Balad MK Basel Ghattas.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
The presence of an Arab Knesset member aboard last week’s flotilla to Gaza made media headlines. But much less attention was paid to the fact that Basel Ghattas’s decision was controversial even within his own Balad party – the most extreme of the three parties comprising the Joint Arab List. Indeed, a “key activist in Balad” told Haaretz last month that he opposed Ghattas’s decision on several grounds. First, the flotilla had enough high-profile international activists, so Ghattas’s presence contributed nothing. Second, it would merely provide an excuse for right-wing incitement against Israeli Arabs. And third, “Arab society in Israel has quite a few challenges that require the presence of the MKs in Israel and not on the flotilla.”