Israeli Election Committee Nears Mass Bans on Arab Candidates, Parties

High Court Seen Likely to Reverse Bannings

Israel’s elections are about a month away, and that means a last ditch effort by the Central Elections Committee to ban Arab candidates and Arab parties. This year, the bannings are centering on MP Hanin Zoabi.

Zoabi, a member of the Balad Party, is facing allegations from the far-right that she has “undermined” the military with her policies, and having been on board the aid ship Mavi Marmara when Israeli soldiers killed several aid workers is only adding to the eagerness to kick her out of politics.

Zoabi dismissed the effort as part of the “fascist right’s” effort to destroy freedom of speech and limit the political opposition. Since that self-same far-right is overwhelmingly dominating the parliament, however, the move is likely to pass.

After Zoabi, the Central Elections Committee is also scheduled to discuss the disqualification of the entire rest of Balad, and also the United Arab List Ta’al. The parties were both banned by the committee in 2009, roughly a month before that election.

That time the Israeli High Court of Justice overturned the ban within a matter of weeks, and while MPs are saying this might finally be the time for the court to “take a stand” against Arab politicians running for office, it seems likely the ban will be reversed again.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of