Law firm challenges UK’s failure to ban ‘hate-provoking’ Israeli MK

Israeli far-right lawmaker Bezalel Smotrich (AFP)

Middle East Monitor  /  February 18, 2022

Lawyers acting on behalf of the International Centre of Justice for Palestinians (ICJP) have written to the British Home Secretary, Priti Patel, challenging her ongoing failure to ban right-wing Israeli Member of the Knesset Bezalel Smotrich from entering the UK.

Last month Conservative MP Crispin Blunt had written to the Home Secretary requesting that Smotrich should not be allowed to enter the UK in future on the basis that his presence is non-conducive to the public good.

In their response to the ICJP’s letter the Home Office merely said: “We are working closely with law enforcement, local communities and our international partners to tackle groups and individuals who sow division and hatred.”

It did not, however, give a definite undertaking to ban the Israeli politician from the UK, despite his “association with individuals involved in terrorism, extremism war, crimes or criminality.”

Last year, Smotrich called on the Israeli government to wipe the Palestinian village of Khan al-Ahmar off the map, in revenge for the International Criminal Court’s ruling that it can investigate Israel for war crimes. “What matters is not what the Gentiles will say but what the Jews will do,” he said.

In October last year he told Arab [Palestinian] members of the Israeli Knesset that “You’re here by accident because [Israel’s first Prime Minister] Ben Gurion didn’t finish the job” of clearing out the territory of its indigenous populations.

Having pledged to his UK supporters that he will return, the ICJP is calling on the Home Secretary to confirm that Smotrich will be denied entry if he tries in future.

His visit to the UK last week was condemned by the Board of Deputies of British Jews (BOD), which said that it: “Rejects the abominable views and the hate-provoking ideology of Bezalel Smotrich.” The BOD called on: “All members of the British Jewish community to show him the door. Get back on the plane, Bezalel, and be remembered as a disgrace forever.”