Israel: officials in Southern Islamic Movement angry with leader

Mansour Abbas, Israeli Arab member of the United Arab List party (Ahmad Gharabli - AFP)

Middle East Monitor  /  February 16, 2022

Several senior officials of the Southern Islamic Movement in Israel have declared their anger with leader Mansour Abbas over his stances which, they allege, contradict the movement’s principles, Safa has reported.

Abbas is said to be adopting the Zionist narrative regarding the Israeli occupation. He infuriated the officials in the movement recently when he rejected the conclusion reached by Amnesty International that Israel is an apartheid state. His claim that, “Israel was born a Jewish state and will remain a Jewish state,” apparently caused uproar among the movement’s members.

The Islamic Movement in Israel was established in 1971 by the late Sheikh Abdullah Nimer Darweesh and it worked on both religious and social issues. In the 1990s, the movement was split into what became known as the Southern Islamic Movement and the Northern Islamic Movement. The latter was led by Sheikh Raed Salah, but was outlawed by the Israeli government in 2015.

“The Islamic Movement rejects the remarks of Mansour Abbas regarding Amnesty International’s investigation, the normalization with Israel and the Jewish state,” said Ibrahim Sarsour, one of the senior officials critical of the leader. “He has defected from the steadfast religious and national principles.” He called on Abbas to commit to the “text and spirit” of the movement’s principles.

Former Arab MK, Talab al-Sanei, however, told Safa that what is happening in the Southern Islamic Movement is the prelude to another split. Anyone involved in Israeli politics, he said, must adapt Israel’s policies. “Abbas is bowing down to get the consent of his Israeli masters.”