The reason given is that they do not want to offer a platform to someone like the right-wing extremist Itamar Ben-Gvir. The EU representation in Israel has canceled a reception to mark Europe Day.
The EU mission in Israel has canceled a Europe Day diplomatic reception in response to the planned speech by far-right Police Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir. “The EU delegation in Israel looks forward to celebrating Europe Day on May 9th, as it does every year,” it said on Twitter. “Regrettably this year we have decided to cancel the diplomatic reception as we do not want to provide a platform for anyone whose views are at odds with the values that the European Union stands for.”
However, the cultural event for the Israeli public will take place. A spokesman for the EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell had previously said in Brussels that he wanted to discuss the procedure internally and also with the member states.
Ben-Gvir was originally supposed to represent his country’s right-wing religious government at the event in Tel Aviv on Tuesday. According to his office, a speech “on the importance of fighting terrorism together” was planned. After the rejection, Ben-Gvir said it was “a pity that the European Union, which professes to represent democratic and multicultural values, shuts its mouths in an undiplomatic way”.
Convicted of racist hate speech
Ben-Gvir from the right-wing extremist Otzma Jehudit had been convicted several times in the past for, among other things, racist hate speech and support for a Jewish terrorist organization. He advocates a tougher approach to the Palestinians in the government.
Europe Day (9 May) commemorates then-French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman’s historic Schuman Declaration in Paris – a speech in which he presented his vision of a new way of political cooperation in Europe, to make wars between European nations unimaginable .
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