Majadle accuses Labor of racism

August 26, 2011 03:26

Labor MK says party has disqualified Arabs disproportionately from membership list; gives examples of Arabs who repeatedly tried to join the party but were blocked.

1 minute read.

Amir Peretz, the Labor four

Amir Peretz and Labor 4 311. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)

Labor MK Ghaleb Majadle, who heads the party’s Arab sector, accused the party of racism on Thursday for disqualifying Arabs disproportionately from Labor’s membership list.

The party published a list on Tuesday of some 61,000 members eligible to vote in the September 12 primary and said the membership of 14,315 people was still pending, due to thousands of appeals issued on the membership list and the need for payments by standing order to be approved by banks.

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A Labor spokeswoman said appeals of 4,973 people who registered for the party but had been disqualified were accepted and they were added to the membership list, while the appeals of 2,804 registrants were declined.

A spokesman for MK Amir Peretz, whose candidacy Majadle supports, said 670 of the 2,804 people rejected were Arabs.

“You are disqualifying Arabs for racist reasons,” Majadle reportedly shouted at the head of Labor’s election committee, former minister Ra’anan Cohen, at a meeting of the party’s executive committee secretariat on Thursday.

Majadle gave several examples of Arabs who repeatedly tried to join the party but were blocked by bureaucracy, technicalities and politics.

Labor’s elder statesman, MK Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, came out in favor of delaying the election by a week to resolve outstanding issues with the membership list.

“You know you are crazy trying to [hold the race] when nothing is ready,” Ben-Eliezer reportedly shouted at Cohen in the closed-door meeting.

The only candidate who openly supports delaying the race is venture capitalist Erel Margalit, but spokesmen of candidates have repeatedly accused other candidates of privately being in favor of postponing the primary.

Margalit told the executive committee secretariat that the race should be delayed in order to take advantage of the housing protests for a new membership drive.

“There is a historical opportunity to renew ourselves and open the door to the protest outside,” Margalit said at the meeting. “Thousands of people are looking for leadership. They just need to be invited.”

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