Jan. 3 Press Conference: The State of Israel v. Azmi Bishara, MK
WASHINGTON, DC — On Thursday, January 3, 2002, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) will host a press conference at the National Press Club on The Case Against Freedom of Speech: The State of Israel v. Azmi Bishara. Dr. Bisharas lawyers will be on hand to discuss this unprecedented case, involving the prosecution of one of the small group of Palestinian representatives in Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, for criticizing Israeli policies. To date, no other Knesset member has ever been stripped of their immunity for political dissent. The Knessets action came after a request from the Israeli Attorney General to indict Dr. Bishara on two separate criminal counts based on his public comments.
The first indictment, brought under the Prevention of Terrorism Ordinance (1948), concerns two political speeches made by Dr. Bishara in which he expressed support for the right to resist Israeli occupation in the Palestinian Territories occupied by Israel and in south Lebanon. The second indictment, brought under the Emergency Regulations (Foreign Travel, 1948), concerns Dr. Bisharas assistance in organizing humanitarian trips for Palestinian citizens of Israel to visit relatives in Syria from whom they have been separated since 1948.