ADL Statement on the Role of Israeli Arabs in Israel’s Vibrant Democracy

Jerusalem, March 5, 2019 … The ADL (Anti-Defamation League) today called on Israeli political leaders across the spectrum to stop delegitimizing Israeli Arab political parties and vilifying the Arab minority population of Israel.

Carole Nuriel, Director of ADL’s Israel Office, issued the following statement:

The role of Arab parties in the Israeli Knesset is increasingly emerging as a key wedge of the current election campaign, with several party leaders and politicians vowing not to include them in any future coalition, while accusing their political foes of a willingness to do so. In some cases, even the distinction between Arab parties and the Arab population is blurred and these parties are simply referred to as “the Arabs.”

This anti-Arab rhetoric is a deeply troubling trend that, if it continues, could undermine Israel’s vibrant democracy. The representation of Israeli Arabs in the Knesset has historically been a source of pride for Israel, highlighting its democratic character, despite the enduring conflict with its Arab neighbors, and attesting to its genuine efforts to include the Arab community as equal citizens. If the very exclusion of Arab parties becomes a litmus test for a legitimate coalition in the Knesset, Israel’s democracy undoubtedly will suffer.

Coalition-building considerations, and the politicking that surrounds the process, are a legitimate part of Israeli politics. But it should not include the use of rhetoric that stigmatizes and demonizes the Arab minority population. We urge all Israeli politicians to exercise caution in their choice of words. Stereotyping and stigmatizing Israeli Arabs is unacceptable and immoral. Such rhetoric has no place in the Knesset.


ADL is the world’s leading anti-hate organization. Founded in 1913 in response to an escalating climate of anti-Semitism and bigotry, its timeless mission is to protect the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all. Today, ADL continues to fight all forms of hate with the same vigor and passion. A global leader in exposing extremism, delivering anti-bias education, and fighting hate online, ADL is the first call when acts of anti-Semitism occur. ADL’s ultimate goal is a world in which no group or individual suffers from bias, discrimination or hate.