The High Court of Justice (HCJ) approved a Knesset committee ruling on Tuesday, June 22, that prevents MKs from traveling abroad on trips sponsored by organizations that support the struggle against Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories.
A petition against the committee’s ruling, which was submitted in 2018 by Dr. Youssef Jabareen, a former Haifa University lecturer on Law and former MK for Hadash and the Joint List, with support from Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, was ultimately rejected by the court. The issue arose when Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) a Jewish-American organization, attempted to sponsor Jabareen’s trip to the United States for a round of lectures.
After receiving information from the Strategic Affairs Ministry regarding JVP’s “pro-boycott views,” the committee rejected Jabareen’s request to travel, citing a violation of ethics. Jabareen and the Adalah’s General Director, Dr. Hassan Jabareen, argued in court that preventing the former MK from traveling to the United States via JVP’s funding is a violation of freedom of speech and movement. They also argued that Jabareen’s trip does not constitute an ethics violation, as it was neither criminal nor illegal.
In response to the ruling, Jabareen said, “In recent years, the Knesset, which is controlled by a clear right-wing majority, has been trying to narrow the steps of Arab Knesset members in an illegal and undemocratic manner, and it is very unfortunate that the High Court approved these dangerous moves today.
“This ruling expresses the tyranny of a majority that seeks to prevent Arab elected officials from representing their electorate properly,” he said. “The fact that there are no similar restrictions in the world only exposes the intensity of the violation of MKs’ political freedom.”