Economist curiously omits key reason for MK Zoabi’s Knesset suspension

Claims regarding the putative ‘erosion of Israel’s democracy‘ have long been a favorite among the anti-Israel UK media elite, and the mere absence of any evidence attesting to this descent into political darkness hasn’t weakened their appetite for this narrative.

To boot, an Economist article titled ‘Us and Them‘, Aug. 2, included a few factually-challenged claims on alleged attacks on the civil rights of Israel’s minorities. 

Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, has warned the country’s civil-rights groups that they could be branded as delegitimisers if they insist on promoting rights for Israel’s Arab minority and oppose the definition of Israel as the nation-state of the Jews. 

First, addressing the first part of the passage, the Knesset did not warn the country’s civil-rights groups that they could be branded as delegitimisers for merely “promoting rights for Israel’s Arab minority”. In fact it’s hard to know where precisely where the Economist even found such an absurd claim.  Further, the second part of the passage, regarding the alleged consequences for ‘opposing the definition of Israel as the nation-state of the Jews’, again is not accurate.

They may be alluding to a proposed change in the Basic Law that would formally recognize Israel as the nation-state of the Jews’, but the rights of non-Jews would not be affected, and there’s certainly nothing in the proposal which would, as the Economist claims, brand civil rights groups as ‘delegitimizers for doing so.

The Economist then adds the following:

This week the Knesset banned an Arab member, Haneen Zoabi, for six months for “aggressive behaviour” in anti-war demonstrations.

However, this also is an inaccurate statement as it omits key information about the suspension.

MK Zoabi, according to multiple news reports (and the official press release from the Knesset regarding the suspension), was suspended for six months from the Knesset (while still maintaining her voting rights in the Israeli legislative body) for two reasons – one of which the Economist completely omitted. 

While Zoabi’s suspension was in part due to an incident with a police officer at a protest rally (as they noted), the main reason was related to her assertion, in mid June, that the kidnappers of three Jewish teens in the West Bank were not terrorists. 

“They’re people who don’t see any way to change their reality and they are forced to use these means until Israel will wake up a little, until Israeli citizens and society will wake up and feel the suffering of the other,” Zoabi said in an interview on Radio Tel Aviv, adding that the kidnappers live under occupation.

Of course, two weeks after Zoabi’s statements, the teens – Naftali Frankel, Gilad Shaar and Eyal Yifrach – were found dead, having been murdered by the kidnappers she had earlier defended. 

The Knesset statement on the suspension noted that Zoabi’s offense centered on these comments, which many believed represented incitement, as it showed support for terrorist organizations and encouraged “acts of terror against the state and its citizens”.

To recap: both examples cited by the Economist – presumably to demonstrate an erosion of civil rights in Israel for its non-Jewish minority – are erroneous or, at best, extremely misleading. 

Finally, it’s interesting to note that a site called The Angry Arab News Service cited the Economist’s claim about the cause of Zoabi’s suspension under the heading: This Does Not Get Reported In The US Media.

Of course, it’s likely that such “news” hasn’t been reported in the US media because, as few Google clicks would have indicated, it’s not accurate.

11 replies »

  1. Adam:

    “the main reason was related to her assertion, in mid June, that the kidnappers of three Jewish teens in the West Bank were not terrorists. ”

    That is incorrect.
    As of yesterday the panel found that there was not enough weight on this charge to require the 6 months ban.
    The panel found that wording of Zoabi on that matter did not equate to her agreeing with the kidnap act as was suggested but with the kidnappers viewing that such an act is a legitamate way to free Palestinian prisoners. She changed her response after the bodies was found and it became clear that it was a planned murder.
    She said in an interview with a TelAviv radio that she doesn’t agree with such actions but can understand why people who are pushed to the corner which choose such tools as a “last resort”.

    The main charge is her attack and obstruction of a Police officer and her wording during the demo in question which can be amounted to incitement to commit illegal acts.

    I want to make it absolutly clear that I find MK Zoabi incorrect and her action and find it shameful that her action only allow people who do not want to bridge the divide stronger on both sides.

    She has failed many of her voters and I hope she will be punished for her actions and her attitude.

    • She said in an interview with a TelAviv radio that she doesn’t agree with such actions but can understand why people who are pushed to the corner which choose such tools as a “last resort”.

      What a dreadful woman. I cannot imagine that the predicament of the Palestinians is such that they capture and murder teenagers and are celebrated for their barbarism. Presumably she herself would be so inclined?

      • As long as she sticks to this idiotic “resistance” mentra nothing will move forward.
        She should learn history to what happened to other resistance movement in history.
        Such as the French pre Napoleon era or the Islamic Revolution in Iran…

        Sadly Channel Four reporter in Gaza Paul Mason is using the term “resistance” to describe various cells of presribed terror organisations in the UK.

        Wonder if Paul Mason is being told to use this term or if he is trying to find a job at Al Jazeera or Press TV…

  2. Seems to be an influx these days of articles about all things Israel, many of them from social or legal perspectives, and most of them written by people who are clearly not informed enough to write on the subject, let alone preach morals, and who often misquote or mistranslate from Hebrew.

    I severely doubt there is, or ever was, another national parliament whose members publicly expressed support for terror organizations and supported the abduction of the country’s own citizens. If Al Capone was jailed for tax evasion, I’m sure it’s legal and moral to throw Zoabi from the Knesset by any means possible, for the benefit of all. Including her constituents!

    • At the moment they didn’t decide if she can rely on her immunity yet and she is appealing waiting a hearing on that matter.
      She’ll flee to join Bashara in the end (petrol and air fair paid by the Israeli tax payers).

    • Fritz,

      See the BTL comment by Mona in the article you posted:


      05 Aug 2014 at 2:35 am

      That’s some pukeacious groveling Eliott has going there. I am so, so glad Glenn no longer posts there, and that I (we) are free from the absurd moderation standards at CiF.”


  3. Yeah, there’s no question she’s a walking example of the kind of Fifth Columnist that the most worthless of the Arab Israeli leadership (and no, they’re not Palestinians in Israel, if they want to be Palestinians they can move their asses into the areas that are going to be a Palestinian state at some point, a geographic area that doesn’t include the current State of Israel) and also the kind of person that cheerleaders for Arab Israelis try to cheerlead for out whitewash when they don’t want to deal with the reality of why most Israeli citizens can’t stand them and have as little to do with them as possible.