue). Perhaps that will lead the citizens of Israel to elect a really different Knesset.

    2. The problem is — Israel has an endless procession of “sad days” in which the slide into fascism just reaches newer and newer lows.

  3. Seems like you forgot to mention few things:
    1. It is for her role in the Gaza flotilla.
    2. It’s for a period of 2.5 weeks – until the end of the current parliamentary season.

    In my opinion the Knesset ethics committee shouldn’t have done so.

    If publications in Israel are correct, and the Palmrr report will conclude that the Blockade on Gaza is legal, The Attorney General of Israel, who is currently reviewing whether or not there was any criminal act in the fact that she (and any other Israeli) participated in the Flotilla, will most likely decide to sue her.
    If i am right, and she will be sued, the court should decide on the appropriate action (raed salah & yonathan shapira are two other names that come to mind).
    If i am wrong and there was no criminal act in her conduct, then the Ethics committee had no grounds for her actions.

    1. I should post the “good news” that the Knesset considered but rejected a law which would further destroy what little is left of Israeli democracy? If I wrote about this then I’d be writing about thousands of such potential disasters averted in the nick of time by legislatures around the world. The real problem is that this legislature, unlike in other democracies, doesn’t value democracy. I”ll tell you what: get the Knesset to pass a law that protects Israeli democracy & I’ll gladly report it here.

      1. I’d write about it if only to highlight the importance of Israeli and international pressure on Netanyahu and his government. It does work – without it I could imagine him supporting the laws.

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