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At least one Joint List MK to boycott Zelensky speech to Knesset

Joint List MK Ofer Cassif eats a lollipop in the Knesset in Jerusalem on November 3, 2021. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
Joint List MK Ofer Cassif eats a lollipop in the Knesset in Jerusalem on November 3, 2021. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

Hard-left Joint List parliamentarian Ofer Cassif says he will boycott Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s speech to the Knesset later this afternoon.

“Very sad that good leftists are being deceived after false propaganda — and even expect my friends and me to align with the lies being fed to us,” Cassif says in a tweet.

“I do not take sides in unnecessary wars that harm innocent civilians, strengthen those in power and enrich the lords of war,” adds Cassif.

The Joint List, a bloc of mostly Arab parties in the opposition, has yet to announce whether the whole faction will boycott. Cassif, who is Jewish, is a member of Hadash, a Communist Arab-Jewish party with historic ties to the Soviet Union and Russia.

MK Aida Touma Suleiman, also of Hadash, is also likely not to attend. A spokesman for faction head Ayman Odeh did not respond to a request for comment.

Cassif’s decision sparked widespread criticism, including from fellow leftists.

“Nothing can justify boycotting the speech of a democratically elected leader who is representing people under savage attack by a totalitarian nuclear power,” says left-wing human rights attorney Michael Sfard.

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