Parts of the British Jewish community have expressed outrage at Israel’s appointment of Tzipi Hotovely as the next ambassador to the United Kingdom, with some calling on London to refuse to accept the nomination.
The condemnation came after Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu named Hotovely, the settlements minister and an outspoken supporter of his controversial plan to annex areas of the occupied West Bank, as successor to Mark Regev.
In an online petition on Saturday, more than 800 British Jews called on the UK Foreign Office to reject Hotovely’s nomination.
“As British Jews we are clear: Tzipi Hotovely’s values and politics have no place in the UK,” the letter read, citing the minister’s views against Arabs and Palestinians, and her support for annexation of lands she claims are the biblical rights of Israel.
“It is crucial that the UK government sends a message that her views are unacceptable, and rejects her nomination as ambassador.”
A counter-petition supporting her nomination had attracted 290 signatures as of Sunday.
’21st century apartheid’
Last week, almost 50 UN human rights experts condemned Israel’s annexation plan, calling it a vision of “21st century apartheid”.
“What would be left of the West Bank would be a Palestinian Bantustan, islands of disconnected land completely surrounded by Israel and with no territorial connection to the outside world,” the experts said, referring to the territories set out for Black people by South Africa’s apartheid regime.
Labour peer Lord Beecham said in a statement to the Jewish Chronicle: “The appointment of an ultra-right wing ambassador, while typical of the present government of Israel, will do nothing to win friends in the UK – or indeed any other reasonable country.”