Israel's ambassador to Britain, Tzipi Hotovely, has been snubbed by a Zionist youth movement because of the 42 year old's "racist and anti-pluralistic views". The UK-based Noam is affiliated with the Conservative-Masorti Jewish movement, and led a boycott of the controversial far-right Israeli envoy by refusing to take part in a joint webinar yesterday.
The event was organised by Masorti, but its youth branch announced that it would not attend due to Hotovely's political and religious views. According to the Times of Israel, Noam had sought to convince Masorti to rescind its invitation for Hotovely to participate in the webinar.
"We believe in the importance of engaging with Israel as it is, with all the joys and challenges which come with that," explained Noam in an official statement." Despite this, we feel that Hotovely's comments are beyond the pale."
Hotovely has "consistently refused to recognize Palestinian heritage," the youth group added. It pointed out that she had once invited Lehava – a highly controversial organisation dedicated to fighting intermarriage between Jews and Arabs – to speak in the Knesset (Israeli parliament). The statement also expressed concerns over Hotovely's past remarks about non-Orthodox Judaism.
Although a number of liberal Jewish organisations have criticised Hotovely's appointment, this is the first time that a protest has been staged against the Likud member since she took over at the Embassy of Israel in London last August. Nearly 1,500 British Jews signed a petition calling on the Boris Johnson government to reject her appointment.
In her first speech at an event organised by pro-Israel lobby group the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Hotovely described the 1948 Nakba as "a very strong and very popular Arab lie". In fact, more than 750,000 Palestinians were ethnically cleansed from their homes and land when the Zionist state of Israel was created in Palestine.
During her first appearance on the BBC's "Newsnight" two days ago, Hotovely refused to say whether she believes in a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, despite being pressed several times by presenter Emily Maitlis.