The Supreme Court on overturned the Central Election Committee’s decision to disqualify MK Hanin Zoabi (Balad) from running for a seat in the coming elections.
Sunday’s ruling, by a special panel of nine judges headed by Supreme Court President Asher Grunis, was unanimous.
“The court’s decision proves that the attempts to have me disqualified were the result of political and personal persecution against me, against my party and against the Arab public as a whole,” Zoabi said in a statement released moments after the ruling.
“The motions to have me disqualified were devoid of any legal merit. Still, this ruling does little to erase the threats, delegitimization and physical and verbal abuse that I have endured – in and outside the Knesset – over the past three years.”
But Ms. Zouabi, threats, delegitimization and abuse are a two-way street. Why is it OK for you to threaten, abuse and delegitimize your own country by consorting with known terrorists, and yet it is disallowed when aimed back at you? You are a hypocrite madam.
The ruling, she added, “Proves that the Election Committee abused its authority. Balad and I will not be deterred by the delegitimization attempts made against us.
“We won’t allow anyone – in or outside of the Knesset – to decide the Arab public’s position or limit our political aspirations. We will continue fighting against racism and the occupation and we will continue to dutifully represent the Arab public.”
Attorney Hassan Jabarin, head of Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, who represented Zoabi, welcomed the decision: “All disqualification motions against Arab parties and Knesset members over the past 15 years had no legal merit and were meant only to delegitimize elected Arab pubic officials.
“Zoabi’s case is different because there was also an attempt by the Right wing of the Knesset to portray her at a terrorist, despite the fact the she has never been accused of any crime.
Ah, but she was accused of a crime, only it never got past the Knesset ethics committee. Zouabi is guilty of abusing her Knesset diplomatic immunity.
The Likud-Beiteinu campaign issued a statement following the Supreme Court’s decision saying it was “regrettable.”"We regret the Supreme Court’s decision to allow MK Zoabi to vie for a Knesset seat. Given the court’s interpretation of the law it is obvious that the law must change and clearly state that anyone supporting terror is automatically disqualified from being a Knesset member.
“The Likud and Yisrael Beiteinu will use their next parliamentary term to amend the existing law.”
I’ll believe it when I see it. The Supreme Court as it stands will never allow it. It is a vicious circle that will never be broken as long as the Supreme Court considers itself the ultimate arbiter in Israeli politics. But I suppose we can always live in hope.
MK Ofir Akunis (Likud), who promoted the bid to disqualify Zoabi issued the following statement: “After two years of considerable efforts to have MK Zoabi disqualified – out of the deep belief that democracy has the right to defend itself against those who seek to destroy it from the inside – the court has spoken.
“I deeply regret the Supreme Court’s decision, but I respect it. I will continue to use the parliamentary tools at my disposal to protect and fortify Israeli democracy.”
He may respect the Court’s decision but I don’t, and I think very many Israelis will feel the same way – betrayed and abused in the name of some spurious “democracy” that seeks to do well with its detractors while condemning those who defend it.
MK Yuval Zellner (Kadima) echoed the sentiment: “I regret the Supreme Court’s ruling regarding MK Zoabi. She systematically and actively acted against IDF soldiers and the values of the State of Israel.
“Unfortunately, instead of focusing of promoting the legitimate needs of her constituents, Zoabi acted foolishly and compromised the fragile coexistence between Arabs and Jews.”
I’m very glad that Kadima joined in the condemnation of the Court’s decision, given that Kadima is positioning itself as center-left on the Israeli political spectrum.
MK Danny Danon (Likud) stated that while he respected the court’s decision, he found it “unacceptable.”
“Today, the court decided to back the Marmara’s terrorist instead of the Navy Commandos, using Zoabi’s parliamentary immunity as a shield. Zoabi belongs is prison.”
Danon stated that once the new Knesset is sworn in, he intends to promote a bill that would ensure that the Election Committee’s right to disqualify lists whose members incite racism or negate the existence of Israel, is upheld. The Election Committee jurisdiction on the matter is detailed in Basic Law: The Knesset.
“The ‘Zoabi law’ will be enacted and she can be sure that her days in the Knesset are numbered,” Danon exclaimed.
I wish him luck with that. The Supreme Court considers itself above the law in that it has taken upon itself to decide which law is legal in its eyes, instead of doing its job and simply judging cases on their merits according to those very laws created by the Knesset. In other words the Supreme Court has erased the line between the legislature (the Knesset) and the Judiciary (itself). It considers and has made itself judge, jury and executioner. That was supposed to have disappeared in democracies. So either Israel is not a democracy or the Supreme Court is breaking the law.
Attorney Nidal Othman, of the Coalition against Racism, welcomed the decision: “The court proved today that it was a beacon of sanity in the midst of the racist atmosphere in Israel.
“The Elections Committee’s racist decision was overturned by the Supreme Court, which upheld its duty as the protector of elected officials. The Elections Committee’s racist decision made a mockery of the principles of democracy. It is only right that the power to disqualify (lists) is removed from its hands and placed with a legislative authority.”
Yup, Israel is racist alright. Anti-Israeli racist. It allows Arab parties and Arab MKs, Arab judges and now Arab supporters of terrorists. And now show me any Arab country that allows Jewish political parties, Jewish members of Parliament (assuming they have a functioning Parliament at all) and Jewish judges.
The right is often accused of being paranoid, but just because you may be paranoid does not mean they’re not out to get you. And that is the distinct feeling that one gets from the Supreme Court decision.