By boycotting Zelensky, Joint List shows how wrong it is - editorial

Why is the party that claims to be against “occupation” in one place now supporting occupation in another?

AFTER THE right-wing parties of the opposition voted against it, members of the Joint List celebrate the defeat of the citizenship law in the Knesset this week. (photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)
AFTER THE right-wing parties of the opposition voted against it, members of the Joint List celebrate the defeat of the citizenship law in the Knesset this week.
(photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

Once again, the Joint List, led by the Hadash Party, decided to be on the wrong side of history.

Just before Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s address to the Knesset, the party announced that its members would not attend the virtual speech.

The only Jewish member in the faction, Hadash MK Ofer Kassif, explained his position on Saturday night: “Unlike the claims we hear in the Western media, and also here day and night, that this war is the like war of the Sons of Light against the Sons of Darkness... but it isn’t. For years there were crimes against the Russian minority in Ukraine.

“In Ukraine, the regime shamelessly works hand in hand with neo-Nazi militias such as Azov. This is the truth. There is no Sons of Light against the Sons of Darkness here,” he said.

Despite adding what seems to be a must – that he is against all wars and wishes that the Russians will withdraw their forces from Ukraine – it seems that once again, the extreme Left in Israel is working in the service of brutal and ruthless regimes across the world.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addresses Israeli Knesset, public, in this image from Tel Aviv's Habima Square, March 20, 2022. (credit: NOAM MOSKOVITZ/KNESSET)Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addresses Israeli Knesset, public, in this image from Tel Aviv's Habima Square, March 20, 2022. (credit: NOAM MOSKOVITZ/KNESSET)

Hadash is the current form of the Israeli Communist Party. It is the biggest and most popular among Arab-Israelis (although is currently being challenged by the rising Islamic party Ra’am) and enjoys over-representation in the Joint List.

As of now, half of the Knesset members in the Joint List are Hadash members – the leader Ayman Odeh, Aida Touma-Sliman and Kassif.

And just like a Communist Party, it seems like they feel the urge to align with out-of-date concepts and positions that could have been seen as reasonable in Israel at the beginning of the Cold War, but now are awkward and contradictory to their declared goal – to achieve peace.

In October 2020, the party officially voted against the approval of the Abraham Accords – the peace agreements with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.

In October 2016, the party boycotted the funeral of Israel’s former president Shimon Peres, who won a Nobel Peace Prize and was one of the initiators of the Oslo Accords.

In March 2017, Hadash alongside Balad, the Palestinian-nationalist party in the Knesset, issued a cosponsored condemnation of the Gulf Cooperation Council decision to designated Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.

In December that same year, while Syrian President Bashar Assad was using chemical gas against his own people during the war in Syria, Hadash put out a statement supporting him and commending him for regaining control over the city of Aleppo. 

“The Aleppo reunification puts an end to the plans for the partition of Syria, and expresses the failure of the strategy of the United States, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, and their inability to continue to defend the terrorist organizations that destroyed Syria and ruled terror over the civilians,” the statement said.

This sums up everything that is wrong about their positions: The Israeli Communist Party sees the US and its actions as the source of all evil as if the Cold War is still going on.

So yes, MK Kassif, there is no “Sons of Light against the Sons of Darkness” war. But the situation is clear – there is one country that wants to be free; it wants to be part of the European Union and above all, it is fighting in the name of democracy. The other country – Russia – wants to regain the control it lost in the 1990s when the Soviet Union collapsed.

There’s only one country out of the two that invaded the other. Only one of them is bombing schools, shelters and hospitals. Only one of them was involved in attempts to influence elections in another country or in sending troops to help ruthless dictators overseas in places like Syria.

Why is the party that claims to be against “occupation” in one place now supporting occupation in another?

It is time to recalibrate and find a new direction.

Luckily, it seems that Israeli-Arabs have an alternative – Ra’am – a party that wishes to advance their interests even at the cost of partnering with Israeli Zionist parties

This is the way, and it is better than boycotting those who want to promote democracy and peace.