Tibi’s Beirut stop angers rightists

An Israeli-Arab lawmaker stirred up right-wing ire by flying to Lebanon.

News surfaced Wednesday of a trip by Ahmed Tibi to Beirut, angering rightists who are trying to pass legislation that would ban Israeli-Arab lawmakers from traveling to countries that are officially at war with the Jewish state.

Tibi, a member of the United Arab List faction who has frequently challenged the Zionist establishment, said his actions had been overblown.

Speaking to Israel Radio by telephone, Tibi said he had made only a stopover in the Lebanese capital while flying from Yemen to Jordan.

“I didn’t even get off the plane, which was there to refuel,” he said. “I was in Beirut for less than an hour.”

But Tibi spoke defiantly of the proposed bill, which would strip Israeli-Arab lawmakers of their parliamentary immunity from prosecution should they visit enemy states.

“It would be a fascist law,” he said. “Many of the right-wing lawmakers want to purge the Knesset of Arabs.”

The legislation’s authors argue that Israeli-Arab lawmakers who visit countries such as Lebanon and Syria stir up sedition among their electorate at home and spread anti-Zionist propaganda.

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