This past Tuesday night MK Ithamar Ben Gvir went up to the podium of the Knesset to speak. MK Ahmed Tibi was leading the discussion as Chairperson of the Knesset. It is customary when starting one’s speech to open in respect of the Chair of the Knesset with the prefix, “Honorable Chairman”.
Ben Gvir refused to refer to Tibi as “Honorable Chairman”, and instead called him a terrorist. Ben Gvir was then dragged off the podium at Tibi’s request.
Ben Gvir’s behavior was met by a plethora of criticism by Israel’s mainstream left-wing media, where Tibi is a prominent interviewee. I am not going to take a stance in saying I agree or disagree with Ben Gvir’s actions and the commotion he caused, but I would like to focus on the motivation for his disrespect of Tibi.
Ahmed Tibi founded the Taal political party in 1995, which ever since the 17th Knesset (2006) has been part of the Joint List. The Joint List is a coalition of different Arab parties who share common interests of removing all remnants of Israel as a Jewish State, support for the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), the establishment of a Palestinian State with pre-67 borders, the "right of return" for all the descendants of displaced Arabs that once lived within the borders of British Mandated Palestine, and full denial of any Jewish connection to the Temple Mount.
Tibi’s party, Taal, has always been home to even more extreme ideas.
As early as 1984 Tibi met with Yasser Arafat, head of the PLO, who was responsible for the incitement and planning of terrorist attacks that killed thousands of Jews in Israel and around the world. Because Israel designated them as a terrorist organization, the meeting was illegal according to Israeli law. Through the 80s Tibi continued to strengthen his ties with the PLO, which led to him being named Arafat’s main advisor on Israel in 1993, during the Oslo Accords.
In 1996, he commented on his relationship with Arafat: "All my moves are carried out under his guidance. I believe he has faith in me, and I hope I justify his actions". In 1998 he served as the spokesperson for the Palestinian Arab delegation during the Wye Accords where the PLO gained control over 97 percent of Hebron.
It’s hard to imagine (I was born in 1997) that Ahmed Tibi was rising through the ranks of Israeli politics and becoming a member of Knesset, while his other employers, the PLO and Arafat, were inciting nonstop terror attacks against innocent Israelis.
Tibi has participated in dozens of events celebrating attacks on Israeli citizens and is in constant contact with many families of Arab terrorists who died while murdering or attempting to murder Jews. Some of these terrorists include Marwan Barghouti (lead terrorist organizations whose operatives committed hundreds of murders, while he murdered dozens), Mahmoud Jabarin (murdered Ahmad Jarura on suspicion for collaborating with Israel), Karim Yunis and Maher Yunis (terrorists who murdered soldier Avraham Bromberg in 1981).
Tibi showed his true colors during an event in Ramallah in June of 2010, which honored Palestinian Arab terrorists, known as Shahids (martyrs). In his bombastic speech he said:
“In the history of the peoples and their struggles, the Palestinian martyr is the pinnacle of glory - there is no higher value than the martyrdom…. The martyr is the symbol of the homeland. I want to offer praise and blessings to the thousands of martyrs, ours, and yours within the Green Line…The occupier wanted to brand them as terrorists, but we say that nothing is superior to those who died for the homeland. The occupier is the real terrorist and there he is considered a hero, or a minister in the government."
After becoming familiar with some of Tibi’s ideology and actions, it is natural to have second thoughts on how well he should be received and honored by the State of Israel. I may not agree with Ben Gvir’s actions, but I can understand his unwillingness to accept Tibi as a regular member of Israel’s Knesset.
The mainstream, self-hating media will not bat an eye on any of Tibi’s actions, just as they ignored the Arab attacks in June on dozens of shuls and hundreds of Jewish businesses, cars, and homes. Those who have remained immune to the brainwashing of the left-wing media are still free to contemplate how we should treat those who do not hide the fact that they clearly want our demise.
Benjamin Sipzner managed the Anglo division for the Religious Zionist Party in the last election, is an Oleh from New York, formerly a student at Yeshivat Bet El and is serving in the IDF as a lone soldier.