Ahmad Tibi demanded Wednesday that Israeli Ambassador to the US Michael Oren retract his claim that the Arab Knesset member had expressed support for suicide attacks.
In an article published by the US magazine Foreign Policy last week, titled "Israel’s Resilient Democracy," Ambassador Oren wrote that "Israel
has tolerated acts that would be deemed treasonous in virtually any other democracy. Ahmad Tibi, who once advised PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat and recently praised Palestinian 'martyrs' — a well-known euphemism for suicide bombers — serves as a member and deputy speaker of the Knesset."
In an official letter of complaint addressed to Foreign Ministry Director-General Rafi Barak, Tibi, of the United Arab List-Ta'al party,
wrote "of all the factual errors, omissions and half-truths in Ambassador Oren’s piece, perhaps the most troubling was this paragraph, which regurgitates a long-debunked lie about the deputy speaker of Oren’s own parliament."
The MK demanded that Ambassador Oren retract the accusations. “Mr. Oren attacked me, distorted my words, and claims that I support suicide attacks against Israeli citizen, which is the absolute opposite of my position,” he wrote.
Tibi stressed that Oren's article was published about a week ago, after it had been reported in Israel that a video purported to display a speech
in which the Arab MK lauded suicide bombings was "maliciously edited, and after many, included journalists Ben-Dror Yamini and Dan Margalit retracted their criticism against me on this matter."
Tibi demanded that Oren retract his statements, "both because of the lie and because of the ban on attacking elected officials," adding that if his demand was not met he would file a libel suit against Oren.
In response to Tibi's letter, the spokesperson of Israel's US embassy said that Oren's article "relates to the resilience of Israel's democracy, one which allows broad freedom of opinion and expression, including views and action which outrage the majority of the public."