Jewish member of Arab party incites against IDF, accuses gov’t of ‘crimes against humanity’

Ofer Cassif, the only Jewish member of the Joint Arab List in the Knesset, continues the same inflammatory tone he used in the past.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Joint List MK Ofer Cassif called soldiers of the IDF “cruel” and accused the outgoing government of crimes against humanity on Army Radio on Sunday.

“Those who shoot innocent demonstrators who don’t endanger anyone, who enter homes in the middle of the night and grab minors from their beds, are worthy of the title kalgas,” Cassif, who is No. 7 on the Joint List, said. “Kalgas” is a slang term meaning a cruel soldier who belongs to an oppressive, conquering army.

“We don’t have to be afraid to tell the truth,” Cassif said.

He also refused to apologize for having called former Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked “neo-Nazi scum,” saying that “Those who need to apologize are the members of the outgoing government and their supporters who have proven that they do not deserve to sit in the government.”

Shaked had filed a police complaint against the then-Hebrew University professor of political science when he used the extreme epithet in a December 2015 Facebook post.

Cassif added that he expected the previous government members, including Shaked, who made it into the new Knesset as leader of the right-wing Yemina list, “to take back the racist things they did that are crimes against humanity.”

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He then repeated for emphasis, “The government committed crimes against humanity.”

The Central Elections Committee had banned the only Jewish member of the Joint List from running for Knesset before the April elections due to his past incendiary comments against the government, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the IDF and religious right-wingers in general.

However, the Supreme Court overturned the ruling, and he entered the Knesset in place of longtime Jewish Communist lawmaker Dov Khenin, who decided to retire from politics earlier this year.

Cassif’s interview came as the Joint List debates whether to recommend Blue and White leader Benny Gantz as prime minister. It may abstain from supporting anyone, which has historically been the case for Arab political parties in Israel.