A senior Israeli government official acknowledged that he has been forced to relocate because of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement’s opposition to Israeli settlements in the West Bank.
Eytan Gilboa, Israel’s minister of international cooperation, said in a statement issued Sunday, “It has been a few days since I have experienced ‘high-level’ diplomatic difficulties at the European Parliament, and I am taking this opportunity to express my gratitude to British Prime Minister Theresa May. She took a very wise decision in understanding the frustrating situation.”
Gilboa was originally slated to attend the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development in Geneva from Jan. 16-19 to push global trade issues and share Israeli perspective on these issues. He was unable to attend due to concerns about personal safety.
His statement did not indicate who from the Israeli delegation had been inconvenienced by the UNESCO resolution. Gilboa is chair of the Israeli delegation and the deputy chairman of the World Zionist Organization.
Gilboa said, “it is more important for me to present facts instead of temporarily avoid an unpleasant situation, which even the most experienced politicians face from time to time. This is one of the reasons I reached out to the prime minister of Great Britain for clarifications.
“There is no conflict between the status of freedom of speech and the rights of an Israeli politician to travel and to promote his agenda on any international forum including the European Parliament.”
Israel blames the BDS movement for the cancellation of U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan from attending UNCTAD, which has been hosted by Geneva since 1974. Organizers of the event were furious about Sullivan’s refusal to attend.
Sullivan is heading the Trump administration’s efforts to champion human rights around the world.