INTO THE FRAY: Time to bar the Joint List

 For your perusal, my latest INTO THE FRAY column

Time to bar the Joint List

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The tenets of “defensive democracy” require Israel to act against those who would use its democracy to undermine the very foundations on which it is founded

It appears this week on the following sites (in alphabetical order):



Several short excerpts

Clause 7A of Basic Law: Knesset:

  1. A candidates’ list shall not participate in elections to the Knesset, and a person shall not be a candidate for election to the Knesset, if the objects or actions of the list or the actions of the person, expressly or by implication, include one of the following:
  1. negation of the existence of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state;
  2. incitement to racism;
  3. support of armed struggle, by a hostile state or a terrorist organization, against the State of Israel. 

Israel’s declaration of Independence:
On the 29th November, 1947, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution calling for the establishment of a Jewish State in Eretz-Israel…This recognition by the United Nations of the right of the Jewish people to establish their State is irrevocable. This right is the natural right of the Jewish people to be masters of their own fate, like all other nations, in their own sovereign State…. Accordingly, we, members of the People’s Council, representatives of the Jewish Community of Eretz-Israel and of the Zionist Movement… hereby declare the establishment of a Jewish state in Eretz-Israel, to be known as the State of Israel.

Two recent events underscored just how distorted the democratic practice in the nation-state of the Jews has become, and how detached it has become from the laws that are purported to regulate it.

The sacrosanct taboo?

Rabin remembrance rally

The first was the unanimous disqualification  by the Knesset’s Central Election Committee of the newly formed party of Larissa Trimbobler-Amir, wife of Yigal Amir imprisoned for the assassination of Yizhak Rabin…As heinous one might believe the actions for which Amir was convicted may be, questioning the official version is not by any stretch of the imagination an expression of support for a foreign power or a terror organization, a denial of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state, nor an incitement to racism.

“…on the altar of annexation…”

MK Ofer Kassif, Joint List, blames Israel for Palestinian terror

The second event was the ramming attack against IDF soldiers in the early hours of Thursday (Feb. 6, 2020), when a Palestinian-Arab drove his vehicle into the group, injuring at least 12, one seriously…Ofer Kassif, the sole Jewish Knesset member of the dominantly Arab Joint List, responded to the attack as follows: “The liters of blood that was split last night was not the result of a divine decree but of Balfour (a reference to PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s residence) with the collaboration of the White House. Netanyahu … will sacrifice both Palestinians and Israelis (including soldiers) on the altar of annexation.  

Innate & enduring enmity—both individual and collective

In previous columns, I have cataloged the innate and enduring enmity shown by the Knesset members of the Arab parties comprising the Joint List towards the founding ethos of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people, and their unequivocal identification with Israel’s most vehement enemies–see for example here…Indeed, even a cursory perusal of the official platforms both of the Joint List itself and its component factions reflect a stark rejection of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people as set out in the Declaration of Independence and an equally stark violation of the letter (and spirit) of the Basic Law: Knesset stipulating the conditions for participating in the national parliamentary elections.

Clear contravention of conditions 

…even more perturbing is the platform of the Joint List itself, today the third largest party in the Israeli legislature (!), which promulgates: “..rejection of the Israeli demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state…Elsewhere it proclaims: “We will work to enact a Basic Law, whose fundamental principle will be civic equality for all citizens based on individual and group human rights,   will provide the legal basis for egalitarian political participation in a state-of-all-its-citizens.”

Undermining national security

Balald founder Azmi Bishara, fled Israel because of aiding Hezbollah (L) ; Balad MK Basel Ghattas. convicted of smuggling cell-phones to imprisoned terrorists (R)

But the Joint List’s platform does not only focus on legislation that defines the dominant Jewish nature of Israel. It also promotes actions that would undermine its national security…Thus, for example, its platform declares that: “The Joint List will act to annul all the laws and programs entailing enlistment in the military or for national service”; and elsewhere: “the Joint List will act to …oppose any law or program for military or civilian service in Arab society.”…[B]y utter rejection of  participation of Arab society, not only in any format of collective contribution to the security of the state, but also to the wider civil society of Israel, the Joint List unambiguously endorses the detachment of Arab society, as a whole, from any role in shaping the fate of the country and the eschewing of any partnership in a shared destiny for the future.

Time for defensive democracy to kick in

Commitment to the tenets of democratic governance, societal pluralism and socio-cultural tolerance is not a suicide pact. Indeed, as one prominent philosopher of the last century astutely pointed out: “In order to maintain a tolerant society, the society must be intolerant of intolerance.“…It is time for defensive democracy to kick in …This of course, does not mean that the Arab citizens of Israel should not be permitted to vote, only that they will not be able to vote for parties that reject the very basis on which the state was founded.

Any further leniency in this regard will lead to disaster – for Jew and Arab alike.

As usual your talkbacks/comments/critiques welcome,

Best wishes,


#IntoFray,  #Israel, #Palestinian, #Knesset, #Hamas, #Elections, #Democracy

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