MK Yousef Jabareen and Adalah – The Legal Centre for Arab Minority Rights in Israel filed a petition to the Israeli Supreme Court yesterday appealing a decision by the Knesset Ethics Committee to ban Jabareen from conducting a US speaking tour sponsored by Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP).
Jabareen, who heads the Joint List's international relations committee, was invited to give a lecture tour this June by JVP, a group with 250,000 email supporters and 75 chapters across the US.
According to Adalah, on 22 January "the Knesset House Committee approved a new amendment to the Code of Ethics that gives the ethics committee the power to forbid a Knesset member from traveling overseas if funding for the trip is provided by a body that knowingly publishes a call to boycott the State of Israel or participates in such a boycott."
The petition argues that the amendment, and its specific implications for MK Jabareen's trip, "directly harms political freedom of expression and the right to free movement for Knesset members", the Adalah press release states.
The petition notes that "the restriction stems solely from the fact that JVP…maintains a particular political position vis-a-vis Israeli government policies and calls for a boycott in an effort to bring about an end to the Israeli military occupation of the Palestinian Territory."
MK Jabareen stated: "The current Knesset – which is ruled by a right-wing coalition – continues with its attempts to hobble Arab members of Knesset in an illegal and undemocratic manner."
"The Expulsion Law, the ban of MKs visiting Palestinian political prisoners, and now this amendment are all expressions of the tyranny of a majority that seeks to prevent us from representing our public in a substantive and worthy manner."
"I do hope that the Supreme Court will hear this position as soon as possible and that it will move to cancel the Knesset House Committee's amendment. This series of lectures in which I am slated to participate in the United States is an essential part of my role as an elected official and of the freedom of political activity."