Israel’s defence minister has urged French Jews to move to the Jewish state, following the UN resolution condemning settlement building in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Five days on from the controversial resolution, which referred to parts of Jerusalem as “occupied” territory, Israel’s government is waging a heated rhetorical campaign against the 14 countries which voted for the motion, France and Britain among them.
The Israeli government is also determined to upend a planned Israeli-Palestinian peace summit, due to be hosted by France in early January, during the final days of the Obama administration. Israel is concerned that the summit will be used by Obama to leave a final mark on the Middle East before Donald Trump takes over, The Telegraph has reported.
Avigdor Lieberman, Israel’s defence minister, called the summit “a modern day version of the Dreyfus trial”, the infamous trial exposing widespread anti-Semitism in France at the end of the 19th century.
“This is not a peace conference but rather a tribunal against the State of Israel. This is a conference whose only role is to undermine Israel’s security,” Lieberman said. “On the defendant’s bench, instead of one Jew, will be the entire State of Israel.”
He said, “the only answer that should be given to this plot” was for French Jews to move to Israel.
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu last year angered the French authorities by making the same suggestion following the targeting of Jews in Islamic terror attacks, including the four Jews killed in a Paris kosher supermarket during the Charlie Hebdo attack.
“To the Jews of Europe and to the Jews of the world I say that Israel is waiting for you with open arms,” Netanyahu said in a statement, to which the then French Prime Minister Manuel Valls responded: “France is wounded with you and France does not want you to leave.”
Meanwhile, Israel is said to have snubbed the British prime minister, Theresa May, following the UN vote.
May was due to meet with Netanyahu at an upcoming meeting of the World Economic Forum at Davos next month, but according to British diplomat Tony Kay, Netanyahu had indicated that he “does not want to have a conversation with Theresa May”.
A spokesman for the Israeli leader denied that any official meeting had been scheduled.