Aharon Barak
Aharon Barak Israel news photo: (file)

Former Supreme Court President Aharon Barak revealed his political views Thursday at a conference on Lawmakers for Human Rights. In his lecture, Barak described himself as “a great believer in the concept of 'a state of all its citizens.'”

Barak said, however, that Israel can be both a democratic Jewish state and a state that treats all citizens equally. “A Jew has precedence when it comes to aliyah [immigration], but as soon as he gets here, his rights should be equal to those of an Arab,” he explained.

Barak also criticized Israel's presence in Judea and Samaria as an “occupation,” and said the Israeli presence there leads to human rights offenses and racism elsewhere in Israel.

The situation has reached the point where Jews wish to throw Arabs into the sea, Barak claimed. “If you ask a Jew if he's in favor of human rights, he'll say 'Of course.' If you ask him if he's in favor of throwing the Arabs into the sea, he'll say 'Of course.' He sees no contradiction between the two,” Barak told his audience.

Echoing Bishara

"A state of all its citizens" is a phrase used by those in Israel who do not want Israel defined as a Jewish state, and is most closely associated with Azmi Bishara and his Balad party. Former MK Bishara escaped Israel after being suspected of treason. His party was disqualified from running for the Knesset but the High Court annulled the disqualification.  

Members of Knesset from the political right said Barak's speech proved that the extreme left has power over Israel's justice system. “Barak's words bear witness to the post-Zionist takeover of the courts,” said MK Yariv Levin of Likud.

MK Michael Ben-Ari of the National Union said, “The former Supreme Court President's speech, and his support for the anti-Zionist concept of 'a state of its citizens,' prove that the Supreme Court's agenda has been taken from the platforms of [MK] Ahmed Tibi and [former MK] Azmi Bishara.”

"Today, more than ever, we see the need to change the panel of judges in the Supreme Court in order to save the Jewish state,” he concluded.