Jerusalem, December 2 – Members of the Joint Arab List delegation to the Israeli parliament submitted a petition to the High Court today demanding that the Knesset be designated as a “safe space” in which no criticism, mockery, or questioning of anti-Zionist ideas would be permitted. The petition comes on the heels of MK Haneen Zoabi (Balad) complaining that she felt “triggered” by the presence of Jews in their sovereign state.
The petition, filed by the Joint List, the New Israel Fund, Rabbis for Human Rights, The Israel Democracy Institute, and the Islamic Movement – Southern Division, asked the Court to rule that the Knesset was in violation of freedom of conscience for non-Zionist citizens. Those citizens, asserted the petitioners, encounter the daily, sometimes hourly, microaggression of being constantly bombarded with symbols, trappings, and insensitive reminders that Jews have established their own state instead of serving as perpetual dhimmis and whipping-boys for the non-Jewish majority in the region.
If the Court accepts the petition, the Knesset will be forced to accommodate the four anti-Zionist Arab parties that the Joint List comprises, and make arrangements to alter plenum protocol to eliminate content and deliberations that could be experienced as traumatic by legislators opposed to the existence of a Jewish state. Changes to protocol and decor would be required immediately, including the removal of all symbols of Jewish sovereignty: flags of Israel, the Menorah, portraits of famous Zionists, and Stars of David.
Events taking place at the Knesset compound would also be affected. Because of the triggering that may occur if fallen IDF soldiers or Holocaust victims are honored in their presence, the petition asks the Court to rule that holding any such ceremonies at the facility would violate the law. Similarly, the use of currency featuring images of ancient Jewish coins, or paper currency with Zionist figures, would be banned inside the building.
Petitioners included in their documents a request that the Court rule on the specific question of whether the safe space would be violated by the country continuing to call itself “Israel,” a term with traumatic connotations for many in the anti-Zionist community. “While we support the need to remove all such triggers and instances of cultural insensitivity from the environment, we recognize the practical limitations of the safe space enterprise,” it read. “We request that the Court determine whether antidiscrimination principles indicate the renaming of ‘Israel’ to something more neutral, such as ‘Palestine,’ ‘Southern Syria,’ ‘Islamic State,’ or some other less biased formula.”
Last month, Meretz, Zionist Union, and Arab lawmakers demonstrated in the legislators’ cafeteria against the SodaStream beverage machines in use behind the counter.
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