'Free lessons in democracy.' Ben-Ari
Photo: Dudi Vaaknin
'Puts his title to shame.' Oppenheimer
Photo: Gil Yohanan

Machsom Watch: Probe MK Ben-Ari for incitement

Human rights organization calls on attorney general to launch criminal investigation against National Union MK who called to 'persecute leftist traitors'

Female activists at the Machsom Watch human rights organization on Thursday urged Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein to launch a criminal investigation against Knesset Member Michael Ben-Ari on suspicion of incitement, after he referred to members of leftist organizations as "traitors who must be persecuted at any cost."


The National Union MK made his comments to some 20 leading right-wing activists, in a closed door discussion during an SOS Israel conference in Jerusalem.


"His statements need to be condemned – not only by human rights organizations, but by all members of Knesset," a Machsom Watch official was quoted as saying.


The NGO slammed the prime minister for not denouncing Ben-Ari's statments, claiming that "his silence constitutes acquiescence.


"In the past, people who shared Ben-Ari's views, such as Rabbi Meir Kahane, were outlawed. But today he lets himself express his views freely and fearlessly in public, and no one says a thing," the organization stated.


Machsom Watch activists expressed concern that comments such as Ben Ari's were becoming more common among coalition members, and called on Weinstein to launch a probe against the Knesset member.


'Might lead to bloodshed'

Peace Now chairman Yariv Oppenheimer also harshly criticized Ben-Ari's comments, saying "I was shocked to hear that he could not restrain himself, and continued to lie and incite against those who fight to keep Israel's democratic identity.


"Ben-Ari puts his title of an MK to shame, and his activities might lead to bloodshed," he added.


"It isn't surprising to hear verbal violence from a man who was a member of a kahanist terror organization," said a source at the Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity movement, which organizes protests in the east Jerusalem neighborhood.


"What should frighten every Israeli citizen is that Ben-Ari brought terrorism from the fringe of society to the parliament house, and due to constitutional impotence and political sluggishness – he is dictating his racist agenda to the whole state," he added.


The Ir Amim organization also denounced the statements, saying "Ben-Ari's vile comments are redolent of the worst hate speeches in history. They need to make every sane Israeli bow his head in shame over the fact that these are his elected representatives."


Despite the harsh criticism, MK Ben-Ari was not deterred, and refused to apologize for his comments.


"I am not surprised that the 'knights of democracy,' who give terrorists freedom of speech, want to shut me up. I am willing to give them free lessons in democracy," he noted.



פרסום ראשון: 01.06.11, 19:58
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