Otzma on Court’s Reasoning: They Are Afraid of Us

Otzma Yehudit party members Michael Ben Ari (C), Itamar Ben Gvir (R) and Baruch Marzek (L) speak during a press conference held in response to the Supreme Court decision to disqualify Michael Ben Ari’s candidacy for the upcoming Knesset elections. (Yonatan Sindel/FLash90)

The Otzma Yehudit party slammed the High Court’s attempt to explain why it decided to ban Michael Ben-Aril from running as a candidate on the United Right List in the upcoming election. “The reasoning presented by the court has no factual basis, and apparently the judges realized that they have added three mandates to the United Right List – hence the quick attempt to explain their actions.”

A week after the court banned Ben-Ari – while allowing other candidates and parties in question, including candidate Ofer Kassif and the two Arab parties to run in the elections – the court said in a statement Thursday that “it was proven that Ben-Ari” sought to spread dissent and incitement. “We are convinced by the large number of clear and severe evidence that has repeated itself over the years – and especially over the past two years – of his racist comments against Israeli Arabs. The large number of comments, some  of which have been posted to social media sites, and things that have been said in the media by Dr. Ben-Ari, can be seen as part of a pattern of denigration of the Arab population.”

The court was not convinced by Ben-Ari’s claims that the comments were taken out of context, “and we have not received the impression that he is sorry for his actions. With that, the court said, it did not find any reason to ban the second Otzma Yehudit candidate and number eight on the United Right List, Itamar Ben-Gvir.

In its comments, Otzma Yehudit said that “given the fact that Dr. Ben-Ari stresses time after time that he is referring not to Arabs as the enemy, but only to those who are not loyal to the state, the reasoning of the court was based on selective criteria. As far as the court is concerned, it is fine for candidates and parties to call for harm to residents of Yehuda and Shomron, or to outright support Hamas and Hezbollah. This is one of the most scandalous decisions the court has ever made. It will be remembered historically as a mortal blow to democracy.”