The Knesset Ethics Committee rejected on Monday complaints filed by leftist MKs against four MKs from Likud, National Union and Kadima, for harsh remarks regarding the Sudanese infiltrator problem.
MK Miri Regev (Likud) said in the course of a demonstration in Tel Aviv in May that "the Sudanese are a cancer in our body." MK Danny Danon (Likud) said in that demonstration that "the state of Israel is at war. An enemy state of infiltrators has been established within the state of Israel and its capital is Tel Aviv."
MK Michael Ben-Ari said at the same demonstration: "For three years, women cannot walk to the market without having their bag snatched, girls can't play… Sudanese – to Sudan!"
The complaint against MK Yulia Shamalov-Berkovich (Kadima) was filed after she said, at a Knesset Interior Committee session, that "all the human rights activists should be locked up and transferred to the incarceration facilities we are building."
"If the human rights people here are only busy at wild incitement against hareidi Jews and settlers and cause employers to employ infiltrators illegally, they are a danger to the security of the state and its citizens and they should be locked up."
The complaints against the MKs noted that after the speeches at the demonstration in Tel Aviv, people from the crowd began to use violence against infiltrators who were in the area.
The Ethics Committee decided to reject the complaints, noting that MKs' freedom of expression should not be limited, even when they make harsh and reprehensible statements. "This freedom is one of the principal tools of the Knesset Members' trade," the committee said in a statement, "and it allows them to publicly and fearlessly express their views and those of their constituents as regards the issues on the public agenda, including painful and controversial issues."
However, the committee added that harsh and extreme pronouncements by MKs detract from the respect and trust that the public has for the Knesset, and can inflame people's spirits or even lead to violence.
MK Ben Ari was unimpressed. "I will continue to call for the relocation of Sudanese to Sudan," he said. "The leftists must internalize that freedom of expression is not reserved only to expressions against the state and in favor of Israel's enemies but also extends to those wishing to save the country."