An unlikely endorsement of Israeli democracy at ‘Comment is Free’


Jamal Zahalka is an Arab citizen of Israel, and the member of a political party which opposes his state’s existence.

He has received a BA, MA and PhD at Hebrew University.

In April of 2006, after a Palestinian suicide bombing in Tel Aviv, during Passover, killed nine Israelis and wounded more than sixty, Zahalka met, not with families of the victims, but with top Hamas members, in a show of solidarity.

He and three of his colleagues visited Syria and Lebanon in September 2006, after the 2nd Lebanon War in a show of solidarity with Hezbollah.

Hezbollah is an Iranian sponsored Shiite terrorist group in Lebanon whose goal is the establishment of an Islamic government across the Arab world. Their leaders have characterized Israel as a “cancerous entity” of “ultimate evil” whose “annihilation … is a definite matter”, and has called for the murder of Jews all over the world.

In 2009, Zahalka attended a pro-Hamas rally near the Gaza border, on the one year anniversary of Cast Lead, and accused Defense Minister Ehud Barak of enjoying “…killing children in Gaza.”

In 2009, the Israeli Central Elections Committee accused the party which Zahalka belongs to of incitement, supporting terrorist groups and refusing to recognize Israel’s right to exist. 

Zahalka has also condemned Israel while speaking abroad in front of anti-Zionist groups, where he has called Israel an ‘apartheid’ state. He has also described the state as a “ethnocracy” and a nation which practices “racial colonialism”.

Yesterday, Nov.  4, Zahalka penned an essay at ‘Comment is Free’, calling for sanctions against Israel, which he characterized as a “racist”, “extremist” state that is suffering form an erosion in democracy. 

Oh, and one more thing.

Jamal Zahalka is an Israeli MK, and the leader of the Balad Party (National Democratic Assembly).

Imagine for a second what the reaction would be in the democratic US if a Congressman met with, and expressed support for, al-Qaeda figures or leaders of other proscribed terrorists groups committed to the destruction of the United States.  In fact, such acts are codified as treasonous in the Constitution, Article 3, which prohibits acts which have the effect of giving “Aid and Comfort” to the enemy.

The legal impunity Jamal Zahalka will continue to enjoy – the rights of citizenship, and special rights as an MK, afforded him by the very state whose existence he incites against – represents stubborn proof attesting to the continuing vitality of Israeli democracy.

Contrary to the illiberal politics in most of the Arab Middle East, democracy in Israel is thriving, and Jamal Zahalka is certainly using its full advantage.

9 comments on “An unlikely endorsement of Israeli democracy at ‘Comment is Free’

  1. One of my favorite things to read are the agonized gyrations by Israeli Arabs who hate the country they’re citizens of, but can’t find a way to combine seditiousness and being dependent on institutions they’re uanble to destroy, as much as they desire to.

  2. Pingback: Abbas Backtracks After Waffling On “Right” of Return | Blogs about Israel aggregation

  3. this charming comment by robin rew is still standing – ”This article makes excellent points. But what can an individual do? Beyond not buying Israeli produce ourselves, we can also engage in our own personal secondary boycotts: boycotting Israel’s supporters in the UK and other countries.”

  4. the reaction would be in the democratic US if a Congressman met with, and expressed support for, al-Qaeda figures or leaders of other proscribed terrorists groups committed to the destruction of the United States

    That’s not fair.

    Context is crucial. On the one hand certain western media fail to appreciate the Israeli perspective.
    But here you are likewise failing to take into account the Palestinian POV.

    • He is taking into account the Palestinian POV, and that’s a major reason that A) the al-Qa’ida analogy is completely apt when you factor in what Hamas and Islamic Jihad are like and B) there’s a dead-end component to trying to apologise and spin on Zalhalka’s behalf. He believes what he says and isn’t sorry about those statements ranging from nasty to seditious. I don’t have a problem with an Arab Israeli MK being an asshole; I have a problem with the notion that he’s being brave or worthy of support while being an asshole.

  5. Pingback: OUR OWN VERSION OF ‘CIF WATCH’ // COMMENT IS FREE « Desertpeace

Comments are closed.