Anti-Israel activists are asking MPs to lobby Home Secretary Theresa May in an attempt to have Israel’s Justice Minister and chief peace negotiator Tzipi Livni banned from Britain, reports The Jewish Chronicle .
Livni is due to speak in London on May 15 at two events organised by the Jewish National Fund.
Anti-Israel activists claim her visit is “an outrageous racist provocation and an incitement to hatred”.
May 15 is observed as Nakba (Catastrophe) Day in anti-Israel circles, as it is the anniversary of the failure by invading Arab armies to annihilate the newly declared state of Israel in 1948.
The Jewish National Fund (abbreviated as JNF) was founded in 1901 to buy and develop land in then-Ottoman Palestine for Jewish settlement. A non-profit organization, it currently owns approximately 13% of the total land in Israel. Since its inception, the JNF has planted over 240 million trees in Israel. It has also built 180 dams and reservoirs, developed 250,000 acres (1,000 km2) of land and established more than 1,000 parks.
Livni’s JNF speaking engagements are due to be her first since she controversially pulled out of a 2009 event. At the time, Livni cancelled a visit to London when she discovered an arrest warrant had been issued against her, along with Defence Minister Ehud Barak and retired General Doron Almog, on the grounds that she had been a member of the cabinet as foreign minister during Israel’s Cast Lead operation in Gaza.
In 2011 she was given a special diplomatic passport by the UK government to protect her from further risk of arrest and prosecution.
A spokesman for the “Stop the JNF” campaign told supporters in Parliament on Monday that MPs were now being lobbied by the group, hoping to convince the Home Secretary to issue a banning order and exclude Livni from Britain.
The Home Office said it could not comment on individual cases and would not discuss whether May had been lobbied by other MPs.
A JNF source said the charity planned to “carry on regardless” and was “not too worried” by the opposition to Livni. There was absolutely no question the events would go ahead as planned, the JNF said. JNF UK chairman Samuel Hayek said the organisation was proud to be hosting Livni, adding that hundreds of people were expected to attend the events.