UK Jews to visiting right-wing MK: You’re a ‘disgrace,’ go home

MK Betzalel Smotrich chalked up the Board’s comments to a vocal minority of extremists, whose views are not reflective of most British Jewry.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

A visit by to the UK by right-wing Religious Zionism MK Betzalel Smotrich was met with serious backlash by a mainstream British Jewish group, which wrote in Hebrew-language tweets that he is an embarrassment and should return to Israel

“We reject the abominable views and the hate-provoking ideology of Betzalel Smotrich,” the Board of Deputies of British Jews wrote on Twitter.

“We call on all members of the British Jewish community to show him the door. Get back on the plane, Betzalel, and be remembered as a disgrace forever. You are not welcome here.”

Smotrich, a religiously observant Jew, has made comments stating that he has a “a problem with LGBT culture” and that he believes disloyal Arabs should lose their Israeli citizenship, views that have put him at odds with liberal Jewish groups.

The comments telling a sitting MK to return to Israel sparked outrage among Israeli lawmakers, including Smotrich’s political rivals.

“This is not the appropriate way to welcome an Israeli MK who comes to meet with various Jewish communities,” said Communications Minister Yoaz Hendel of the New Hope party.

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“Even when there are disagreements, there is a way to express them. Those who want to influence Israeli politics should be in Israel,” he said.

Former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party, which is currently in the opposition alongside Smotrich’s Religious Zionist party, said it “completely rejects the blatant and shameful tweet.”

By attacking Smotrich, the Board of Deputies of British Jews is insulting “a large [part of the Israeli] public, lovers of the people of Israel and the Land of Israel, who are faithfully represented by MK Smotrich and the Religious Zionism party.”

Likud added that “this organization would not have treated left-wing Knesset Members who deny the existence of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people in this way. Shame!”

Smotrich himself chalked up the Board’s comments to a vocal minority of extremists, whose views are not reflective of most British Jewry.

“I was received in Britain with a hug and great love,” he told Channel 11 News on Thursday morning. “There are internal political issues here, veteran organizations that have been taken over by the progressive left.”

He added that he had received invitations to meet with a diverse array of British groups from all ends of the political spectrum,and that he had come to the UK prepared with “arguments and ideological positions.

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“[The Board] is a small group that takes over and produces silence. I would happily meet them,” he said.