(February 13, 2020 / JNS) Israel has admonished a top Belgian diplomat over his country’s invitation to a representative from an anti-Israel activist group that has ties to a Palestinian terror group amid a growing diplomatic spat between the two countries.
Belgium, who currently holds the rotating presidency for the UNSC, has invited Brad Parker, a senior official for a nonprofit called Defense for Children International–Palestine (DCI-P), to speak at the U.N. Security Council.
Pascal Baffin, who serves as No. 2 in the Belgian embassy in Israel, was summoned by the Israeli foreign ministry on Tuesday to explain the invitation. Belgium has noted that other U.N. institutions, such as UNICEF and UNESCO, have consulted with DCI-P.
“The Belgians cannot expect us to stay quiet when they are taking advantage of being temporary presidents of the UNSC to hurt Israel,” said Anna Azari, head of the European Section of the Foreign Ministry.
Parker has been a leading voice in the delegitimization movement against Israel in recent years in the United States, including lobbying Congress, publishing anti-Israel content on social media and making anti-Semitic remarks, such as comparing a Palestinian refugee camp to a Jewish ghetto.
“Israeli armed forces have regularly been implicated in widespread and systematic human-rights violations against Palestinian children, yet systemic impunity is the norm,” Parker said in January 2019.
Based in the West Bank, DCI-P serves as the national section of the Defense of Children International. It has engaged in lobbying and advocacy on behalf of Palestinian children’s rights in front of international organizations while promoting the demonization and delegitimization of the State of Israel.
DCI-P has also accused Israel of committing war crimes, supports the BDS movement and has ties to the U.S.-designated terrorist organization Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). Several current and former board members of the group have been involved with PFLP, including:
- Zakaria Odeh: Chairman of DCI-P’s board from 2014-18, he has also served as a board member since 2010. Odeh was also the board member of the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC), which was described by USAID and others as the agricultural arm of the PFLP.
- Fatima Daana: DCI-P’s former board member and the widow of former commander of the PFLP’s armed wing, Raed Nazzal. Currently, Fatima serves as Addameer’s board member.
- Farah Bayadsi: DCI-P’s attorney who also serves as the attorney of Addameer, a Palestinian NGO that holds strong ties to the PFLP.
- Nassar Ibrahim: DCI-P’s former board member and a member of the PFLP; and Mahmoud Jeddah, DCI-P’s former board member and a leading figure of the PFLP. Jeddah was imprisoned for 17 years for carrying out grenade attacks against Israelis in Jerusalem in 1968.
Earlier this week, Israel’s Ambassador to Belgium Emmanuel Nahshon called out the Western European country on Twitter for inviting “terror supporters” to the U.N. Security Council, saying “this is extremely disappointing, and we will express our outrage in the strongest possible terms.”
Nahshon was summoned by Belgium last week for being critical of its decision to invite Parker. Belgium also said it was “surprised and dismayed” by Israel’s criticism in the media.
Additionally, Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon wrote a letter to U.N. Secretary-General António Gutteres saying DCI-P is “an arm of the PFLP in order to enact diplomatic terror against Israel. … A place that promotes peace and security in the world has no room for people like Parker.”
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