The Knesset Ethics Committee on Wednesday suspended Knesset member Ofer Cassif of the Arab-Jewish Communist Hadash Party for 45 days and docked his pay for two weeks for anti-Israel comments he made in the wake of the Hamas attack on Oct. 7.
The ethics committee based its decision on remarks Cassif made that drew “a connection between the content world of the Holocaust and current government policy in times of war.”
It referred to a statement by Cassif in an Oct. 15 interview with Irish journalist Finian Cunningham, in which he accused the government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of exploiting the murderous attacks to implement a “final solution” to wipe out Palestinian Arabs.
The “final solution” typically refers to the German’s plan to annihilate European Jewry during World War II.
Cassif asserted that Israel’s current Minister of Finance Bezalel Smotrich published a 2017 “subjugation plan” that called for annexing all disputed territories, expelling all Arabs who didn’t accept their position as “subjects” and killing any who resisted.
‘Deep disgust’ at the statements
Cassif also said that the Israeli effort to eliminate the Hamas threat “has nothing to do with security. It has to do with hatred and revenge.”
The ruling noted that Cassif said “Israel wanted this violence” and urged pressure on Israel. “All lovers of peace must join forces, Palestinians and Israelis, Arabs, Jews and the international community, and tell Israel to end the occupation now.”
The committee said that 400 complaints had been filed by citizens and MKs Almog Cohen of Otzma Yehudit and Nissim Vaturi of Likud. The committee expressed its “deep disgust” at Cassif’s statements.
Cassif has made numerous anti-Israel remarks since the attack, blaming Israel’s “occupation” for the barbaric terrorist assault that cost the lives of more than 1,400 Jews, mainly civilians.
On Oct. 8, a day after the Hamas offensive, Cassif told Al Jazeera, the Qatar-based Arab news outlet, whose local bureau Israel has moved to ban for revealing the locations of IDF soldiers:
“The Israeli government, which is a fascist government, supports, encourages, and leads pogroms against the Palestinians. There is an ethnic cleansing going on.”
Cassif said the committee’s decision “is another nail in the coffin of freedom of political expression.”
“Even in these difficult days, I will not be silent and will continue to fight for the public and the principles on whose behalf I was elected—peace, equality and justice for all.”