MKs: Boycott Arab Party Over Peres Funeral Absence

Former President Bill Clinton and Israeli President Reuven Rivlin arrive Thursday in Yerushalayim for the funeral of Shimon Peres. Rivlin cut short a state visit to Ukraine to be there. (Hadas Parushl/Flash90)
Former U.S. President Bill Clinton (L.) and Israeli President Reuven Rivlin arrive Thursday in Yerushalayim for the funeral of Shimon Peres. (Hadas Parushl/Flash90)

The decision by the United Arab List to boycott Shimon Peres’s funeral should not go unpunished, said MK Oded Forer. In a letter to coalition chairman MK David Bitan, Forer requested that the coalition boycott activity involving the UAL in order to protest its refusal to attend the funeral. The boycott would entail getting up and leaving the Knesset when UAL MKs spoke, and preventing them from signing onto bills authored by coalition MKs.

“The denigrating and obnoxious terminology the UAL MKs used to insult not only the institution of the presidency but also of the state is another testimony to the unceasing desire of these people for the destruction of Israel,” said Forer. “This action joins previous actions in which the UAL supported terrorists, calling them ‘martyrs,’ encouraging the boycott of Israel, asking the U.N. to condemn Israel at every turn, encouraging and supporting incitement, and much more.” Forer sent a copy of his letter to the heads of all the parties, except the UAL.

None of the UAL members showed up at Friday’s funeral. Faction leader Ayman Odeh told Army Radio Thursday that he was “not participating in this ‘celebration of history,’ which is all about the events of 1948 and nuclear weapons,” referring to Peres’s role in the establishment of the Dimona nuclear facility and alleged role in the development of Israel’s nuclear weapons capacity. “I think all of these things brought disaster on other nations and on my nation in 1948.”’

Responding to the criticism of the UAL’s boycott, Ayman said on Friday after the funeral that it was “sad” that Peres had passed away, but that it was not for him to attend the funeral. “Peres has family and friends who are mourning him,” said Odeh. “Politically this was a period of national mourning that I had no part in – not in the narrative, not in the symbolism, not in the stories of Peres the security hawk. This weekend we commemorate the deaths of Arabs in 2000 at the hands of police, one of whom was my wife’s younger brother. Is anyone connecting to that pain, does it interest anyone? Peres did some positive things, but he also did some unforgivable things. The Jews have to feel our pain as well, otherwise we cannot truly be citizens.”

Several weeks ago, before Peres’s death, UAL MK Basel Ghattas launched a diatribe against Peres on social media, accusing him of “wallowing in Arab blood. He has been around for a long time, he seems to have seven souls. Peres was one of the pioneers of the Zionist enterprise – especially of its colonialist settlement policies. He was one of the most cruel to the Palestinians, and one of the most damaging.

“Despite all this, Peres was able to portray himself as a ‘dove of peace,’” Ghattas continued. “He even won a Nobel Peace Prize. Of course, without assistance from us Arab MKs he would not have succeeded. Upon his death we will remember him for his tyrannical war crimes. He is covered in blood from head to toe. We will not rush to participate in the festival of sorrow and collective sadness,” he added.

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