Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Disarray in Labour

Haaretz reports that Labour's Central Elections Committee (CEC) representative, Eitan Cabel, has voted in favor of banning the Arab parties Balad and United Arab List even though Senior Labour Party figures disapproved.
"[MK] Shelly Yachimovich and I thought we must object to the move to ban the Arab lists for reasons of freedom of expression," said Social Affairs Minister Isaac Herzog. "The minority's right to be heard must be preserved," he said.

MK Ophir Pines (Labour) said from overseas that he strongly objected to Labour's stance in the vote and that it was not the position that had been agreed on.

Labour chairman Ehud Barak, however, did not comment on the vote and his aides said he would not deal with political issues these days.

Cabel tried to explain his support of the ban, despite Labour's decision to vote against it.

"It's true we said we wouldn't ban, but [Balad leader MK (Member of Knesset) Jamal] Zahalka's statement that he was in touch with Bishara led me to think that we must draw the line somewhere," he said. "I'm making no apologies because I fight more than most in the Knesset for equal rights for Arabs. I know it won't stand up in the Supreme Court, and rightly so, because there is no evidentiary basis for the [committee's] decision."

Members of the the new Meretz alignment reacted angrily to the decision.
This looks like a heat in the moment thing for Labour and some of the others who voted in favor of the petition. It is reported that the Arab MKs have said some things that angered some of the Jewish MKs. Some MKs think that the Arab MKs don't care about Israel's southern population. I hope that the Israeli Supreme Court overturns this Committee decision and returns everything to normal.

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