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Conservative-Masorti movement’s youth branch in UK to boycott webinar with Israeli envoy

From a vantage point near the Temple Mount, Tzipi Hotovely, now Israel's deputy foreign minister, waves the Israeli flag, with the Dome of the Rock in the background, May, 2014. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
From a vantage point near the Temple Mount, Tzipi Hotovely, now Israel's deputy foreign minister, waves the Israeli flag, with the Dome of the Rock in the background, May, 2014. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The Noam youth movement affiliated with the Conservative-Masorti Jewish movement will boycott an event this evening featuring Israel’s ambassador to the UK Tzipi Hotovely, Haaretz reports.

The event is organized by the UK’s Masorti movement, but its youth branch has announced that it will not attend due to Hotovely’s political and religious views.

Noam had sought to convince Masorti to rescind its invitation for Hotovely to participate in the webinar due to the Netanyahu-appointed envoy’s “racist and anti-pluralistic views.”

When its effort was rejected, Noam decided to hold its own “counter-event” at the same time as the webinar scheduled by its parent movement, which will include Palestinians and representatives from Israeli minority communities, Haaretz reports.

“We believe in the importance of engaging with Israel as it is, with all the joys and challenges which come with that. Despite this, we feel that Hotovely’s comments are beyond the pale,” Noam says in a statement, characterizing itself as a “Zionist youth movement.”

Hotovely has “consistently refused to recognize Palestinian heritage,” Noam says, adding that the envoy invited the racist, anti-miscegenation movement Lehava to speak at the Knesset when she was a Likud MK.

“We do not want to listen to and applaud a woman who has denigrated our Judaism, saying we have ‘decided to take the shell and name of Judaism, all of the customs and tradition and to empty the meaning from them,’” the statement said. “To reward her with a platform after these hurtful comments is a deep humiliation for our community,” Noam adds.

The Masorti movement had advertised its event with Hotovely as an “honest conversation” on “hot topics such as the recent elections, the peace process, religious pluralism, and issues in Israeli society.”

Responding to criticism of Hotovely’s invitation, Masorti chief executive Matt Plen tells Haaretz, “hosting a speaker does not necessarily mean we agree with them. We hope Masorti members will use this opportunity to pose their questions directly to the ambassador.”

Noam’s UK director Lucy Cohen tells Haaretz that the decision to boycott Hotovely had virtually no pushback from members.

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