Israel’s poison pill, The Arab Joint List party

The Joint List is against the very foundations of Israel if one looks at its words and actiions - why is it part of the Knesset? Opinion.

Steve Postal ,

Joint List
Joint List
Flash 90

Last week, Arutz Sheva reported and the Jerusalem Post ran an editorial condemning Joint List leader MK Ayman Odeh (Hadash) for participating in an event with senior Hamas official Saleh Arouri. This followed news several days before that the Joint List asked the European Union to cut ties with Israel in the event that Israel moves forward with plans to extend sovereignty over parts of Judea and Samaria. But rather than these being isolated events, these developments are merely the latest in many that demonstrate that the Joint List poses a “clear and present danger” to the foundations of Israel itself.

Rejecting Jewish Nationalism and Embracing Palestinian Identity

Members of the Joint List, like their counterparts in the Palestinian Authority, undermine Israel by rejecting the legitimacy of Jewish nationalism. MK Ahmad Tibi, the founder and current leader of Ta’al, openly rejects Jewish self-determination, opining that he wishes to be the prime minister of a new post-Zionist country that would supplant Israel and would abandon its national flag and anthem.

Hadash MK Aida Touma-Suleiman similarly opposes the idea of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state, while former MK Haneen Zoabi (Balad) calls it “absurd.” Zoabi also rejects the idea of Jewish self-determination, while accepting the idea of Palestinian self-determination.

Mansour Abbas, the head of Ra’am, stated that “[o]f course, we are against the Zionist movement.” MKs Tibi (Ta'al), Touma-Suleiman (Hadash), and former MK Zoabi (Balad) all reject Israel’s Law of Return, a bedrock of Zionism.

Members of the Joint List further undermine Israel by embracing Palestinian identities and rejecting Israeli ones. MK Tibi, who calls himself “a Palestinian patriot,” met with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) when it was illegal to do so in Israel, served as a political advisor to PLO head Yassir Arafat from 1993 through 1999, and was on the Palestinian negotiating team during the Wye River negotiations. Former MK Jamal Zahalka (Balad) stated that: “Balad is part of the Palestinian national movement. We are not the Israeli left.” MK Touma-Suleiman (Hadash) refers to Arab-Israelis as “Palestinian citizens of Israel.” Former MK Mohammad Barakeh (Hadash) similarly refers to Arab-Israelis as “Palestinians” and appears to support “the national rights of the Palestinian public inside Israel.”

Supporting Terrorism

Several members of the Joint List and its predecessors have undermined Israel through material support of terrorism. The most famous case was that of Balad founder Azmi Bashara, who fled Israel in 2007 after he was suspected of spying for Hezbollah. In December 2002, the Israeli Central Elections Committee had voted to ban him from running in the subsequent election for supporting violence against Israel, but the Israeli Supreme Court overturned that decision.

Former MK Basel Ghattas (Balad) was arrested and stripped of his immunity for smuggling cellphones and documents to terrorists held in Israeli prisons.

Former MK Zoabi (Balad) was a passenger on the Mavi Marmara, the 2010 Gaza flotilla that harbored terrorists. She later called the IDF raid against the ship a “pirate operation.” In 2010, a Knesset committee voted to revoke her parliamentary immunity over her involvement with the flotilla, but then Knesset speaker Reuven Rivlin blocked it from having any effect. [In December 2012 and February 2015, the Israeli Central Elections Committee voted to disqualify Zoabi from running in elections, but the Israeli Supreme Court overturned both votes.]

More commonly, Joint List members have undermined Israel through verbal support of terrorism. MK Heba Yazbak (Balad) expressed support on Facebook for Lebanese arch-terrorist Samir Kuntar and praised the prison release of Amir Makhoul, an Israeli citizen who spied for Hezbollah. Due to these and other statements, the Israeli Central Elections Committee voted to ban her for from running in the March 2020 elections, but the Israeli Supreme Court overturned that decision.

Hadash also posted on its Facebook page an interview of a convicted terrorist who in the interview called for the kidnapping of Israelis.

When the Arab League designated Hezbollah a terrorist organization, Balad and Hadash condemned the former.

Members of the Joint List use martyrdom rhetoric regarding terror, much like their counterparts in the Palestinian Authority. Former Balad MKs Zoabi, Ghattas and Zahalka were suspended from Knesset for visiting families of terrorists and observing a minute of silence for “shahids,” or martyrs.

Ghattas also explicitly used the term “shahids,” and both Balad and the Joint List used this term on their respective Facebook pages. MK Tibi (Ta’al) had praised “the Palestinian shahid“ as “the height of glory.” Former MK Taleb Abu Arar (Ra’am) also has outwardly supported martyrdom, stating that Arabs “will give our pure blood in exchange for preserving our land.” Former MK Massud Ganaim (Ra’am) praised shahids and stated that the Palestinian nation exists on land of Ribat (religious war).

Members of the Joint List morally equivocate terrorism with counter-terrorism/Israeli behavior. Perhaps the most famous example of this is former MK Zoabi (Balad). She called IDF soldiers “murderers,” and stated that “Hamas is not a terrorist organization.” She also stated that the Hamas kidnapping of three Israeli boys in 2014 was not terrorism, while the IDF’s efforts to locate the boys was.

MK Touma-Suleiman (Hadash) has also morally equivocated Hamas attacks and the IDF’s response to those attacks, and violence propagated by the Palestinian national movement and the operations of the IDF generally. She has also stated that those who support “occupation” and “annexation” are supporting terror. MK Odeh (Hadash) similarly stated that the violence of the First Intifada was “fully justified” because of the “occupation.” In 2015, Hadash’s Facebook page criticized Israel’s assassination of Samir Kuntar as one of “thuggery,” while morally equivocating Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to ISIS.

Rejecting Israeli Sovereignty

Members of the Joint list undermine Israel by rejecting its sovereignty over all parts of the country, be it Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, the Golan Heights, and even its “interior.”

Jerusalem. Several Joint List members undermine Israel’s claim to Jerusalem. MKs Odeh (Hadash), Tibi (Ta’al), Osama Saadi (Ta’al) and former MK Jamal Zahalka (Balad) opposed the United States moving its embassy to Jerusalem. Odeh (Hadash) also wished that eastern Jerusalem would be the capital of a future Palestinian state and that Fatah would hold its conference there. MK Tibi (Ta’al) supported a bill recognizing “Al-Quds” as the “beating heart of Palestine” in religious, cultural, diplomatic and historical aspects. Former MK Abu Arar (Ra’am) made a false claim that the British found that the “Jews had no right” to the Western Wall. Former MK Ganaim (Ra’am) denied any Jewish historical connection to the Temple Mount.

Judea and Samaria, and the Occupation Canard.

Another way in which the Joint List members seek to undermine Israeli sovereignty is through criticism of the “occupation.” Contrary to popular belief, Israel’s claim to Judea and Samaria is not one of “occupation.” But Palestinian leaders have also used the term “occupation” to refer to pre-1967 Israel.

MKs Mtanes Shehadeh (Balad's leader), Odeh (Hadash), Touma-Suleiman (Hadash), and Tibi (Ta’al), and former MKs Barakeh (Hadash) and Abu Arar (Ra’am) all peddle this canard.

Golan Heights. Joint List members also reject Israel’s sovereignty in the Golan Heights. MKs Odeh (Hadash) and Saadi (Ta’al) opposed Israeli annexation of the Golan Heights. After Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated that he would name a new town there after President Donald Trump, MK Yusef Jabareen (Hadash) called the town “illegal.”

“Interior” (west of pre-1967 lines) as Palestine. Not only do several Joint List members reject Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, and the Golan Heights, but they also reject it in the “interior” of the country. Former MK Abu Arar (Ra’am) has called Israel’s Negev region “the occupied Negev” and the Arab-Israelis as par of the “Palestinian Interior.” Hadash similarly echoed the “Palestinian Interior” terminology in a delegation to meet Jenin District Governor Talal Dweikat of the Palestinian Authority.

Defaming Israel

Members of the Joint List, much like their counterparts in the Palestinian Authority, spread defamation about Israel. MKs Odeh (Hadash), Touma-Suleiman (Hadash), Tibi (Ta’al), Saadi (Ta’al), and former MK Ghattas (Balad) have all called Israel or Israel’s right wing “fascist.”

MK Touma-Suleiman (Hadash) falsely accused the IDF of the “atrocity” of spraying Palestinians at a checkpoint as a precaution against coronavirus. [It later turned out that it was the Palestinian Authority that was doing the spraying, and Touma-Suleiman retracted her statement]. She also has stated that Arab regimes were entering into a “satanic alliance” by allying with either Israel or the United States. Former MK Abu Amar (Ra’am) falsely accused Israel of setting al-Aqsa Mosque on fire in 1969.

Shehadeh (Balad) also defamed Blue and White leader Benny Gantz, claiming that he glorified the murder of civilians in Gaza.

Embracing the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement

Lastly, several members of the Joint List, including MKs Shehadeh (Balad), Tibi (Ta'al), Touma-Suleiman (Hadash), and Jabareen (Hadash) support the BDS movement. The BDS movement is an anti-Semitic campaign to destroy Israel which Israeli MKs have called "terrorists in suits."

Given the Joint List’s rejection of Israel’s foundations, the European Union and most importantly Israel itself should reject any criticism of Israel as farcical. Recent developments continue to show that the Joint List is not interested in peace or reconciliation. In pressing forward with sovereignty, Israel should ignore the true poison pill of Israel politics, the Joint List.

Steve Postal (e-mail: has been previously published in The American Spectator, American Thinker, The Christian Post, The Federalist, The Times of Israel, and The Washington Post.