The European Union’s diplomatic mission in Israel canceled a planned Europe Day reception due to the reported attendance of Israel’s far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir, who was set to deliver a speech at the event. The EU delegation stated that it does not want to provide space to a person who holds values that are in stark contrast to the values of the EU. In his response, Minister Ben Gvir described it as “undiplomatic silencing”, the Reuters agency wrote today.
Europe Day is celebrated on May 9 to commemorate the day in 1950 when the then French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman delivered a declaration proposing the creation of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC). This is considered one of the foundations of the EU. The Israeli government wanted to send Minister Ben Gvir, head of the far-right Jewish Power party, to the reception on this occasion.
Ben Gvir opposes Palestinian statehood, was convicted in 2007 of racist incitement against Arabs and support for terrorism, and is known for his opposition to the LGBT+ community. Representatives of the Israeli opposition therefore described his sending to the reception organized by the EU as a “diplomatic slap”, former Defense Minister Benny Ganc, according to the Haaretz newspaper, spoke of the “lack of judgment of Netanyahu’s government”.
“It is a shame that the European Union, which claims to represent the values of democracy and multiculturalism, engages in diplomatic silence,” said Ben Gvir.
According to the Haaretz newspaper, the ambassadors of the EU countries met in Israel today, and they almost unanimously supported the decision to cancel the reception due to Ben Gvir’s participation. The only countries that did not join were Poland and Hungary.
Source: Tyden.cz by www.tyden.cz.
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