1,000 Israel writers urge Germany, Britain to cancel Netanyahu’s visit [in France too]

Middle East Monitor  /  March 14, 2023

Hundreds of Israeli writers, authors and academics, on Tuesday, called on Germany and Britain to rescind their invitations to Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and cancel his scheduled visit to the two European countries, Anadolu News Agency reports.

“In view of Benjamin Netanyahu’s dangerous and destructive leadership, and in light of the opposition of many Israeli citizens to the legislative moves and the dismantling of state institutions in his hands, we ask Germany and the United Kingdom to inform the accused Netanyahu of the immediate cancellation of his planned political visits to you,” read a letter signed by around 1,000 Israeli writers and academics.

“The State of Israel is now in the most acute crisis, the worst in its history, in an accelerated and dangerous process of turning [Israel] from a prosperous democracy into a theocratic dictatorship,” it said.

Netanyahu is scheduled to meet German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz, in Berlin on Thursday before heading to London.

Israeli public broadcaster, KAN, said protesters have called for blocking Netanyahu’s way to Ben-Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv ahead of his trip to Germany.

For more than two months, Israel has seen mass protests against government plans for judicial reform.

Proposed by Justice Minister, Yariv Levin, the reform, if enacted, would be the most radical change ever in the system of government in Israel.

The planned change would severely limit the power of the Supreme Court of Justice, give the government the power to choose judges and end the appointment of legal advisers to ministries by the Attorney General.

However, Netanyahu, who is on trial for corruption, insists that his judicial plan would enhance democracy.


French government to boycott far-right Israel MK’s visit

Middle East Monitor  /  March 14, 2023

France’s Foreign Ministry yesterday announced that the French government has no plans to meet with Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, who is expected to land in Paris on Sunday for a Jewish National Fund event.

The ministry said it did not receive word of Smotrich’s arrival and is not planning on meeting with him.

The French position came after a similar position by the US administration, which boycotted the Israel Bonds investment conference, an event which markets Israeli government bonds to investors abroad, after organisers refused to cancel Smotrich’s attendance. Hundreds of American Jews and Israelis demonstrated in front of the hotel where the conference took place, and held banners criticising his openly racist views.

“Everyone hates Smotrich because he embodies the worst aspects of his government: the anti-democratic assault on the courts, his commitment to the legalisation of the settlements and the utter disregard for Palestinian human rights, in addition to his disdain for vast communities in Israeli society, such as women, homosexuals, and non-Orthodox Jewish streams,” President and CEO, Americans for Peace Now Hadar Susskind said.