arab mks against lieberm.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
In the wake of Israel Beitenu's addition to the government Monday, the Knesset's Arab parties have launched an international public relations battle against the new government.
Calling Israel Beitenu the "embodiment of all that is racist and fascist," a spokesman for the Balad Party said that the Arab MKs were turning to the rest of the world to help them protest the new coalition.
"The international community should pressure the Israeli government, perhaps with a boycott, in order to stop this dangerous party," said MK Ahmed Tibi, Chairman of the Balad Party.
The 11 MKs from the Balad, Rahat-Ta'al, and Hadash Parties said that they would join forces to write to parliaments throughout the world. Their letters will mostly focus on Israel Beitenu's leader, Avigdor Lieberman, the newly appointed Minister of Strategic Affairs.
"Just look at his title, and then see what this man's history has been," said MK Dov Henin (Hadash). "He is charged with looking into threats, yet he himself is a threat to anyone who believes in democracy and peace."
Lieberman has clashed with the Knesset's Arab Parties since the opening weeks of the 17th Knesset, when he likened Arab MKs who visited Syria to Nazi collaborators. During the election, Lieberman also called for transferring parts of Israel's 1.5 million Arabs a future Palestinian State.
An Israel Beitenu spokesman said that the party was outraged by the behavior of the Arab MKs.
"We won't do anything to try and stop them because, like most things they do, this sounds like hot air," said the spokesman.
The Arab MK faction kicked off the anti-Lieberman campaign with a protest outside the Knesset building Monday, only an hour before the plenum debate on Lieberman was scheduled to begin.
Holding signs reading "Lieberman the racist," the Arab MKs and municipal heads from the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee promised to do everything in their power to fight Lieberman.
"This is a black day for Israeli democracy and a mark of Cain for Olmert's government, which legitimizes racism and fascism," said MK Taleb a-Sanaa (Rahat-Ta'al). "Governments across the world should boycott the Israeli government over Lieberman as well as its policies against the Palestinians."
Arab MKs have increased their protests of Lieberman since the Israel Beitenu Chairman struck a deal to join the government last week.
Lieberman is set to become Israel's first minister of strategic affairs, where he has said that he will focus his attention on the Iranian nuclear threat.