Israel‘s Supreme Court has banned the leader of a far-right ultranationalist party from running in next month’s elections.
Reversing the decisions of Israel’s elections committee earlier this month, the court ruled on Sunday to bar Michael Ben-Ari, the leader of the Jewish Power party, in an 8-1 vote.
High Court bars far-right party leader Ben Ari from running in elections: Marking first time individual candidate has been banned, justices prevent Otzma Yehudit chief from seeking Knesset seat; approve Arab slate and Jewish far-left… https://t.co/HZeaNQo2vp TimesofIsrael pic.twitter.com/xJOukJAPr2
— Jewish Community (@JComm_BlogFeeds) March 17, 2019
Ben-Ari has come under fire for comments he made about Palestinian citizens of Israel, which Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit previously said amount to “incitement to racism” and “calling for a violent renunciation of the Arab population’s rights”.
These include a May 2018 speech in which Ben-Ari called Israeli Arabs “enemies from within”, according to the Haaretz website.
Ben Ari’s racism is “a defining expression of his identity as a candidate” says the Attorney General https://t.co/ouZBjcp952
— Marcelo Ninio马赛龙 (@MarceloNinio) March 17, 2019
The court ruled in favor of appellants who argued Ben-Ari had displayed anti-Arab racism, Reuters news agency reported, citing a statement by the court.
Ben-Ari condemned the ruling, according to local media.
Otzma Yehudit’s platform calls for a war against the “enemies of Israel” that must “be total, without negotiations, without concessions and without compromises”. But isn’t this essentially the same view of Ayelet Shaked, Minister of Justice in… https://t.co/5WHaBw0h8S
— Ramzy Baroud (@RamzyBaroud) March 18, 2019
He was quoted as saying by the Haaretz:
“There is a legal junta that seeks to take over our lives. It’s not a democracy.”
Other members of Jewish Power remain eligible to run.
Israel's top court bans Kahanist leader from election run, okays Arab slates, far-left candidate: The court reversed the Knesset election committee's decision, which had approved Michael Ben Ari and disqualified Balad-United Arab List and… https://t.co/6zrXw8vL5a Haaretz pic.twitter.com/p9Uv1nadBg
— Jewish Community (@JComm_NewsFeeds) March 17, 2019
The court upheld the candidacy of Itamar Ben-Gvir, a far-right lawyer and fellow leader of Jewish Power.
According to Jewish Power, Ben-Ari’s disqualification marks the first time a candidate approved by the committee has been banned from standing in elections.
(AJE, PC, Social Media)