(March 15, 2018 / JNS) The Knesset Ethics Committee suspended Knesset member Hanin Zoabi (Joint Arab List) on Wednesday from Israeli Knesset plenum sessions and committee discussions for one week for calling soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces “murderers.”
MK Oren Hazan (Likud) filed a complaint against Zoabi for statements she made in February in the Education Committee during debates on a law to ban anti-IDF organizations from being allowed to give lectures in Israeli schools.
“A person who kills even once in his life or kills every day of his life is called a murderer. Therefore, even the army which occasionally murders, not every day . . . Have you not heard about the young Palestinians who were murdered?” asked Zoabi. “How the truth scares people here. It’s enough that they murder every four days. Who is murdering Palestinians in occupied territory?”
The Ethics Committee ruled that calling IDF soldiers “murderers” does not qualify as the kind of political expression deserving of broad protections. It also stated that Zoabi’s libel is a violation of ethics laws requiring a Knesset member to “act in a manner appropriate to his position as a member of the Knesset and [to] promote public confidence in the Knesset.”
Zoabi did not apologize, stating that she had “spoken the truth.”
She called the Ethics Committee a “censorship committee,” and admitted “I did indeed say that among IDF soldiers there are those who murdered Palestinians. I spoke the truth, and I would be happy to hold a discussions on the matter.”