Knesset guards forcibly removed an Arab Knesset Member Jamal Zahalka from the podium Monday evening on orders from Acting Speaker Moshe Feiglin for calling him a “fascist.”
For good measure, Zahalka added that considering he was talking about Feiglin, the word fascist was a “compliment.”
The guards removed him from the chamber, but Feiglin, remaining the parliamentarian, told them he only ordered that Zahalka be taken away from the podium. As he returned to the chamber, pandemonium broke out in the circus, and everyone had a good time shouting at each other.
Other Arab MKs and Labor MK Shelley Yechomovich rushed towards the podium to protest Feiglin’s action, which he said he carried out according to the Knesset code.
Prior to Zahalka’s “fascist” comments, Feiglin had evicted Hadash party Arab MK Mohammed Barakeh from the Knesset for telling Feiglin he should “be choked.”
The mayhem revolved around the daily circus’ event of the day, a no-confidence motion over the “Jewish State Bill” that would define Israel as a Jewish state.
Zahalka managed to get in a few words against the idea, quoting Jewish philosopher Hanna Arendt, who fled the Nazis and lived in the United States and railed against the idea or re-establishing the State of Israel because it would make Arabs second-class citizens.
Zahalka said Arendt used the term “Palestinians,” prompting Feiglin to interrupt and ask him if that was the actual word she used.
Zahalka replied that she indeed said “Palestinians” and then began to lecture Feiglin that he should read the source and perhaps “learn something.” He said Arendt was anti-fascist, but he turned to Feiglin and called him a fascist.
The acting speaker, in his usual calm manner, said that Zahalka could not continue speaking, but he ignored or didn’t even hear Feiglin. Within seconds, the guards came to remove him, and he went into a rage, grabbing the podium to resist his ouster.
Can a Knesset Member called another MK a “fascist”? Can he call him a “Nazi”?
Or how about “dirty Jew?”
Or “dirty Arab?”
Opposition leader Yitzhak Herzog sharply criticized Feiglin for removing Zahalka from the podium, accusing him of violating “freedom of thought and democracy.”
What would he had said if Feiglin had called an Arab MK a “terrorist?
The video of the Knesset show is in Hebrew but that shouldn’t keep anyone from understanding what happened.
The action starts at two minutes in the video.