EU Cancels Israeli Europe Day Reception Over Ben-Gvir Attendance
On Monday, the EU delegation in Israel announced the cancellation of a diplomatic reception to mark Europe Day in Tel Aviv due to take place on Tuesday over concerns the country's right-wing national security minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, would be in attendance as Israel's official representative.
- On Monday, the EU delegation in Israel announced the cancellation of a diplomatic reception to mark Europe Day in Tel Aviv due to take place on Tuesday over concerns the country's right-wing national security minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, would be in attendance as Israel's official representative.1
- Ben-Gvir, the leader of the Jewish Power party in Pres. Benjamin Netanyahu's coalition government, is a settler in the West Bank and is known for his hardline views. He has past convictions for support for "terrorism" and incitement against Palestinians.2
- The decision came as Ben-Gvir, who on Sunday revealed plans to criticize the EU's approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, had insisted on speaking at the event despite explicit requests to replace him with another cabinet minister.3
- A diplomat from an EU member state told the Times of Israel that the decision was almost unanimously supported by EU ambassadors, with only Poland and Hungary dissenting.4
- Europe Day is celebrated to honor the 1950 signing of the Schuman Declaration that led to the beginning of what is now the European Union.2
- Shortly after the cancellation was announced, Ben-Gvir criticized the decision, claiming that the EU "is undiplomatically engaging in censorship." Meanwhile, the rest of the cultural event took place as scheduled.5
Sources: 1CNN, 2Al Jazeera, 3Haaretz, 4The Times of Israel, and 5I24news.
- Narrative A, as provided by Brussels Times. Though Israel has seen months of demonstrations to preserve its democratic order, the EU avoided publicly criticizing Israel so as not to interfere in the internal debate. Yet, as repayment for its diplomacy, Israel assigned the far-right racist Ben-Gvir to represent it at the Europe Day event. It was about time for the EU to stand up for its values and say no to Ben-Gvir's attendance.
- Narrative B, as provided by Israel National News. It is outrageous that the European Union, a self-styled bastion of democracy, has canceled the Europe Day reception in Tel Aviv due to Ben-Gvir's plans to make a speech as a representative of the State of Israel. As a sovereign country, it is up to the Israeli government alone to determine its own speakers.