Liberman calls for boycott of Joint Arab List, denies claims Israel spied on Iran talks

"They always try to slander the state of Israel and undermine its foundation," foreign minister says.

March 24, 2015 10:14
2 minute read.

Avigdor Liberman. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

Speaking to Army Radio on Tuesday, Foreign Minister and Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avigdor Liberman called on all Zionist parties to "boycott the Joint Arab List," the coalition of Arab parties that includes Arab nationalists, communists and Islamists.

Liberman said that all government ministries and committees should enforce the suggested boycott.

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The foreign minister's comments came in light of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's meeting with minority leaders on Monday during which he apologized for statements he made on election day warning right-wing voters that the Arabs were voting en masse.

The prime minister had warned that foreign, non-governmental actors were busing Arabs citizens to the polls "in droves", attempting to unseat him and that supporters of a right-wing government should rally around Likud to ensure its continued leadership.

During his meeting with the minority leaders, the prime minister emphasized the difference between moderate Arab-Israelis and members of the Joint Arab List who, on the same day, had rejected the prime minister's apology.

The party's chairman, Ayman Odeh, suggested that the prime minister “should return the mandates he received for his incitement, " and stated that  "We [Arab Israelis] are waiting for a real apology, which means real equality.”

Liberman referred to the prime minister's recent remarks concerning the Join Arab List, saying that "it is good that Netanyahu invited the moderate [Arab Israeli] public and not representatives of the Joint Arab List, who receive instructions from Qatar or elsewhere abroad."

"They always try to slander the state of Israel and undermine its foundation", he added.

Liberman provided examples of what he considers to be traitorous behavior by Joint List members quoting recent remarks by Ayman Odeh's public relations chief, who compared Zionism to ISIS.

"We are unable to strengthen the moderates," Liberman said, going on to suggest that the 13 mandates that the Joint Arab List gained in last week's elections were a result of the Zionist parties' timidity in the face of its extremist rhetoric.

"We cannot bury our heads in the sand," he went on to say, criticizing other leaders for ignoring what he see's as a fifth column in Israeli politics.

The Yisrael Beytenu leader also denied claims made by a US official in an interview with the Wall Street Journal that Israel has been spying on the ongoing P5 + 1 negotiations in Switzerland, specifically the US delegation which is currently engaged with their Iranian counterparts regarding Tehran's nuclear ambitions.

"I think these reports are incorrect and inaccurate," he said dismissively.

"Obviously Israel has different security interests [than the US] and we have a good Intelligence service," Liberman said, but he said  that Israel does not "deal in espionage against the United States."

Gil Hoffman contributed to this report.

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