Boycotting Ben-Gvir: EU cancels Tel Aviv reception, determined not to let him speak

“But ‘EU values’ are OK with embracing Holocaust deniers and Palestinian leaders who write Pay to Slay checks for the murder of Jews?” 

By Atara Beck, World Israel News

National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, head of the right-wing Otzma Yehudit (Jewish Strength) party, was scheduled to address a diplomatic reception for European officials in Tel Aviv Tuesday, but the gathering was cancelled.

Each year, the Israeli government sends an official representative, and this year’s choice was rejected by the delegation in a near-unanimous vote; Poland and Hungary were the exceptions.

Other than the reception, the ‘Europe Day’ celebrations will be held.

“The EU Delegation to Israel is looking forward to celebrating Europe Day on May 9, as it does every year. Regrettably, this year we have decided to cancel the diplomatic reception, as we do not want to offer a platform to someone whose views contradict the values the European Union stands for,” it said in a statement.


The decision to shun Ben-Gvir came as no surprise, as several delegation members had made it clear that they were unhappy about the choice of speaker and would likely not attend.

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In a statement on Saturday, the delegation said, “We do not endorse the political views of Minister Ben-Gvir or those of his party. In fact, many of his previous statements and views contradict the values the European Union stands for.”

On Saturday evening, Ben-Gvir pushed back.

“The minister believes that even if EU representatives ‘do not endorse [his] political views,’ as they said in their statement, they understand very well that Israel is a democracy, and in a democracy, one can hear different views,” his spokesman said.

“Among other things, the minister will speak about the importance of the joint war on terrorism, will congratulate the European countries, will call for the strengthening of cooperation and will emphasize the need to unite around the fight against jihad and terrorists, and at the same time will point out that it is appropriate that the countries not finance projects against IDF soldiers and Israeli residents,” the statement added.

Regarding the cancellation of the reception, international human rights lawyer Arsen Ostrovsky noted the apparent hypocrisy.

“But ‘EU values‘ are OK with embracing Holocaust deniers and Palestinian leaders who write Pay to Slay checks for the murder of Jews?” he tweeted.