Arab MKs Can't Give Up and Boycott Elections, That's What the Right Wants

They could save themselves endless humiliation and allow the Knesset into something truly representative – a Jewish, racially pure, elected legislature of the chosen people.

Gideon Levy
Gideon Levy
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Arab-Israeli parliament members and candidates join hands after the announcement of the Joint Arab List in upcoming elections, February 2, 2015.
Arab-Israeli Knesset members and candidates join hands after the announcement of the Joint Arab List in upcoming elections, February 2, 2015.Credit: Reuters
Gideon Levy
Gideon Levy

The initial temptation is to suggest to the Arab Knesset members that they just quit the Knesset and call for a boycott of the next general election. Enough is enough. The most recent attack on them has gone too far. Go home, Arab MKs, save yourselves endless humiliation and turn the Knesset into something truly representative – a Jewish, racially pure, elected legislature of the chosen people, the parliament of the Jewish-Jewish state.

Pull the mask off the face of this fabricated democracy that Israeli propaganda flashes at everyone, as if the fact that you sit in the Knesset is proof that Israel isn’t an apartheid state. Show Israelis and the world this country’s true face. Remind everyone that the third-largest Knesset faction, the Joint Arab List, is an illusionary faction. It’s not really in the Knesset.

On second thought, that’s just what the right would want. Which is why you can’t.

Israeli Jews want a Jewish Knesset. If necessary, they can always adorn it with Druze like Ayoub Kara (Likud) and Hamad Amar (Yisrael Beiteinu), MKs who will sing “Hatikva,” and stand silent when they’re told to, with preference to those who have served in the Border Police and abused Palestinians. They want Arabs who will celebrate Independence Day and forget Nakba Day; who will visit Auschwitz and eat matza; who will call a 12-year-old girl with scissors a “terrorist” and the security guard who killed her a “hero.” Arabs who will call the killing of a border policewoman in the occupied territories “murder,” who will justify every killing of a Palestinian, and who will condemn terror – by Palestinians of course.

Let them condemn and condemn, every day, perhaps every hour. Let them thank Lord Balfour, admire David Ben-Gurion, worship Ariel Sharon, dream of Sheldon Adelson, and join Yisrael Beiteinu. Let them name squares in Kafr Qasem after Israel Defense Forces generals, and alleys in Taibeh after rabbis. That’s the way we want them – to be and think like us.

That’s the real context of the unbelievable incitement campaign against three MKs from the Arab Joint List’s Balad faction, who did their jobs and faithfully represented the feelings of their voters by visiting the families of slain terrorists – a campaign that has set a new record for disgrace and populism.

Joining the regular shrill right-wing chorus, from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on down, including Yair Lapid, who will never miss an opportunity to pander to the mob, we this time heard voices from the “radical left”: Ilan Gilon of Meretz said the Arab MKs had “lost their moral compass.” Et tu, Brute? And where is your moral compass?

Alongside them, naturally, were the usual inciters, Israel Hayom (“The audacity of the Arab MKs”), Yedioth Aharonoth and the army of propagandist commentators on television. A merry choir.

Almost no one came to the Arab MKs’ defense; no one dared speak the truth – that meeting with those whose loved ones’ bodies are being used by Israel for profiteering is not only their right, but their duty. These families are their people, and their country is abusing them. Were they not supposed to intervene? And if they identify with the Palestinian struggle, even the violent struggle, just as our people identified with our violent struggle – that’s not their right? And if we trample on their feelings and make their faction illegal, they’ll just disappear?

Let’s just say that all the Palestinian dead were “terrorists” earmarked for death – something that has not stood the test of reality – why are their families to blame? Why can’t MKs try to help them? You don’t need the justice minister to meet with the family of a Jewish terrorist from Duma to know that what’s behind all this is nationalism and contemptible incitement. What’s behind all this is the desire for all Palestinians, including Israeli Arabs, to just disappear. If we can’t get rid of them, we can eliminate their consciousness. We’ll occupy that as well. We’ll force them to think like us; we’ll train them to be the type of Israelis we like. That’s the essence of Israeli democracy.

My dear propagandists, the next time Israel is accused of apartheid, don’t forget the crushing comeback: Israeli Arabs are “represented” in the Knesset.

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