By MK Ahmad Tibi
It is dishonest of those on the political right to demand that we Arab Members of Knesset denounce the murder of two policemen this past Friday. Our voters elected us for a reason, and showing sympathy for Jews and those who protect them is not that reason. Condemning murder might be the truly moral position, but to take that truly moral position would be to betray the democratic values according to which we must give expression to their will.
A truly moral position would not draw distinctions among different types of people, be they Muslim, Christian, Jewish, or Druze. An unequivocal denunciation of those who kill in the name of Islam, or in the name of Palestine, without the wishy-washy invocation of “all violence against innocents” that waters down any such condemnation to meaninglessness, would go a long way toward shoring up the credibility of Arab legislators and public figures to make pronouncements on the subject of violence. But that is not why were were elected.
If you think about it, you will conclude that the principal reason to vote for any of the Joint List parties, other than the hardcore Communist elements, involves Arab identity. If an Arab voter places a higher priority on ethnic identity than on such trivialities as integration, economic prosperity, containment of radical Islamism, national security, or education, he or she will not vote for a Joint List party, but for one of the parties with a proven record on those issues. Once ethnic pride overrides those other considerations, it is a small step to have the same ethnic sensibilities trump so-called morality, as well.
Do you make the same demands of Haredi MKs when their constituents commit viole- OK, you do. Bad example. Forget I said that. Do you demand that the Religious Zionist leadership denounce the Hilltop Youth who- OK, fine, another bad example. In fact you can just skip this whole paragraph and pretend I never said it.
So please do not demand that we condemn terrorism against Israelis, or attacks on symbols of Israeli sovereignty, without putting it in a context of Arab suffering. That is not what I was elected to do, and if you require me and my Joint List colleagues to make such statements, you demonstrate that the democratic will of my decidedly undemocratic constituents comes in second, at best, to such petty, partisan concerns as the life, health, and security of those who are not my constituents. What kind of democrat does that make you, then?
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