Photo Credit: Bezalel Smotrich Facebook
MK Bezalel Smotrich talks about his experience in the UK. Feb. 9, 2022

The Board of Deputies of British Jews is facing heavy criticism after it told a Member of Knesset (MK) who was in the UK to meet with the Jewish community to “get back on the plane.”

However, in an apparent vicious display of disrespect, the Board of Deputies stated in Hebrew that it “rejects the abominable views and the hateful ideology of Bezalel Smotrich and calls on all members of the British Jewish community to show him the door. Get back on the plane, Bezalel, and live in infamy. You are not welcome here.”

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Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party stated that it “completely rejects the blatant and shameful tweet.”

“In doing so, they disqualify a large public of lovers of the people of Israel and the Land of Israel, who are faithfully represented by MK Smotrich and the Religious Zionism party,” the Likud said.

“It is clear that this organization would not have treated left-wing Knesset Members who deny the existence of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people in this way. Shame!” it said.

Yaakov Haguel, Chairman of the World Zionist Organization and Acting Chairman of the Jewish Agency, stated he rejects any boycott of “Israeli elected officials democratically elected by the Israeli public.”

“Expressions such as these undermine the foundations of the unity of our people and the reciprocity required for its continuity. They actually help our enemies, since history has already shown that they do not distinguish between opinions, between backgrounds,” he pointed out.

“We one we people. Right and left, ultra-Orthodox and secular, Ashkenazi and Sephardim. Our power in our unity. Unity and not uniformity!” he declared.

Israeli Minister of Communications Yoaz Hendel stated that “this is not the appropriate way to welcome an Israeli MK who comes to meet with various Jewish communities. Even when there are disagreements, there is a way to express them.”

“Those who want to influence Israeli politics should be in Israel,” he added.

Sara Ha’etzni Cohen, chairperson of My Israel, an organization followed by hundreds of thousands, wrote that the Board of Deputies’ statement is “very inappropriate. Smotrich is the chairman of a party that hundreds of thousands of Israelis voted for. In your life, you would not dare to express yourself in this way towards an elected official from the left, not even the most extreme.”

One social media user, Uria from Israel, wrote “deal with the 70th celebrations of your unnecessary queen and let the Jews of the Land of Israel run things here. Do not interfere with us and we will not interfere with you. Just do not come crying to us when your Arabs in Birmingham and London start to bother you.”

Guy Levy wrote that he is “in favor of the members of the organization staying in their country and not pushing their noses. In the meantime, you are suffering from anti-Semitism in Britain and are afraid to walk around with a kippah on your head or a Star of David. Smotrich is not a racist, he is in favor of a Jewish state, such as a one that you too will have somewhere to run when the time comes … and it will come.”

“‘Showing the door’ to the guest is the most non-Jewish step that can be. You are Jews – but your behavior is not Jewish,” wrote Aryeh Erlich. “London is not registered in your grandmother’s name and to the best of my knowledge, the times when Jews were not allowed to enter places in the world are over. We in Israel despise your devious path. You are the ones who will be forever remembered in disgrace.”

Arey King, a member of the Jerusalem city council, wrote that “a very important rabbi from London” wrote to his that the Board of Deputies “represent the non-shomrei mitzvot and non-Zionistic Jews of the UK. very sad.. and a disgrace.. but not a surprise!”

Smotrich responded by tweeting in Hebrew: “Jews of the UK, I love you, all of you.”

He later told Kan 11 news on Thursday that he “was received in Britain with a hug and great love. There are internal political issues here, veteran organizations that have been taken over by the progressive left.”

“Based on the number of invitations, I could have stayed there for a week or two. I have arguments and ideological positions. This is a small group that takes over and produces silence. I would happily meet them,” he said.

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Aryeh Savir is director of the International division of Tazpit News Agency.