Israel bans 'racist' party posters

2012-12-13 14:00

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Jerusalem - Israel's electoral commission on Thursday announced a ban on racist anti-Arab posters used by an extreme rightwing party ahead of the 22 January general election.

Otzma LeIsrael (Strength to Israel) posters with the words "Taxes" and "Loyalty" and the sub-heading "No rights without obligations" infer that Israel's Arab minority, 20% of the population, does not pay taxes and is disloyal.

Such posters are "racist because they are aimed at humiliating one part of the population", commission chief Elyakim Rubinstein said in a statement explaining his decision, taken after complaints from Arab-Israelis and anti-racism activists.

But one of the party's leaders, Aryeh Eldad, defended the posters on Israeli military radio.

"Everyone knows that the Arabs pay less tax. They are more involved [than Jews] in crime and car accidents: We see nothing racist in stating that," he said.

Otzma LeIsrael was set up by Eldad and another member of Israel's parliament, Michael Ben Ari, after they split with another extreme right faction, the National Union.

Israel's Arab community is descended from the 160 000 Palestinians who stayed after the Jewish state was created in 1948, and today numbers more than 1.3 million people. Arab-Israelis complain of discrimination in jobs and housing.

- SAPA
Read more on:    israel  |  racism
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