Adalah to AG: The Criminal Investigation Opened Against MK Taleb A-Sana Reflects a Policy of Political Discrimination


Today, Adalah staff attorney Marwan Dalal sent a letter to Attorney General Elyakim Rubenstein, regarding his instruction to open a police investigation against Member of Knesset (MK) Taleb A-Sana.


Dear Sir,


Subsequent to your instruction to open a criminal investigation of MK Taleb A-Sana in connection with his political statements against the Occupation and the right to resist it, we hereby approach you as follows:


1.                  We wish to express concern at the excessive ease by which the Attorney General uses the means of criminal law at his disposal against Arab public figures for their political statements.


2.                  MK Taleb A-Sana is not affiliated with the political consensus currently prevailing in Israel. There is no reason to assume that his statements on the Israeli Occupation, and on the internationally recognized right to resist it and any other occupation, will be welcomed by those who disagree with his political position.  On several occasions, furthermore, MK A-Sana has explained that his words did not constitute a call to exercise any form of violence, but were intended to explain the prevailing reality. This is a grievous reality, for many constitutive reasons, led by Occupation, dispossession, and assassinations of Palestinian political figures in the Occupied Territories.


3.                  The underlying approach that is discernible in the Attorney General’s decisions is one that considers political statements voiced by Arab public figures as a risk that must be dealt with in the courts. In contast, racist expressions voiced by Jewish public figures against the Arab population are political statements – prevalent and tolerated. Your decision in the matter of MK Taleb A-Sana is simply the continuation of a long-established tradition.


4.                  The Attorney General makes no distinction between statements directed at governmental authorities - which are by definition political statements – and statements directed against a minority community - which are by definition racist statements.


5.                  Statements made by Jewish public figures against Arab public figures do not attract a rapid response from the Attorney General, in contrast to political statements made by Arab public figures. The calls made by Minister Avigdor Lieberman and MK Michael Kleiner to put Arab MKs before a firing squad did not lead to any legal action. Similarly, Rabbi Ovadya Yossef’s statements that the Arabs should be exterminated, received no response from the Attorney General. According to the Attorney General, MK Rehavam Ze’evi’s claim that the Jews in contrast to Arabs tell the truth, falls within the sphere of Mr. Ze’evi’s substantive immunity as a Member of Knesset.


6.                  The selective standards applied by the Attorney General regarding statements made by Arab public figures and those made by Jewish public figures erode the legitimacy of his rulings. In terms of the present issue, it is even more severely eroded, in view of the Attorney General’s decision to provide legal support for the Israeli government’s policy of targeted killings. This policy has been censured not only by the international community of human rights organizations but also by the US State Department.


7.                  I therefore request that you reconsider your policy of initiating police investigations against Arab public figures, and that you revoke your directive to the police to investigate MK Taleb A-Sana for his political statements.



I will appreciate your prompt reply.



Yours sincerely,


Marwan Dalal, Attorney