Knesset bars Israeli lawmaker from overseas trip sponsored by JVP

Israeli Lawmaker Youseff Jabareen (right) in the Knesset, 2016. (photo: Olivier Fitoussi / Haaretz)

Yousef Jabareen of the Arab Joint List requested to fly abroad for a series of lectures funded by Jewish Voice for Peace, but was refused.

By Jonathan Lis | Haaretz | Mar 14, 2018

“The committee’s decision constitutes a harsh blow to my freedom of political activity as an elected official. Without funding from the group extending the invitation, I will of course not be able to travel, due to the large travel expense and the round of lectures that is planned. This is activity that is a fundamental and integral part of my role as an opposition Knesset member.”
— Yousef Jabareen, Israeli Knesset member

For the first time, the Knesset Ethics Committee has decided to bar an MK [Member of the Knesset] from traveling abroad on a trip subsidized by an organization that supports a boycott of Israel.

Knesset member Yousef Jabareen of the predominantly Arab Joint List party was informed on Tuesday by committee chairman Yitzhak Vaknin (Shas) that the committee had decided to refuse his request to fly abroad for a series of lectures in April to be funded by Jewish Voice for Peace. The group appears on a Strategic Affairs Ministry list of groups supporting BDS, the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel.

In January the Knesset House Committee called on the Ethics Committee to consider barring Knesset members from undertaking travel funded by groups on the Strategic Affairs Ministry list. Ethics Committee chairman Vaknin confirmed that the members of the committee had asked the Strategic Affairs Ministry for more information on Jewish Voice for Peace. A response provided by Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan noted that the organization “is currently considered one of the leading boycott organizations in the United States, declaring its support for BDS as a non-violent tool that will compel the State of Israel to change its policy and relinquish ‘the occupied territories.’”

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