Smotrich lands in DC where hundreds plan to protest his speech at Israel Bonds confab

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US bureau chief

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich leads a Religious Zionism faction meeting in the Givat Harel settlement in the West Bank, February 14, 2023. (Sraya Diamant/Flash90)
Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich leads a Religious Zionism faction meeting in the Givat Harel settlement in the West Bank, February 14, 2023. (Sraya Diamant/Flash90)

WASHINGTON — Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich lands in Washington where he will speak later today at the Israel Bonds conference, an appearance clouded by the controversy caused by his remarks earlier this month calling for a Palestinian town to be “wiped out.”

Hundreds of American Jews are expected to protest outside the Grand Hyatt Hotel where Smotrich will be the keynote speaker at the evening gala of Israel Bonds, which sells Israeli government bonds to investors abroad.

Dozens of Jewish groups have vowed to boycott his visit, and even mainstream organizations like AIPAC and the American Jewish Committee — which avoided signing onto boycott statements — were not slated to meet with him. The White House also said that no US officials would meet with Smotrich during his trip

Smotrich appeared to acknowledge the controversy surrounding his arrival, saying in a statement prior to taking off that that “the message I am departing with is that as in Israel, so too in the Diaspora, it is okay to have differences of opinion and arguments between us, but nothing will break our bond. We are stronger together.”

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