A Middle East Update, 18 Dec 2002

Paul Flewers hatchet.job at virgin.net
Thu Dec 19 15:35:02 MST 2002

A Middle East Update, 18 dec 2002List members may be interested in this
message I received from Moshé Machover.

Apropos of the below, list members may also be interested that I and Al
Richardson, the editor of Revolutionary History, were berated by Sean
Matgamna and accused of holding an implicitly anti-Semitic position because
we opposed Israel's determination of its right of citizenship on the
criterion of nationality/ethnicity/religion. Our opposition to such a
criterion, he said, was effectively denying the right of Israel to exist,
and was therefore anti-Semitic. Both Al and I pointed out that we supported
a position that considers that Israel/Palestine should be one unitary state
in which all citizens would enjoy equal rights regardless of religion,
ethnicity or nationality, and that we opposed policies or actions that
discriminated against any of the inhabitants, but to no avail... It would be
interesting to see what Matgamna's Alliance for Workers Liberty would make
of the ruling by Israel's Attorney General

Paul F


Another step in the progress of Israel away from being "the only democracy
in the Middle East": in a scandalous decision, Attorney General Elyakim
Rubinstein has decided to appeal to the central elections committee
disqualify the NDA ("BALAD"), the party headed by Dr Azmi Bishara, from
participating in these coming elections. The major reason is that party's
platform, demanding the democratization of the State of Israel into a state
of all of its citizens, rather than "A Jewish State". In view of the special
circumstances that led to the establishment of the State, this demand is
controversial to many in Israel, but to interpret it as undermining the
existence of the State of Israel is, by far, a gross exaggeration. I hope
the Central Elections Committee will show its sanity by not accepting his
appeal, but who knows anything in the paranoic atmosphere taking over reason
in today's Israel?

I send you the press release issued today by the NDA in view of the Attorney
General's recommendation.

For better days,

A Oz

Professor Avraham Oz
Department of Theatre
University of Haifa
1111 Eshkol Tower
Mount Carmel, 31905 Haifa, Israel
Office Tel: +972-4-8240672
Office Fax: +972-4-8249714
Home Telefax: +972-3-5609627
Email: avitaloz at research.haifa.ac.il


Press Release
National Democratic Assembly
December 18, 2002

In response to the decision of Israel's Attorney
General, Elyakim Rubinstein, to appeal to the Central
Elections Committee (CEC) to disqualify the National
Democratic Assembly's list and its candidate, MK Azmi
Bishara, the NDA has the following to say: elections
without the NDA and its chosen representatives will
not be free and democratic elections.

Attempting to block Balad from participating in the
upcoming general elections scheduled for January 28,
2003, the Attorney General will premise his appeal to
the CEC on Basic Law: The Knesset (Amendment 9,
Article 7A), which allows for the disqualification of
party lists whose "objects or actions, expressly or by
implication, include [the] negation of the existence
of the state of Israel as the state of the Jewish

In other words, the Attorney General has decided to
disqualify the NDA  for demanding the democratization
of the State of Israel into a state of all of its

The National Democratic Assembly notes with grave
concern that the democratic demand for a citizens'
state is no longer tolerated in the 'democratic' State
of Israel, and is being used as a pretext to block
political representation for its Arab public. If
calling for the democratization of citizenship in the
State of Israel is met with political
disqualification, than the very citizenship rights of
the Arab public are being disqualified.

In a parallel move, the Attorney General will appeal
to the CEC for the simultaneous disqualification of MK
Azmi Bishara, NDA's sole representative in the 15th
Knesset and the first candidate on the party's list
for the 16th Knesset, on the grounds that he allegedly
expressed "support for armed struggle on the part of a
terrorist organization," politically motivated
accusations which have yet to be
substantiated in a court of law.

The Attorney General's latest decision corresponds
with his previous decision to indict MK Bishara for
his political opinions. It appears that the Attorney
General, after failing to delegitimize the NDA, its
platform, and its chosen leadership in court, has
resorted to continuing his political witch-hunt by
attempting to bar them from the electoral process.
A flagrant violation of the Arab minority's right to
political  representation and other democratic rights-such as
freedom of speech-it is an attempt, by 'legal means,'
to deny the Arab minority its right to express its own
political attitudes. It is an attempt, in essence, to
make concession to Zionist ideology a precondition for
parliamentary participation.

The Attorney General also asked the CEC to disqualify
former Kach activist Baruch Marzel, the second
candidate on the rightwing Herut party's list. The
not-so-implicit comparison that Attorney General
Rubinstein has drawn between an avowed racist and a
liberal-democratic movement is outrageous. By no means
is it possible  to compare people who espouse racism, transfer, and
violence to people who advocate genuine democracy in
the form of a citizen's state that guarantees equality
and justice for all-Jews and Arabs alike.

No less grave is the fact that the Attorney General
has proven, once again, that he is guided by a
political agenda, aligning himself squarely with the
Israeli rightwing, which never ceases to try to erode
the political rights of the Arab citizens of the
state. An erosion of the Arab citizens' rights is an
erosion of every citizen's rights.

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