Israel reveals its rogue credentials daily. In mid-July 2010, its
Knesset stripped MK Hanin Zoabi of key parliamentary rights and
privileges for participating in the May 2010 Freedom Flotilla
bringing vital aid to Gaza.
Since then, she's been vilified, threatened, and may be prevented
from standing for reelection. Hard-liners call her a "traitor."
Arab MKs are accustomed to marginalization, threats, abuse, and
lawless actions against them.
In November 2009, Hadash party chairman Mohammed Barakeh was bogusly
indicted for allegedly assaulting a police officer during an
anti-Separation Wall rally. Previous alleged incidents between 2005
and 2007 were included in charges against him.
The Adalah Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights said indicting him
criminalized "legitimate political activities (in an attempt) to
harm the reputation and status of an Arab leader."
Barakeh called charges against him false, saying "The ones that are
being violent and abusing freedom of demonstration and of speech are
the police and security establishment."
He added that his indictment "reek(ed) of politics. It's not a
personal (attack) but an attempt to terrorize and deter anyone
wishing to exercise his democratic right to resist government
Balad party MK Said Naffa's also targeted. On December 26, 2011,
Israeli Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein indicted him for
"illegally traveling to an enemy country" and assisting in
organizing a visit for others.
At issue is Israel's 1948 Emergency Regulations (Foreign Travel)
Ordinance. It never should have been passed in the first place. It's
an affront to democratic rights and should be rescinded.
Other charges included "contact with a foreign agent." Allegedly it
was for meeting with Talal Naji, Popular Front for the Liberation of
Palestine (PFLP) deputy director-general. In addition, Naffa was
accused of planning to meet Khaled Mashal, Hamas political bureau
head. Israel spuriously calls them "terrorist organization" leaders.
In September 2007, Naffa went to Syria with about 300 Druze clerics
and Israeli social activists. It was a holy pilgrimage, unrelated to
His lawyer, Saud Ghanim said:
"The religious leaders' visit to Syria was purely for religious and
humanitarian reasons. Even the Israeli Supreme Court regards the
Israeli law that prevents these (type) visits as arbitrary.
Therefore, the filing of an indictment in this regard is
discriminatory, and the real problem is with the law and not the
"We will challenge the constitutionality of this law before the
court. (It) dates back to the emergency laws in place since the days
of military rule and contradicts modern fundamental constitutional
In fact, Naffa visited Syria to fulfill his MK duties as a public
representative. Adalah said doing so "lies within the scope of his
parliamentary immunity." Israel's High Court acknowledged it. Naffa
acted legally and properly.
He noted Israel's double standard. After his trip, an Israeli
Christian delegation visited Syria. Prosecutions didn't follow. Nor
against Jews traveling to Iraq, other religious trips by Christians
and Circassians, and Muslims going to Saudi Arabia.
Adalah said Naffa's charges "have no legal or constitutional" basis.
Its lawyers unsuccessfully tried to get charges dropped. They were
issued four years after his visit.
Earlier, Naffa unsuccessfully appealed for Knesset help. The
relevant committee voted 9 - 2 to strip his immunity and declined to
hear supportive legal testimony.
On January 30, Nazareth's District Court held its first hearing.
Charges against him carry a maximum 15 year sentence. After being
indicted, Naffa said he didn't harm state security. "There is a long
court proceeding before me. I will fight for my innocence and the
matter of immunity will (also) be discussed...."
"I do not regret the trip and I am no hypocrite. The issues I am
forced to pay the price for were discussed here for many hours, and
very much promoted the interests and rights."
In response, extremist MK Anastassia Michaeli said she'd initiate
legislation to strip Naffa and others convicted of similar charges
of citizenship immediately. "Maybe then they would think twice," she
Meretz party MK Ilan Ghilon said he'd "like to see (Netanyahu)
travel in a bus or minibus to Damascus. Then no one would complain
of a violation of the State's security."
Naffa is Druze. Before the Knesset committee voted, he addressed
"Today I am addressing a taboo. The establishment considers the
Druze a trained herd whose place is to serve in the military and the
Border Guard - a herd that has no feelings."
Former Israeli AG Menachem Mazuz said "Naffa ignored a decision by
the authorized bodies and held a conspiracy meeting with one of the
terrorist organization heads and tried to meet with another
terrorist organization head, and such things are exactly what the
law aims to prevent."
In fact, Hamas, PFLP, and other lawful resistance groups want
Israel's lawless occupation ended and Palestine liberated. Their
leaders and members aren't terrorists. They've victims of Israeli
state-terrorism like all Palestinians.
Numerous examples confirm it, including other targeted Arab MKs. On
May 31, 2010, following the Mavi Marmara massacre, mass
demonstrations protested Israel's raid.
MK Taleb al-Sana said it "exposed the ugly face of Zionism and the
violence and aggression of the government of Israel." He called it
an act of "state terror" against a humanitarian mission and said
those responsible should be tried for war crimes. "This event proves
you don't have to be a German to be a Nazi," he added.
Al-Sana also participated in a Gaza border demonstration during
which Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh spoke. In response, Israel's
internal security minister Yitzhak Ahaonovitch asked for charges
against him "for supporting a terror organization."
In February 2010, Islamic Movement northern branch head Sheikh Raed
Saleh was sentenced to nine months for allegedly assaulting a police
officer, a charge he denied. Like other Arab leaders, he was accused
solely for his political affiliation and positions.
On February 2, 2010, a Haaretz editorial headlined, "Harassing Arab
Removing "Said Naffa's parliamentary immunity, like the decision to
prosecute (other Arab MKs), is unwarranted, harmful and smacks of
political persecution based on nationality."
Naffa's being scapegoated. He's not first Israeli MK to visit an
Arab country, but he was targeted for doing it. Moreover, MKs rarely
lose immunity for political reasons, unlike those accused of real
criminality like corruption.
Nonetheless, "(i)nstead of calling on Arab lawmakers to act as a
bridge between Israel and the Arab world, Israel puts them on trial
under a law that should never have been passed in the first place."
Prohibiting MKs from visiting Arab countries not only impedes their
lawful activities serving constituents, it's also discriminatory by
targeting only Arabs, not Jews.
A Final Comment
On January 20, Britain lawlessly revoked Press TV's broadcasting
license, removing it from the Sky platform. Fortunately, viewers
have options to follow an invaluable service online or by satellite.
This writer appears often on many topics. Press TV provides an open
platform to speak freely. UK and American outlets suppress truth.
Press TV reveals it. As a result, it's targeted.
On January 26, political writer/hardline Republican supporter, and
Foundation for Democracy in Iran (an anti-Iranian front group)
executive director Kenneth Timmerman headlined an article, "Why
Doesn't America Ban Iranian Press TV?" saying:
Obama officials let "the channel operate (in America) without a
license and in violation of US sanctions regulations, which ban
commercial transactions with Iran."
In fact, viewing it requires doing so online or by satellite. US and
broadcast TV channels exclude it. Its US presence is through
intermediary companies. Its correspondents report globally.
Timmerman outrageously called it an "anti-American propaganda"
broadcaster. In addition, he attacked guests like James Fetzer,
calling him a "well-known....conspiracy theorist."
Fetzer appears regularly on the Progressive Radio News Hour. He's an
honored guest. He also founded and co-chairs Scholars for 9/11
Truth. Vilifying him is unconscionable.
He also attacked commentator Mark Dankof and Paul Sheldon Foote for
reporting accurately on Israel, as well as Press TV CEO Mohammad
Sarafraz for wanting to spread anti-American propaganda.
Moreover, he targeted Gamal Hassanein and Samir Ezeldin for working
with Press TV in America, saying:
"(T)hey hire producers and camera crews to film events and conduct
interviews at Press TV's request." By implication, he suggested
Gamal arranges this writer's Press TV appearances. He said Timmerman
revealed his address and other personal information to vilify him
and make him vulnerable to abuse.
Extremists like Timmerman use offensive and abusive tactics to
further their hard-right agenda. In contrast, Press TV is an
effective antidote. As a result, it's spuriously vilified and
excluded from US broadcast and cable channels.
Ignore Timmerman and others like him. Follow Press TV daily for real
information and analysis to stay current and well informed - free
from Western propaganda and hatemongers like Timmerman.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to
cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the
Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network
Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon.
All programs are archived for easy listening.