The Balad movement is planning to launch an international campaign this week demanding that Israel drop the case against former MK Azmi Bishara. The party's most senior Knesset member, Jamal Zahalka, will leave Wednesday for a five-day tour in the US to promote the issue.
Balad will call for the establishment of an international committee to investigate the way Bishara was allegedly framed, and urge Israel to cancel the probe against him.
"We are ready for any inquiry commission or international investigation of this matter," Zahalka told Ynet. "In light of the Shin Bet's declaration of intent, the world should define the Arab public in Israel as a minority at risk."
According to Zahalka, "Many people in Israel and abroad understand perfectly that these accusations are unfounded, and that they are the result of the need to find a scapegoat for the failures of the Lebanon war."
The Balad MK vowed to appeal to every international institution, including the UN, the Human Rights Commission in Geneva, the EU, governments, parliaments, universities and human rights organizations, in order to have them exert pressure on Israel to close the case.
"We will hold assemblies in Europe, Canada and the US," he said. "Bishara's political views are well known in the West, and receive wide legitimization and support from human rights groups, parliaments and intellectuals."
Many Balad activists, including Arab intellectuals in Israel and abroad, are expected to take part in the campaign for Bishara. However, Zahalka said that he was not sure whether they would be able to impact public opinion in Israel. "With the atmosphere that has been created here it is impossible to hold a rational discussion on Bishara's issue.
"However, when the situation calms down, I think that a lot of people will understand that he was framed. The question is whether political vindictiveness will triumph, and Bishara will be put on trial for his views… we have to persuade the public that Bishara's views are legitimate, and that's the real challenge," he concluded.