Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) President Morton A. Klein released the following statement:
ZOA calls upon all Israeli parties, Knesset members, and leaders to stand firmly against making any coalition with the anti-Israel Ra’am Islamic Movement party and Ra’am’s four members of Knesset (MKs) elected on March 23: Ra’am Chairman Mansour Abbas; Walid Taha; Said al-Harumi; and Iman Khatib-Yasin. Negotiating with Ra’am only legitimizes their abhorrent anti-Israel beliefs and policies. (ZOA would have no problem with Israeli parties negotiating with any Israeli Arab party which is clearly loyal to the Jewish State of Israel and hostile to Israel’s enemies.)
- Ra’am Chairman Mansour Abbas’ Speech in Arabic a Few Days Ago Revealed His Goal of Eliminating Israel, Called Israel’s Very Existence the “Nakba” (Catastrophe): During the past week, Ra’am Chairman Abbas gave one speech in Hebrew, calling for greater integration of Arab society in Israel, without mentioning his Palestinian nationalist goal of eliminating Israel – and then gave an entirely different speech in Arabic, in Nazareth, posted on his Facebook page.
In his Arabic speech, Abbas called Israel’s re-establishment and very existence the “Nakba” (catastrophe); praised Arabs who maintain a separate Palestinian Arab identity as opposed to an Israeli identity; and vowed to maximize Arab power, with the goal of making “Palestine” a reality and praising a future “Palestine” as the “diamond in the crown of the Arab Islamic community.” Why is he, a potential member of the Israeli Knesset, profusely praising and imagining the greatness of a potential foreign entity which is a dictatorship and enemy of Israel, which refuses to negotiate with and incites violence against Israel, and pays Arabs to murder Jews? Abbas stated:
“We stand before our people and the Arab Palestinian society modestly, and bow our heads in honor and glory of this precious society – which lived the Nakba, clung to this land and maintained its identity. Its status is in our hearts and in the hearts of the entire nation. Thanks to them, Palestine will not remain a mere memory.”
“The good community left on this land – for me and for us we continue the journey. They are the conscience that guides us and they are the roots. These are pegs planted in our lands, and our goal is to continue to strengthen this bond and power, to maximize this power, until this nation becomes the diamond in the crown of the Arab Islamic community.”
ZOA urges Israel’s leaders to remember how PLO terrorist Yasser Arafat spoke about peace in English in 1993 to obtain the benefits of the Oslo Accords, while at the same time, he spoke about destroying Israel in Arabic. Arafat then incited and planned the intifadas—terror wars, in which Arab terrorists maimed or murdered 10,000 innocent Jews. The speech in Arabic reveals an Arab leader’s real goals. Ra’am Chairman Abbas’ goal is the Jewish state’s elimination. His words are not the words of a loyal Israeli citizen.
- Ra’Am’s Conditions for Joining a Coalition, or for Supporting a Coalition “From the Outside,” Are Inimical to Israeli Democracy, The Rule of Law, and Israel’s Existence as the Jewish Homeland: (i) Ra’am is un-democratically insisting that a leader of the right wing Otzma Yehudit party not be given any operative role in a new Israeli government. (Otzma is a part of the Religious Zionist coalition, which won six Knesset seats.) (ii) Ra’am demands cancellation of Israel’s Nation State Basic Law. The Nation State Basic Law appropriately declares that Israel is the national home of the Jewish people. (iii) Ra’am is also demanding cancellation of the Kamenitz Law, which (if the law was enforced) would stem the huge problem of tens of thousands of EU-funded illegal Arab buildings constructed on Israeli lands (while failing to build in Palestinian Authority areas which have plenty of room). (iv) Ra’am is also demanding legalizing illegal Beduoin “villages” – instant tent groupings erected to unlawfully take over Israeli-owned land.
- Ra’am MKs Oppose Israel as a Jewish State and Instead Identify As Palestinian Arab Nationalists: A profile of Ra’am MK Iman Khatib-Yasin explains that “in line with her colleagues in Ra’am, Khatib-Yasin has previously voiced her objection to the definition of Israel as a Jewish state. . . . ‘I classify myself as a citizen of Israel whose national identity is Palestinian Arab,’ [Khatib-Yasin] said.”
- Ra’am’s MKs refuse to even call Hamas a terror group: During a recent radio interview, Ra’am MK Walid Taha refused to answer whether Hamas is a terrorist group, and instead criticized the radio host who asked him this question. (“Arab MK Declines to Say if Hamas is a Terror Group or Not,” Jerusalem Post, Mar. 25, 2021.)
- Ra’am is an Offshoot of the Muslim Bortherhood: Ra’am’s refusal to acknowledge Hamas terrorism may stem from the fact that both the Ra’am Islamic Movement and Hamas are offshoots of the Muslim Brotherhood. Indeed, a profile of Ra’am Party leader Mansour Abbas explains that Abbas is “an Islamist who has more in common ideologically with Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood than with any of Israel’s establishment political parties.”
- Ra’am Sides With Hamas Over Israel: In the midst of Hamas riots at the Gaza border in 2019, in which Hamas militants threw explosive devices at Israelis and attempted to breach the border to murder Israelis, Ra’am MK Walid Taha accused Israeli PM Netanyahu of an “aggressive” “policy of escalation” that would drag the region into a “real disaster,” and threaten “the security of the entire region and the lives of millions of innocent people in Gaza Strip.”
- Ra’am Opposed Peace Deals With Israel, and Opposes Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital: Ra’am’s MKs (then part of the Joint Arab List) voted againstthe recent peace deals with Israel. The Joint Arab List was the only opponent of the peace deals; the MKs from every other party that was present in the Knesset voted to endorse the peace deals. An op-ed entitled “Arab MKs Rejection of UAE Deal is Unforgivable” (by Jalal Bana, Israel HaYom, Oct. 18, 2020) notes that Arab MKs voted in favor of the peace deal with Jordan in the 1990s, but today’s Arab MKs “proved they [are] . . . anti-peace, and to a large extent – against any Arab country that wants normal and friendly relations with Israel.”
Further, Ra’am MK Said al-Harumi specifically condemned the peace deal for “perpetuating Jerusalem’s status as the capital of Israel and continuing the occupation in those sites sacred to Muslims and Christians.”
- Ra’am Should Not Even Be Permitted to Stand for Election;Israel’s Central Elections Committee Properly Banned Ra’am From Running In Prior Elections: In 2009 and 2019, Israel’s Center Elections Committee (CEC) disqualified Ra’am and certain other Arab parties due to their incitement, support for terrorist groups, support for violent Arab “resistance”, and for seeking to eliminate Israel’s existence. Israel’s left wing Supreme Court improperly overturned the CEC’s decisions.
- Ra’am’s Guiding Charter Calls Zionism Racist; Seeks Israel’s Elimination: A recent Times of Israel article exposed that Ra’am’s Guiding Charter, issued in 2018, calls Zionism “racist”; calls for a Palestinian Arab (terror) state with Jerusalem as its capital on the suicidal-for-Israel 1949 Armistice lines; along with an (invented) Arab “right of return” into all of Israel that would overrun and eliminate Israel’s existence; calls for dismantling all “settlements” (Jewish communities); compares Israel to Crusader invaders who were defeated by Saladin; and demands no recruitment of Arabs to serve in the Israel Defense Forces. The TOI article quotes several anti-Israel antisemitic statements found in Ra’am’s Guiding Charter, including:
“The State of Israel was born of the racist, occupying Zionist project; iniquitous Western and British imperialism; and the debasement and feebleness of the Arab and Islamic [nations]. We do not absolve ourselves, the Palestinian people, of our responsibility and our failure to confront this project.”
“We all are [united as] one hand until the occupation ends and a Palestinian state is established in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and in noble Jerusalem; when the expelled and displaced return to their homes and to their homeland.”
“You have a warning in the Frank apostates [the Crusaders] who forcefully ravished the land for nearly two centuries, until they were defeated by Salah al-Din al-Ayyubi and his soldiers.”
(“Ra’am’s Guiding Charter Backs Palestinian Right of Return, Calls Zionism Racist: While Mansour Abbas is Being Wooed Amid Post-Election Deadlock, the Southern Islamic Movement, of Which his Party is the Political Wing, Takes Positions Most Jewish Israelis Abhor,” by Aaron Boxerman, Times of Israel, Apr. 4, 2021.)
Ra’am’s extreme ideology and statements, defaming, and seeking elimination of the Jewish state make Ra’am unfit for a governing Israeli coalition. ZOA thus urges all Israeli parties to avoid any coalition that relies upon Ra’am.
An overwhelming majority of the Israeli electorate voted for right-leaning and/or Jewish religious parties. There are thus surely ways to form a stable government that reflects the will of the Israeli public, without relying on an Arab party that opposes the Jewish state’s existence.