Israeli Former Supreme Court Justice Condemns Netanyahu's 'Wretched' Remarks About Arabs

Salim Joubran responds after Netanyahu said Arab parties are forming an obstructive bloc and 'working to eliminate the State of Israel'

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Justice Salim Joubran in the  Supreme Court, May 10, 2017
Justice Salim Joubran in the Supreme Court, May 10, 2017Credit: Emil Salman

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's warnings of an obstructive bloc of Arab parties "have no place here," Israeli former Supreme Court justice Salim Joubran said on Tuesday.

"They're unnecessary, wretched, and an insult all the Arab citizens in the country," Joubran said, calling for the prime minister to recant his statements.

>> Read more: After collapse of Joint List, Israeli Arabs fear poor election outcome | Analysis ■ The real reason for Netanyahu's ferocious attacks on Israel's Arab citizens | Opinion

On Thursday, Netanyahu delivered a speech saying that Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid's Kahol Lavan alliance "is relying on an obstructive bloc of Arab parties that are working to eliminate the State of Israel." He added that voters need to decide between "a new left-wing government headed by Lapid and Gantz, with an obstructive bloc of Arab parties, or a strong right-wing government" led by Netanyahu.

"A right-wing, Zionist obstructive bloc is forbidden, but an obstructive bloc of Arab parties that are working to eliminate the State of Israel is legitimate," Netanyahu said.

Joubran was interviewed for Esti Perez's program on Kan Bet public radio and said that he was "very bothered" by the statements.

"These citizens are legitimate, not invalid, contemptable, or lepers," he said. "The prime minister would have done well to act differently, respectfully, toward all the citizens of this state, including Arab citizens."

The former Supreme Court justice said that although the prime minister is "in a stressful position," he cannot "cling to the Arab issue."

"The citizens are citizens of the state," he said. "True, they are not equal citizens – and that's another story, that I hope we will receive full rights – but in the meantime, we are full citizens in every respect. Arab parties are permitted to run for Knesset. We can elect and be elected and make agreements with other parties and form an obstructive bloc."

He emphasized that it is not just Netanyahu, but also "many ministers and senior Knesset members playing on this issue. We cannot ignore the existence of 1.8 million citizens who have the most legitimate right to organize themselves into parties and do their best to represent the interests of the Arab citizen."

Joubran added: "The prime minister and Knesset members have many additional tools with which to attack parties that threaten Likud; why do they always need to use the Arab issue?"

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