Knesset Nixes Arab MK’s BDS Trip

Joint List MK Yousef Jabareen (Hadas Parush/Flash90, File)

An Arab member of Knesset said he that he intends to petition the High Court after the Knesset denied his request to make a trip sponsored by an American BDS group, according to media reports on Wednesday.

Joint List MK Yousef Jabareen was the first to challenge the new rule instated earlier this year that authorizes the Knesset Ethics Committee to refuse MKs permission to travel at the expense of Israel boycotters.

“The decision is a violation of my freedom of political activity as an elected official,” Jabareen claimed. “Without funding by the group that invites me, I cannot travel because of the great costs of a speaking tour. This activity is a significant part of my job as an opposition MK and it is unacceptable to not allow me to take part.”

The sponsor was Jewish Voice for Peace, a far-left organization that supports BSD. It offered Jabareen an all-expenses-paid tour in April to lecture on “the deterioration of democracy in Israel, including the latest discriminatory laws.”

The tour was to include college campuses and think tanks on the east coast, as well as a possible stop in Washington.

Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan gave the committee his requested opinion on Jewish Voice for Peace, which he said “is considered one of the leading boycott organizations in the U.S.”

“In addition, the organization hosted the terrorist Ramsea Odeh, who was convicted of murdering two Israeli citizens in the 1960s, as one of its central speakers,” Erdan added.

MK Hanin Zoabi was also turned down by the Ethics Committee for the same reason, after filing for clearance to attend a conference in Ireland with funding from a local BDS-backing group.

The Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC), the only Irish group on the official Israeli blacklist, was presumed to be the group in question, according to reports.