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Ben-Ari's Campaign Invalidated for 'Racism'

Central Election Committee chairman says Power to Israel's campaign in Arabic insults the Arab population in Israel.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 12/13/2012, 4:42 AM

Judge Elyakim Rubinstein
Judge Elyakim Rubinstein
Flash 90

The Chairman of the Central Election Committee, Justice Elyakin Rubinstein, invalidated on Wednesday the election campaign of the Power to Israel party, headed by Aryeh Eldad, Michael Ben-Ari, Baruch Marzel and Itamar Ben-Gvir.

One of the ads in the campaign that was invalidated contains the word "trust" written in Arabic, and below it are the words “there are no rights without obligations”, a play on the campaign used by the Yisrael Beytenu party in the 2009 elections: No loyalty, no citizenship".

Rubinstein's decision was made after a complaint was filed to the Committee by former MK Mossi Raz, who is running on the Meretz list for the Knesset. In his official decision, Rubinstein wrote that “the ad is meant to humiliate one group in Israel, the Arab population. As such, it is highly likely that it will hurt the feelings of this population.”

He added, “A racist expression such as this may also affect the feelings of the Jews, which were and unfortunately are still used as a target of racist persecution around the world. In the balance between freedom of expression and the values ​​mentioned, the latter is more important. Freedom of expression applies, of course, also on insulting expressions.”

The members of the Power to Israel party responded on Wednesday night by saying that they intend to appeal the "scandalous decision," as they put it.

"Justice Rubinstein's ruling is contrary to the opinion of the Attorney General and he determined that he has the right to intervene in the content published on billboards,” said a statement from the party. “It cannot be that use of one of the country’s official languages is considered ​​racist. The demand to exercise obligations in exchange for rights is a basic requirement in any normal country."

Earlier this week, another party running in the elections, the leftist Eretz Hadasha, filed an appeal calling to disqualify Ben-Ari, Ben-Gvir and Marzel from running for the Knesset.

The party claimed that the three are guilty of incitement, racism and violation of democracy. In the appeal, the Power to Israel members are called the "Flowers of Kahane" because of their support for the legacy of Rabbi Kahane.

The three irked the leftist party for exposing the hypocrisy by both leftists and MKs and residents of the wealthier neighborhoods of Tel Aviv, who call to allow illegal infiltrators from Africa to remain in the country but at the same time refuse to host them in their homes.

Ben-Ari, Ben-Gvir and Marzel also launched a group called "Neighborhood Watch" whose members expose the areas of Tel Aviv which have literally been taken over by illegal infiltrators.