The Knesset Ethics Committee has banned two Arab MKs from receiving funding for their flights abroad from organizations that promote a boycott against the State of Israel. The MKs in question are Hanin Zoabi and Yousef Jabareen from the Joint Arab List. Jabarin was scheduled to fly to the United States with funding from the Jewish Voice for Peace, and Zoabi was scheduled to fly to a conference in Ireland.
The Jewish Voice for Peace describes itself as the “Jewish wing” of the Palestinian solidarity movement, and seeks to “end the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem.” Its funding sources are not transparent, according to NGO Monitor, but their IRS reports show it received $280,000 from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, as well as funding from the Violet Jabara Charitable Trust (an Arab-American foundation), the Firedoll Foundation, and the Wallace Global Fund, all of which contribute to numerous anti-Israel groups.
This is the first time that the ethics committee debated a case based on the new rules of ethics which state that the committee will “consider not approving a trip abroad financed by an organization or body that knowingly has publicly published a call to boycott the State of Israel or has undertaken to participate in such a boycott.”
These rules were added following a decision taken two months ago by the House Committee under then chairman MK Yoav Kish (Likud).
The Ethics Committee wrote Jabareen that “the organization that wishes to invite you and to finance your trip is on the list of the main boycott organizations that operate consistently and continuously against the State of Israel, prepared by the Ministry for Strategic Affairs and Public Information.”
MK Jabareen issued a statement saying: “The prohibition on travel constitutes a serious violation of my freedom of political activity as a Knesset member. Without the funding from the inviting body, of course I would not be able to travel to the United States because of the numerous costs associated with the trip and the round of lectures. Participation in conferences and speeches constitutes an essential part of my role as an elected official, and it is inconceivable not to allow me to carry out this role.”
“I am considering petitioning the High Court of Justice against the recent amendment to the ethical rules prohibiting travel sponsored by boycott supporters,” Jabareen thretened.