Racist MK Likens Hadash-Ta’al MKs to Animals, Refuses to Apologize

Like a neo-Nazi, the fascist MK Almog Cohen filmed himself at the Knesset plenum on Monday making racist comments about Hadash-Ta’al lawmakers, including treating a lawmaker from Hadash like a farm animal while saying one should “talk to them in a language they understand.” The racist MK is a member of the fascist Otzma Yehudit party, whose leader, National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir, has previously been convicted of incitement to racism.

MK Ofer Cassif during a demonstration against the far-right government in front of the Knesset, Monday, February 20, 2023 (Photo: Zo Haderech)

Cohen refused to apologize to all but one of the lawmakers he heckled on Tuesday and went on to explicitly say MKs in the Hadash-Ta’al alliance were “not worthy of being sheep, they’re not humans,” vowing to make “their lives miserable.” In his video, which was streamed live on social media, Cohen is seen filming Hadash MK Ofer Cassif and making clicking and hissing noises at him to draw his attention. “Shut your trap!” he calls out, before calling out the Arabic word “Uskut!” (“Be silent”) and making animal calling sounds.

“When you talk to them in their language they understand you,” he says to lawmakers in his vicinity, including Shas party leader Aryeh Deri, who appears to chuckle. “You need to talk to him like a sheep.”

“I’m not telling him to be quiet in Hebrew because he doesn’t speak Hebrew,” Cohen adds, also likening the MK to a dog. He also says of Ta’al’s Ahmad Tibi, a gynecologist: “That’s a doctor. I wouldn’t let him treat my dog.”

Cohen goes on to say Yesh Atid’s Merav Ben-Ari “has a voice like a floor cleaner.” At another point, Likud MK May Golan approaches Cohen, urging him to shout the word “out” in Arabic — like a shepherd to his flock — to an opposition female lawmaker. “Not to Jews,” he says in response, amid the fact that Cassif is Jewish.

The Movement for the Quality of Government appealed to the Ethics Committee of the Knesset on Tuesday to summon MK Cohen regarding his racist behavior. “He dishonored the dignity of the legislative process in the Knesset and violated the rules of ethics instructing members of the Knesset to behave in an appropriate way and to serve as a personal example of appropriate behavior,” the organization stated. It further called Cohen’s statements “harsh, serious and inappropriate.”