Israel to Ban Arab Parties
Israel on Monday banned Arab political parties from running in next month’s parliamentary elections, drawing accusations of racism by an Arab lawmaker who said he would challenge the decision in the country’s Supreme Court.
The ruling by parliament’s Central Election Committee reflected the heightened tensions between Israel’s Jewish majority and Arab minority caused by Israel’s offensive in the Gaza Strip. Arabs have held a series of demonstrations against the offensive.
Parliament spokesman Giora Pordes said the election committee voted overwhelmingly in favor of the motion, accusing the country’s Arab parties of incitement, supporting terrorist groups and refusing to recognize Israel’s right to exist. Arab lawmakers have traveled to some of Israel’s staunchest enemies, including Lebanon and Syria.
I really can’t think of a single good reason for this. For one, in a democratic government, no party should be banned from running for office. Second, singling out and removing Arab participation from the government is only going to serve to isolate and radicalize those portions of the population that support those parties. Third, this move sends the message that Israel is unwilling to integrate Arabs into its governance, which makes any settlement with the Palestinians less likely. Finally, it’s going to truly piss off a lot of people in Egypt and Jordan, and accordingly make it harder for those governments to work with Israel.
In other words, this action by the Central Election Committee manages to be simultaneously immoral, stupid, and impractical. That’s impressive even by government standards.
(cross-posted to Heretical Ideas)