Israeli, American academics urge boycott of Smotrich during his visit to US

Carrie Keller-Lynn is a former political and legal correspondent for The Times of Israel

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)

Over 100 American and Israeli academics sign an open letter calling on American private and public organizations not to meet with Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich during his upcoming visit to the US.

The 122 signatories cite Smotrich’s inflammatory call to “erase” the Palestinian village of Huwara, shortly after two Israeli brothers were killed in a terror attack there and settlers rampaged the town in reprisal.

Smotrich later walked back the remarks, which came several days after the primary violence, saying they were made in the heat of the moment.

The academics say in the letter that Smotrich called “to carry out an egregious war crime” and that because he is part of the security cabinet, the minister’s statement “may be interpreted as official government policy.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised Smotrich’s eventual about-face for the “inappropriate” comments about Huwara, but never explicitly condemned his political partner.

Smotrich is slated to visit the US next week, as part of a conference hosted by Israel Bonds.

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