Israeli court rejects ban on Arab parties

ISRAELI COURT REJECTS BAN ON ARAB PARTIES…. Updating an item from Jan. 12, Israeli officials banned Arab political parties from running in next month’s parliamentary elections. I noted at the time that Israeli Supreme Court would quickly take up the matter, and cooler heads were likely to prevail.

Fortunately, that’s exactly what the Israeli Supreme Court did today.

Israel’s Supreme court overruled on Wednesday a parliamentary panel which had decided to bar Israeli Arab parties from running in next month’s parliamentary election.

The court issued its decision in response to an appeal filed by Arab politicians against the ban. A spokesman for the Courts Administration said judges overturned the ban in an unanimous vote Wednesday.

About one-fifth of Israel’s population is Arab, and there are 10 Arab lawmakers in the 120-seat Knesset. No good can come of even trying to ban Arab political parties, so the Israeli Supreme Court’s decision is a welcome one.

Raleb Majadale, the only Israeli Arab minister serving in the Knesset, applauded the decision, saying, “[T]he court didn’t yield to extremism and racism. In a democratic society, it is fitting that all minorities will be represented in the government.”

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.