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‘Proud to be racist’ Israel politician considered for Consul-General in New York

April 20, 2023 at 3:48 pm

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem [ABIR SULTAN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images]

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is reportedly considering offering the soon-to-be vacant position of Israeli Consul-General in New York to Likud politician and “proud to be racist”, May Golan. News of the selection of the far-right lawmaker, who is expected to be dispatched soon, has sparked concerns that Golan’s appointment could inflict further dagame to Israel’s relationship with Jewish Diaspora and Washington.

Golan was previously aligned with extremist Otzma Yehudit party, a far-right political group, inspired by the extremist Rabbi Meir Kahane. Its current leader is Itamar Ben Gvir who serves in the Netanyahu government as Minister of National Security. If the decision is approved, Golan will replace Asaf Zamir who, after being appointed to the role by the previous government, resigned from the post last month in protest of the ruling coalition’s judicial overhaul effort.

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“Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu wants to appoint racist and xenophobic Likud lawmaker, May Golan, as Israel’s Consul-General in New York, who is in charge of the relations with the biggest Jewish community in the US and the ties with the big Jewish  organisations” said Barak Ravid, diplomatic correspondent for Axios and covers breaking news from Israel.

Golan is said to be one of the most ardent supporters of judicial overhaul which has been a major sticking point between Israel’s current far-right government and Diaspora Jews. She has a reputation for making racist comments. According Haaretz, during her activist days when Golan spearheaded rallies against African “infiltrators” in Tel Aviv, she proclaimed that, “If I’m racist in order to preserve my life, then I’m proud to be racist.”

The Times of Israel said that Golan would likely be the most right-wing lawmaker to take the diplomatic position, given her ties to Ben Gvir’s far-right Otzma Yehudit party. The papers highlighted concerns her appointment will raise with America’s Jewish community, who are overwhelmingly liberal. American Jewish organisations have strongly criticised the judicial review and to have a Consul-General in New York who is a strong advocate is likely to entrench divisions between Israel and the Diaspora.

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