Israeli Parliament Bans Arab MP From Running for Reelection

Efforts to Ban All Arab Parties Narrowly Fail

by Jason Ditz, December 19, 2012

In what has become a pre-election ritual the Israeli Knesset’s Central Elections Committee (CEC) began proceedings today on calls from the ruling coalition to ban a myriad of MPs and parties from contesting reelction.

Today’s only successful ban came against Arab MP Haneen Zoabi, who was on the Mavi Marmara aid ship the Israeli Navy attacked. The right-wing MPs on the committee argued that this amounted to “supporting terrorism” with Likud MP Danny Danon arguing that “Democracy must have its limits” and Zoabi’s place is prison.

Efforts to ban all Arab parties from contesting the election narrowly failed, and the next round of discussions will focus on calls to ban the Israeli religious right for “discriminating against women.”

Officials expressed confidence that Zoabi’s ban would stand, but despite the CEC’s tendency to ban candidates and parties before virtually every vote, the Israeli High Court has almost uniformly overturned those bans. The only ban which has ever stood up in court was the 1988 banning of Rabbi Meir Kahane for overtly calling for the mass expulsion of all non-Jews from the country.

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