Knesset Ethics Committee Bars MK Jabareen from Attending Seminar

The Knesset’s Ethics Committee rejected on Monday, July 2, a request made by Joint List MK Yousef Jabareen (Hadash) to allow him to travel abroad to participate next weekend in a seminar to be held in Lyon, France. The seminar organized by the Association France Palestine Solidarité (AFPS) is held annually with the participation of Israeli peace activists. According to far-right Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud), the “AFPS is anti-Israel organization which boycotts Israel and which appears on the Ministry of Strategic Affairs’ list of BDS-associated organizations.”

MK Yousef Jabareen during a visit to the European Parliament, March 2018

MK Yousef Jabareen during a visit to the European Parliament, March 2018 (Photo: Al Ittihad)

Minister Erdan (Likud) told the pro-settler website Arutz Sheva that the Knesset has in the past approved similar travel requests, but these are currently being reexamined. “We were successful in preventing MK Yousef Jabareen of the Joint List from traveling abroad on a trip paid for by the AFPS organization, which openly calls to boycott Israel,” Erdan boasted.

A statement issued by the office of MK Jabareen reads: “This is the second time that Jabareen’s request to travel abroad has not been approved because of the organization funding the trip. Jabareen has submitted an appeal via the Adalah Center regarding the Ethics Committee’s first decision to prevent him from traveling to the US on a trip funded by Jewish Voice for Peace.” Jabareen holds a doctorate in law and is the Joint List’s Chairman of International Relations.

Jabareen said that the decision “is a difficult and dangerous blow to MKs’ political freedom of speech and movement. These restrictions serve the right-wing government and are used to silence critical MKs’ political stance. I will not give in to the dictates of an extreme right-wing government.”

Also on Monday, the Knesset Ethics Committee voted to have Joint List Chairman MK Ayman Odeh (Hadash) prohibited from attending the Knesset plenum and committees for a week, following complaints against him by far-right MKs Nava Boker and Oren Hazan (Likud).

Boker and Hazan’s complaints pertained to a video recording of Odeh conversing with a police officer in a Haifa hospital in May. Odeh was barred from visiting activist Jafar Farah who was hospitalized following his arrest at a demonstration against Israel’s deadly military actions along the border of the Gaza Strip a day earlier. After his arrest Jarah’s knee was deliberately broken by a police office. Upon watching the footage of Odeh arguing with the cop on duty outside Farah’s hospital room, the majority of the Ethics Committee members decided that, regardless of the fact that Odeh’s parliamentary immunity should have enabled him to visit Farah, his comments to the police were unwarranted and even “outrageous.”