Recently, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), and American Jewish Committee (AJC) harshly condemned the temporary merger of two small far-right-wing Israeli political parties, Otzma Yehudit (Jewish Strength) and Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home).
The merger took place because the Knesset’s election threshold screens out the smallest parties, meaning that some voters on the right could be disenfranchised if either party fails to cross the threshold alone. That could prevent a center-right government after the April 9 elections in Israel.
We, the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), are not endorsing or defending Otzma Yehudit or any other Israeli political party. That is not our role.
Yet ADL/AIPAC/AJC’s harsh condemnations against a right-wing Jewish party contrast starkly with those American-Jewish groups’ silence about Israel’s racist and reprehensible Arab parties and their Knesset members (MKs) who oppose the Jewish State’s existence, engage in outright treason, and assist and incite anti-Jewish terror.
There should have been, for example, an outcry against the merger this year of the Arab Balad party – which repeatedly elects traitors to Israel’s Knesset – with the Ra’am (Islamist Movement). Likewise, there should have been criticism of the merger of the Arab Communist Hadash party with the Arab nationalist Ta’al party, brokered by Palestinian Authority dictator Mahmoud Abbas.
Balad opened its convention this month by singing the Palestinian national anthem calling for revolution, crossing borders, and revenge for “Palestine, my country.” The convention also received greetings from former Balad MKs Azmi Bishara – who fled Israel after spying for Hezbollah during the Second Lebanon War — and Basel Ghattas– who exploited his Knesset immunity to smuggle 15 cell phones and other contraband to imprisoned Palestinian Arab murderers, to enable them to direct terror operations from behind bars.
Balad’s newly-elected slate leader, anti-Israel propagandist Mtanes Shihadeh, declared that Balad is “one branch of the many branches of the Palestinian national movement.” Balad Chairman MK Jamal Zahalka similarly declared that Balad “is not part of the Israeli left, but is an inseparable part of the Palestinian national movement”; called on the Palestinian Authority to lift sanctions on Hamas and end security coordination with Israel; and blasted Israeli PM Netanyahu as “a war criminal responsible for the deaths of thousands.”
Balad MKs Haneen Zoabi, Zahalka, and Ghattas have visited and honored families of Palestinian Arab terrorists who murdered Jews. MK Zoabi also participated in the flotilla to break the Gaza weapons blockade; said Hamas’s murder of three Jewish teenagers was not terrorism; and admitted: “I don’t see myself as an Israeli Member of Knesset, but as a Palestinian. We are using the Knesset to advance the Palestinian struggle … [and] we are doing this from within ‘Occupied Palestine.’”
Joint Arab List/Hadash leader MK Ayman Odeh should be universally condemned for inciting a Bedouin/Islamic Jihad terrorist car-ramming attack on Israelis; asking the EU to condemn Israel’s democratically-passed nation-state law; congratulating Hamas terrorist leader Ismail Haniyeh on Hamas-Fatah reconciliation; opposing Knesset suspension of three Arab MKs who honored the families of Palestinian-Arab murderers; accusing Jewish MKs of sending people to murder arch-terrorist Yasser Arafat and Hamas leaders; endorsing all 13 Arab Joint List MKs’ unanimous boycott of dovish former Prime Minister Shimon Peres’s funeral, because Peres “built up Israel’s defenses”; falsely portraying as “harmless” MK Ghattas’s smuggling cell phones to imprisoned terrorists; and praising notorious Balad MK Zoabi for opposing Israel as “the state of the Jews” and for promoting “the right to resist the occupation.”
MK Ayman Odeh also publicly endorsed anti-Israel violence after Palestinian-Arab terrorists murdered innocent American-Israeli couple Eitam and Na’ama Henkin in front of their four little children. Odeh stated, “I always blame the occupation for being guilty. I cannot tell the [Palestinian-Arab] nation how to struggle, where and which target to throw the rock. I do not put red lines on the Arab Palestinian nation.”
MK Odeh also refused to meet American Jewish leaders at the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, because the Conference shares offices with the Jewish Agency, which assists with Aliyah (immigration of Jews to Israel). Odeh’s spokesperson explained that Odeh opposes Jewish immigration into Israel.
Arab MKs Odeh, Ahmad Tibi and Yousef Jabarin helped lead an anti-Israel demonstration in Tel Aviv last August, with Palestinian flags and shouts of: “With blood and spirit, we’ll free Palestine.” A Jerusalem Post editorial explained: “The slogans were negating Israel’s very existence as the Jewish state.”
MK Ahmad Tibi (the Ta’al party leader on the Joint Arab List) was a Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) militant and senior advisor to arch-terrorist Yasser Arafat. Tibi also represented the PLO/PA in the Wye River negotiations against Israel.
While serving in the Knesset, Tibi represented “Palestine” at a conference in Qatar; proposed a Knesset bill labeling Israel’s creation a “Naqba” (catastrophe), and forbidding Israeli government funding of any organization that denies that Israel’s creation was a catastrophe; called the IDF the “Israeli Occupation Forces”; accused the IDF of “a heinous crime”; likened Israel to “apartheid”; retweeted PA official Saeb Erekat’s accusation that Israelis are “historical criminals” who use their power to “justify their crimes”; objected to naming a space center after an Israeli astronaut; and declared during an anti-Israel “occupation” conference in London that Israel has no right to determine its capital.
Hadash MK Aida Touma-Sliman falsely tweeted that Israeli Minister Ayelet Shaked “called for murdering Palestinian mothers”; constantly tweets against Israel; calls Israel “the occupation”; demonstrated for Israeli draft dodgers; falsely accused Israel of aggression against Syria; and maligned Israel at an Israel-bashing United Nations conference, and treasonously urged U.N. members to “exert significant pressure on Israel.”
Ta’al MK Osama Saadi threatened a “third intifada” (a deadly terror wave against Israelis) and warned that “the whole Arab world will rise up as one” against Israel if Israel did not remove metal detectors installed following a terror attack.
Hadash MK Yousef Jabarin urged Argentina to cancel its national team’s match with Israel; and gave a Knesset speech blaming Jewish victims of Palestinian-Arab terror attacks, and inciting further attacks.
We hope other American-Jewish groups will join ZOA in condemning the racist and reprehensible and dangerous Arab parties and MKs who seek Israel’s destruction.
Morton A. Klein is the National President of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA). The Forward named him as one of the five most influential Jewish leaders. Follow him on @mortonaklein7 and ZOA.org.