Israeli Arab MK Mohammad Barakeh
Israeli Arab MK Mohammad Barakeh during a Knesset plenum on June 2, 2010 dealing with the Gaza flotilla raid. Photo by Tomer Appelbaum
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Now that around 10 members of Knesset were ejected from the plenum on Wednesday- an unusually large number - we are left with no choice but to consider the possibility of expelling all 120 MKs and dissolving the parliament. This subpar Knesset has no recourse but to head to new elections so that a new parliament can be constituted. This is only on condition, however, that the public will (for a change) be discriminating enough to oust the riffraff. Truth be told, though, the chances of this happening are slim.
 

Today many citizens will surely tsk-tsk and say things like, “Oh, what a Knesset we have, it’s unbelievable.” Or: “They should be ashamed of themselves over the poor example they are setting.” However, it would behoove the citizens - both Jews and Arabs - to remember that it is they who sent the MKs to the Knesset out of their own free will and gave them the right to represent them.


There have been stormy sessions in the past. It’s not a big deal, since our house of representatives is not the House of Lords, and many of those unruly sessions occur during the most tumultuous periods of our lives, moments that whip up a frenzy. But a session like this has not been seen before. MKs rampaged as if they were under the influence of drugs, hollered like a crane with a fish stuck in its throat. As though in the throes of hysteria, they stood up and sat down, sat down and stood up again, the better to hurl epithets. They scampered around as if they had forgotten their Ritalin at home.


For the first time in its history, the Knesset came dangerously close to fisticuffs, with only a small step separating an exchange of words and an exchange of blows.


Reports from the scene spoke of an escalation. This is a mistake. This wasn’t an escalation, but a descent straight down to the bottom. The Knesset jumped headfirst into the public swimming pool, which has long been drained of goodwill and confidence.
 

I have never harbored any sympathy for MKs whose stock-in-trade is provocation. Without it, who would know that they exist? Hanin Zuabi boarded the ship to grab center stage, and Miri Regev sent her to Gaza by employing colloquial Arabic because she too wants to live the good life and grab a few crumbs from the grown-up table.


If only they could surmise how similar they are to one another, and how Anastassia Michaeli is similar to both of them. If they only had more self-awareness they would have spared us those images.


I am all for MKs who neither spit or whistle, who don’t tear up documents at the podium and don’t use props. I’m all for MKs whose megaphone - whether at sea or on land - is their ability to speak their mind eloquently and convincingly. A bit of humor wouldn’t hurt either, especially if it’s of the self-effacing kind.


Don’t think for a moment that the vitriol on either side was born of genuine outrage. Everything was pre-planned and calculated to gain the public’s adoration, whatever the constituency.