“Israel’s Central Elections Committee is a political body that operates in overt contradiction of the law and court rulings in order to humiliate Arab candidates,” said Atty. Hassan Jabareen, general director of Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel.
Jabareen was responding to the committee’s disqualification last Wednesday, March 6, of leading Communist activist, Dr. Ofer Cassif, from the Hadash-Ta’al list, as wells as its barring the entire National Democratic Assembly (Balad) – United Arab List (Ra’am) from running in the April 9 parliamentary elections in Israel.
“The petitioners against Dr. Ofer Cassif made false claims that do not qualify as any of the grounds for disqualification as stipulated in Israel’s Basic Law: The Knesset. The rejection of his candidacy for the Knesset was based on statements in a single interview in which he reiterated that he opposes any and all forms of violence and supports an egalitarian state,” said Jabareen. “The disqualification of Balad-Ra’am was likewise politically motivated.”
The head of Adalah’s human rights organization said the elections committee rejected the candidacy of Cassif – an individual who supports equality for all – while at the same time approving the candidacy of Michael Ben-Ari, an open racist affiliated with an openly racist movement that has been recognized as a terrorist organization.” Jabareen concluded: “It is clear that the committee’s decisions are strictly the result of political considerations reflecting the McCarthyist persecution of those whose views are not acceptable to Israel’s political right.”
Balad-Ta’al and Cassif, in conjunction with Adalah, plan to appeal their disqualification by the Knesset’s Central Elections Committee to the Supreme Court next week. A panel of nine judges will make a final ruling on whether they can or cannot run in the general elections which will take place in just one month’s time.