The European Union announced on Monday May 8 the cancellation of the diplomatic reception scheduled for May 9 in Tel Aviv for Europe Day after the decision of the Israeli government to be represented there by the Minister of national security, far-right and Jewish supremacist, Itamar Ben Gvir.
Europe Day commemorates each year the Schuman Declaration of 9 May 1950, the proposal made that day by French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman for a new form of political cooperation that would make war between nations impossible. European Unions, and which is considered the founding stone of the European Union (EU).
"Unfortunately this year we have decided to cancel the diplomatic reception as we do not want to provide a platform for someone whose views conflict with the values upheld by the European Union," the delegation wrote. EU in Israel in a statement. “The cultural event for the Israeli public” will be maintained, the text specifies.
"Undiplomatic pecking" for Mr. Ben Gvir
“It is a pity that the EU, which claims to represent democracy and multiculturalism, is engaging in undiplomatic nailing,” Ben Gvir replied in a statement from his office. “The State of Israel will be the only one to determine who its representatives are,” he added. Mr. Ben Gvir has been appointed by the government as the Israeli representative at the reception, Israeli officials confirmed Monday.
On Sunday, Israeli media reported that the choice sparked EU discontent. Mr. Ben Gvir, leader of the far-right Jewish Force party, issued a statement on Sunday confirming his presence, saying "that even if the EU representatives do not share his views (…) they understand very well that Israel is a democracy and that in a democracy you have the right to hear other opinions".
Mr. Ben Gvir was indicted more than 50 times as a youth for inciting violence or hate speech, and convicted in 2007 of supporting a terrorist group and inciting racism. A fervent supporter of Jewish colonization in the West Bank – regularly condemned by the EU – he has repeatedly pleaded for the annexation of this Palestinian territory occupied by Israel since 1967.