Another royal committee member comes under fire

Zaid Nabulsi under scrutiny for past social media posts

Royal committee
Member of the Royal Committee for Modernizing the Political System Zaid Nabulsi (left) and former members Wafa Al-Khadra (center) and Oraib Rantawi. (Photo: Jordan News)
AMMAN — Zaid Nabulsi, a member of the Royal Committee for Political Modernization, is facing social media criticism for statements and comments he posted in the past. Thousands of social media users are using the hashtag اقاله_زيد_النابلسي# to call for the lawyer to resign from the committee. اضافة اعلان

Nabulsi declined an interview with Jordan News, instead pointing to the statement he posted on Facebook. In the statement, he described the “fierce campaign to defame me and direct incitement against me by a few who do not represent this noble and good people.” He described his Muslim faith and disregarded attempts to dispute his faith “just because we disagree on the interpretation of some of the matters that scholars have differed on since time immemorial.” He also emphasized his loyalty to the country.

“I, as a member of this committee, did not utter a letter calling for the amendment of the state religion article in the Constitution,” wrote Nabulsi, “and what I published - and is still published on my page until this moment - was just a purely constitutional and academic legal topic on secular constitutions that represents my view as expressed by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.”

“What I published was just a constitutional legal opinion in my field of expertise as a lawyer who studied constitutional law as a basic subject in a Master’s degree from Britain, and does not deserve this systematic campaign to demonize me and describe me with the vilest descriptions.”

Nabulsi also affirmed his support for the Syrian government. “I am proud that I stood fiercely and in absolute faith with the Syrian state, legitimacy and the army,” he wrote.

Users have resurfaced Nabulsi’s old tweets to criticize him for his support for Bashar Al-Assad, the president of Syria accused of war crimes, including the usage of chemical weapons against civilians. “Bless your holy drums, Bashar,” Nabulsi wrote in one 2018 tweet.

One critic, seemingly referencing Nabulsi’s pro-Assad statements, wrote that anyone who “declares support for murderers and destroyers of nations, cannot be a member of a reform committee, so he must be dismissed” on Twitter.

Nabulsi characterized his online critics as “selectively digging up the past to disrupt and sabotage the work of the Royal Committee for a similar purpose.”

In a media statement, Prime Minister Bishr Al-Khasawneh seemed to obliquely comment on the issue. Khasawneh criticized "those who aim to destabilize the basic conditions of our society and our moral and religious heritage" but also said that bullying and harassment are not acceptable. He slammed criticism and threats against against Nabulsi and Wafa Al-Khadra, another member of the royal committee who resigned after facing backlash for comments about Eid Al-Adha on Facebook. The Prime Minister said: “We are fully committed as a government and a state to protect every member of our society physically, and from the manifestations of bullying that threaten the safety, life, and lives of human beings, and which are exploited by some extremist elements to incite individuals and citizens."

Nabulsi concluded in his Facebook statement by lauding Jordan as “a haven for moderation, tolerance and acceptance of all shades and opinions without bullying, exclusion or incitement.”

This is not the first time Nabulsi has faced criticism. The lawyer received backlash in early July after writing an op-ed calling for Jordan to welcome Iranian pilgrims for religious tourism at Jordanian shrines.

Oraib Rantawi and Wafa Al-Khadra have both resigned from the royal committee in the past months due to criticism and targeted social media campaigns. Nabulsi has not indicated that he plans to resign.