While right-wing Israeli political parties attempt to disqualify Arab candidates from the upcoming Israeli elections simply for being Arab, Arab-Israeli legislator Ahmed Tibi called a "democratic Jewish state" an impossibility Tuesday night.
Said Tibi: "I certainly oppose Zionism and the Jewish character of the State. Everything I’ve said tonight, I will also say in the Knesset, and that is that a state can’t be equal and democratic and prefer one ethnic group over another. Despite the fact that I’m aware of the presence of Basic Laws defining the country as a Jewish state, this does not take away from the logical contradiction between the two definitions of Jewish and democratic in our opinion, and our opinion is also shared by a wide echelon of a group of intellectuals and Israeli left-wingers."
Tibi says that opposition to Zionism should not be surprising: "We won’t accept a coercion of Zionism, which we oppose as we oppose the foreign and defense policies of the government, and the validity of the occupation. A million Arabs in the country oppose the occupation, oppose Zionism, and oppose the liberation of land which is a Zionist value. You can’t force these things on us and our public."
Tibi denied the claim by the right-wing parties Likud, National Union-NRP, and National Jewish Front that Sheikh Ibrahim Sarsur, head of the Arab party, said that he strived to turn Israel into an Islamic state, saying, "The sheikh did not say these things, and our platform talks about equality of rights for the Arab public as a national minority in the context of a legal battle to change the country into a state of all of its nations".