Adalah demands criminal investigation of Avigdor Lieberman for racist speech

Statements constitute incitement to violence against Arab citizens , further poison atmosphere within Israeli society which legitimizes harm towards Arabs.

On 9 March 2015, Adalah wrote to Israeli Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein to demand a criminal investigation into former Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on the grounds of incitement to violence. The demand followed racist statements that Lieberman made against Arab citizens of Israel during an elections rally organized by the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya on 8 March.


During his speech, Lieberman said of Arab citizens: “Those who support us should get everything, but for those who are against us, there is no other option before us – we must raise the axe and chop off their heads.” Lieberman also said that he saw “no reason why Umm al-Fahem [an Arab town in Israel] should be part of the State of Israel”, and that “citizens in the State of Israel who raise a black flag on Nakba Day, as far as I’m concerned, can get out of here. I’m ready to donate them to Abu Mazen with great pleasure.”


In the letter, Adalah Attorney Nadeem Shehadeh stated that Lieberman’s statements constituted “incitement to violence against all Arab citizens of Israel, and further poison the prevalent atmosphere within Israeli society, which has seen the legitimization of harm towards Arabs just for them being Arabs, without any accountability or punishment." Attorney Shehadeh stressed that his remarks came against the backdrop of a rise in violent assaults and racist attacks against Arab citizens in recent years.


Attorney Shehadeh further wrote: “The chain of serious incidents that we have witnessed recently is indicative of the strength and influence of such incitement. Just a few days ago, Arab MK Haneen Zoabi was the victim of a brazen assault by a group of right-wing activists during a conference on representation of women in politics held by the Academic Center of Law and Business in Ramat Gan, an assault that miraculously did not end in disaster.” The letter also noted that Haaretz had published news of a photograph circulating on the Internet of a person dressed in the black garb of an Islamic State executioner, and brandishing a knife that he pressed against the neck of a person dressed in orange clothes with a photo of Haneen Zoabi taped onto his face.