The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights appealed to the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) late last week with updates on Israeli violations of the rights of Arab members of Knesset.
The IPU is a global inter-parliamentary institution established in 1889 of 178 member parliaments aimed at “protect[ing] and build[ing] global democracy through political dialogue and concrete action.” The IPU works closely with the United Nations and its members, elected parliamentarians from around the world, engage in and steer IPU policies.
Adalah sent three letters on 20 June 2018 to IPU Secretary General Martin Chungong and to Rogier Huizenga, secretariat of the IPU’s Human Rights Programs detailing three key rights violations against Arab MKs:
- The Israeli Knesset Ethics Committee decision barring MK Dr. Yousef Jabareen from participating in lectures in the U.S. due to the political views of sponsor organization Jewish Voice for Peace which supports the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement. This amendment to the Code of Ethics constitutes an exceptional precedent that is being used to overtly and improperly restrict the political freedom of expression and movement of a member of Knesset, unjustly burdening Arab MKs. We urge the IPU to issue a statement condemning this amendment to the Knesset’s Code of Ethics;
- The Israeli Knesset Presidium’s decision to ban proposed legislation Basic Law: Country of all its Citizens from being brought to a vote. The bill authored was with the intention of permanently enshrining the principle of equal citizenship for every Israeli citizen within the law. As a result of the Presidium’s ruling, Joint List MKs Jamal Zahalka, Haneen Zoabi, and Joumah Azbarga are barred from bringing the bill to the table for any form of parliamentary discussion or debate. We urge the IPU to intervene in this matter in order to allow the proposed Basic Law: Country of all its Citizens to proceed through the appropriate legislative process;
- The Israeli Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the discriminatory Expulsion of MKs Law. This law permits a majority of 90 Knesset members to forcibly expel a fellow MK from office. It will allow the Knesset to silence the voices of many Arab citizens based upon the disapproval of the majority, regardless of the legality of the statements or actions themselves. We urge the IPU to issue a statement condemning this new law and expressing support for those MKs who may be targeted as a result of the Expulsion of MKs Law.
Adalah has long been in contact with the IPU, and with Secretariat Huizenga in particular, concerning the rights violations of Arab members of the Israeli parliament.