Knesset member walks out of Holocaust Remembrance ceremony

Ahmed Tibi, an Arab member of the Israeli Knesset, explained that he left because he believed his presence was lending a platform to Ben Gvir’s “fascist” views.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

An Arab lawmaker walked out of a Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony held at the Knesset in what he called an act of protest against MK Itamar Ben Gvir of the Religious Zionism party.

Ahmed Tibi of the Arab Joint List, who made headlines Wednesday with his Twitter spat with Religious Zionism MK Betzalel Smotrich, decided to walk out of the event when Ben Gvir began reading the names of Holocaust victims.

On Twitter, Tibi explained that he left because he believed his presence was lending a platform to Ben Gvir’s “fascist” views.

“We will fight against violence, against racism and against fascism,” he wrote. “I will never give legitimacy to a racist who denies my and my people’s human rights because of who I am and who we are.”

“For Tibi the terror supporter, Holocaust Remembrance Day is also a good day to get another headline in the newspaper,” Ben Gvir responded on Twitter.

“The truth is that there is not much to expect from Yasser Arafat’s personal assistant, who is responsible for the murder of many Jews, but it is good that I came to the Knesset. It’s already getting you out of here. Do me a favor, go out every time I talk. I am honored.”

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But Tibi’s walkout wasn’t the only dramatic moment at the usually somber ceremony.

When MK Avi Maoz, also of the Religious Zionism party, approached the plenum to read names of victims, a guest at the event started berating him.

“Aren’t you ashamed to take part in such a ceremony for those who were burned in the Holocaust? It’s a shame that you are alive and that your parents weren’t burned there,” Hebrew media reported the man as saying.

The man, who has not been identified, was escorted out of the hall by Knesset guards.

It’s thought that he verbally attacked Maoz because of his party’s conservative stance on LGBT issues. Maoz’s Noam faction, which was absorbed into the Religious Zionism party, has previously come under fire for what some called an anti-gay agenda.

In 2019, Noam’s campaign used the phrase “Israel chooses to be normal” and released a video stating that LGBT activists are akin to Nazis and Palestinian terrorists as they “want to destroy us.”