The International Marxist Tendency (IMT) condemns the proposed expulsion of Communist Ofer Cassif MK from the Israeli Knesset (parliament), and we indignantly protest the suppression of democratic rights in Israel.
Ofer Cassif is a leading member of the Israeli Communist Party (Maki) and a representative of the Hadash coalition in the Knesset. He was suspended by the Knesset’s ‘Ethics’ Committee for 45 days on 18 October, after he accused the government of carrying out the ethnic cleansing of Palestinian territories. In other words, he was suspended from parliament for telling the truth! Now the regime is pushing for his expulsion from parliament altogether.
The latest attack on Cassif was launched after he signed a petition in support of South Africa’s case in the International Court of Justice, which accuses Israel of committing genocide in Gaza. Shortly after he signed this petition, 85 MKs from the ruling far-right coalition and the so-called ‘moderate’ opposition signed a motion to the Knesset House Committee, calling for his expulsion.
On Tuesday 30 January, the Knesset House Committee voted 14-2 to support the motion to expel Cassif on the grounds that his support for South Africa’s case was “treasonous” and amounted to “support for an armed struggle” against the State of Israel. Cassif’s expulsion will be put to the vote in the Knesset on 19 February, and must win the support of 90 of the Knesset’s 120 members to pass. Considering that 85 MKs already signed the motion to expel Cassif, it is highly likely that Cassif will be expelled.
The real intent behind this attack on Cassif is clear: to crush any opposition within Israel to the genocidal war it is carrying out in Gaza, and the ongoing ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in the West Bank. The far-right National Security Minister, Ben Gvir, made this plain when he posted a picture of another Hadash MK, Ayman Odeh on X (Twitter) with the comment: “next in line”.
Fellow Hadash MK, Aida Touma-Suleiman, has warned that “with Tuesday’s debate, the members of the Knesset are gnawing away at the remnants of democracy” in Israel.
Regardless of our political differences with Cassif and Hadash, we support their democratic rights and offer our solidarity in their struggle against Zionist repression. Communists and consistent democrats all over the world should rally in support of all victims of repression, and protest against a flagrant attack on basic democratic rights, which shows not only the hypocrisy of bourgeois democracy in general, but the rottenness of Israeli ‘democracy’ in particular.