In mid-July 2010, Knesset members stripped MK Hanin Zoabi of key parliamentary rights and privileges. They did so for participating in the May 2010 Freedom Flotilla. It tried bringing vital humanitarian aid to Gaza.
Arab MKs are accustomed to marginalization, threats, abuse, and lawless actions against them.
Zoabi's called a "traitor. She's been vilified and threatened. On December 19, Haaretz announced the latest. Israel's election committee disqualified her from seeking reelection.
Doing so is lawless. Israel's High Court will have final say. It's likely to overturn the disgraceful ruling. Ten previous election committee rulings attempted to disqualify parties or candidates. Only three party disqualifications were upheld.
In 1964, the Socialist Party was banned. Kach's turn came in 1988 and Kahana Chai in 1992. Disqualified candidates were reinstated.
Knesset debate included hardline MK David Rotem claiming:
"To say that a member of Knesset was aboard the Mavi Marmara does not constitute the critical mass equaling support for a terrorist organization reflects a lack of understanding of what happened aboard that ship."
MK Aryeh Eldad added:
"I am a doctor and believe in preventive medicine. You don't have to wait for people to be caught spying or committing treason before barring them from running."
Arab MK Ahmed Tibi's rejoinder said Israel's election committee is politically motivated. It's comprised of "third-rate politicians and frustrated lawyers looking to make headlines at our expense."
Minutes before the meeting started, Balad party members held a press conference.
Chairman Jamal Zahalks said:
"If Zuabi is disqualified, I will not run in this election and will advise the party to boycott it. Disqualifying me means disqualifying an entire generation of young Arabs."
The Adalah Legal Center for Arab minority Rights in Israel denounced hardline MKs, saying:
"The petitions are based on isolated and inaccurate quotations published on various websites and therefore do not justify a serious debate."
Labor and Meretz parties said they won't support disqualification petitions. Labor MK Isaac Herzog said: