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JPost article about Israel Arab MP Tibi cites PMW research exposing Tibi glorifying terrorists

Ilene Prusher  |
Politics: Breaking stereotypes

Ahmed Tibi discusses January’s elections, the peace process and the Israeli public’s swing to the Right.

by Ilene Prusher

Ahmed Tibi has one eye on his interviewer. The other is on Al Jazeera, where he’s watching live coverage of the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al- Thani’s visit to Gaza. Another eye is on the desktop computer of his office at the Knesset, where he’s monitoring a discussion on Facebook (“I’m always on,” he explains.) Another is on his iPad, which he pops open periodically to check his appointments. Yet another is on his smartphone, where he’s texting with someone about a field visit later in the day to Kafr Yasif, northeast of Acre.

Tibi, the head of Ta’al (the Arab Movement for Renewal) and deputy speaker in the just-dissolved Knesset, has always been able to carry on more conversations than the average guy.

But some in Israel, particularly the right wing, don’t always like what he has to say – and on whose behalf he sometimes says it...

Tibi was tight with PLO chairman Yasser Arafat, whom he’d met in Tunis in 1984 and for whom he later served as a political adviser over several years, including at the Wye River negotiations in 1998. The following year, he resigned and ran for Knesset, and has been a fixture of Israeli politics ever since.

His outspokenness continues to earn him fans and foes – among both Jews and Arabs. Likud lawyer Yossi Fuchs recently filed a complaint with the elections commission asking that Tibi be disqualified, charging that he had made a speech in Ramallah in January 2011 in praise of Palestinian “martyrdom.”...

...Tibi may also be in hot water as the election season shifts into gear. Palestinian Media Watch, which recorded the so-called “Shuhada” speech in Ramallah in 2011, is planning to release the full 17- minute video of the speech he gave. Tibi says that PMW – a group with an agenda, he notes – did a deceptive cut-and-paste job to make him look bad. But Itamar Marcus, director of PMW, says that within the next two weeks they’ll hold a press conference showing the full speech, as opposed to the two-minute edited clip that they had released earlier.

Tibi, Marcus claims, tried to make it sound afterwards as if he was only talking about passive victims, but that he actually wasn’t. “Someone will make the complaint, not us. But according to our understanding of the law, since he absolutely glorified terrorists, he won’t be eligible to run for the Knesset,” Marcus says.

Tibi is not intimidated. “There’s still a case against me in the Central Elections Committee over this speech. They like to stick on me things I didn’t say. But I stand behind every word.”