ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 145

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France rights group says Smotrich unwelcome, condemning ‘everything he represents’

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich at a press conference in Tel Aviv, March 2, 2023. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)
Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich at a press conference in Tel Aviv, March 2, 2023. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

A French human rights organization says Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich is “not welcome” on a planned visit to France next week.

The Human Rights League (LDH) describes Smotrich as “arabophobic, homophobic, ultra-colonialist and ultra-religious,” adding that it feels “outrage” at the visit planned for Sunday and “condemns everything this character represents.”

Smotrich has a history of inflammatory remarks about Palestinians. He recently called for a Palestinian town to be “wiped out” after two Israeli settlers were killed there in a terror attack. After intense international condemnation, he walked the comment back and said he “did not mean harm to innocents.”

In addition to being finance minister, he is also a minister in the Defense Ministry in charge of settlement policies in the West Bank.

The French foreign ministry has told AFP no official contact with Smotrich is planned.

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