Report: Yad Vashem denies Gantz request to speak at anti-Semitism summit
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Report: Yad Vashem denies Gantz request to speak at anti-Semitism summit

Blue and White party asserts Netanyahu will use platform attended by top world leaders to advance his reelection campaign

Benny Gantz gives a statement in Tel Aviv after giving up his coalition-building bid on November 20, 2019. (Jack GUEZ / AFP)
Benny Gantz gives a statement in Tel Aviv after giving up his coalition-building bid on November 20, 2019. (Jack GUEZ / AFP)

The Blue and White party recently asked the Yad Vashem Holocaust History Museum to allow its leader, Benny Gantz, to speak at an upcoming conference on combating anti-Semitism — where Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be a key speaker — but was reportedly refused.

Blue and White officials told Channel 13 in a report aired Monday night that due to the high-profile nature of January 23’s Fifth World Holocaust Forum, to be attended by top world leaders and dignitaries, they believed Netanyahu would use the platform to advance his reelection campaign, as they asserted he did in national events in the lead-up to this year’s two elections.

The party, in its letter to Yad Vashem, asserted that Gantz should speak as there is currently no official head of opposition in the Knesset, but he should be regarded as one given the circumstances.

Gantz’s office told the network: “For many months now there have been official events in which Netanyahu has spoken and given political addresses. We know what Netanyahu will make of this ceremony and it needs to stop. Gantz should receive a similar platform to Netanyahu and will give a statesmanlike, nonpolitical speech.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a ceremony held at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum in Jerusalem, as Israel marks annual Holocaust Remembrance Day, May 1, 2019 (Noam Rivkin Fenton/Flash90)

Yad Vashem noted in a statement that speakers at the event will be national leaders, and in Israel’s case those would be the prime minister and President Reuven Rivlin.

The Knesset was disbanded in early December following the failure of any candidate to form a government after the year’s second election, and a new third national vote was set for March 2.

Public surveys have predicted the new election will bring similar results to the previous two, and may see Netanyahu’s Likud do worse than before.

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