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.