For the first time in many an election campaign, the right-wing parties are not planning to demand that the Central Election Committee disqualify the Balad part on the grounds of its blatant racism, antisemitism, anti-Zionism, collaboration with terror groups, all of which Balad has done and even produced treasonous MKs, one of whom went to jail, the other fled the country at the last minute.
The folks who usually ask for this ban are running together this election season, namely MKs Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben Gvir of the Religious Zionist slate. The funny thing is that in the past, when the elections committee, which is comprised of politicians and a Supreme Court justice, voted to ban the Joint Arab List, with Balad in it, the High Court of Justice always reversed the decision because, you know, you can’t drain the bathwater with the baby – the bathwater being Balad, the baby being Hadash and Ta’al, Balad’s two partners, who, let’s face it, are just not as crazy.
But this time around, with Balad running alone, and voicing the same revolting claptrap, there’s a better chance that the High Court would go along with the committee’s decision if it chose to ban them. And that would be a very bad thing, since, with Balad off the Ballot, the Joint Arab List would be running as the secular Arab alternative to the son-of-Muslim Brotherhood Ra’am, and could hold on to its current 6 mandates.
On the other hand, should Balad be allowed to run, it is expected to draw about 2.5% of the Arab vote that would be dumped on the trash heap of history. Also, Arab voter turnout historically depends on unity among Arab politicians. Back in 2015, when, in response to Avigdor Liberman’s draconian threshold vote that required a party to win close to four seats (3.25% of the vote) before it could enter the House, the four Arab parties united in defiance of the Liberman assault, there were record turnouts of Arab voters and the List won 13 seats. After Ra’am split, the List is down to 6, and without Balad – who knows? So letting Balad run uninterrupted get two good results: 1. 2.5% of the Arab votes will be lost, and, 2. Fewer Arab voters will go to the polls on November 1.
So, on Thursday, Ben Gvir and Smotrich announced: “We made a joint decision with all the parties of the national camp to avoid participating in this futile show, therefore we will not submit disqualification requests for candidates or lists.”
They beefed up their announcement with a litany of past injustices committed in years past by the High Court of Justice against the committee’s proper decisions to ban the Arab parties, but you could just imagine how much winking and elbow nudging was going on while the statement was being written. They even apologized to all the good citizens who had submitted well-founded requests to ban terror-supporting parties but insisted that another court reversal of an election committee ban would constitute just too much damage to the honor of the Knesset and the law.
Nudge, nudge, wink, wink.