Skip to main content

EU cancels Israel's Europe Day reception over Ben-Gvir participation

The EU mission in Israel announced that it was canceling its Europe Day reception to avoid hosting far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir.
Israel's far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir (C) speaks during a ceremony for Remembrance Day for fallen soldiers (Yom HaZikaron) at the military cemetery in Beersheba on April 25, 2023. - Israel marks Remembrance Day to commemorate 24,213 fallen soldiers and victims of attacks recorded since 1860 by the Ministry of Defence, just before the celebrations of the 75th anniversary of its creation according to the Jewish calendar. (Photo by GIL COHEN-MAGEN / AFP) (Photo by GIL COHEN-MAGEN/AFP vi

PARIS — The European Union decided on Monday to cancel Tuesday’s traditional Europe Day reception because of the intention of National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir to participate and speak at the event.

Following a meeting earlier in the day with European ambassadors, the EU’s mission to Israel published a statement saying, “Regrettably, this year we have decided to cancel the diplomatic reception, as we do not want to offer a platform to someone whose views contradict the values the European Union stands for.” 

Still, the EU mission intends to uphold other events marking Europe Day on May 9. “The Europe Day cultural event for the Israeli public will be maintained to celebrate with our friends and partners in Israel the strong and constructive bilateral relationship,” read the statement.

Reacting to the announcement, Ben-Gvir said it was "unfortunate that the EU, which claims to represent the values of democracy and multiculturalism, is undiplomatically engaging in censorship. It is an honor and a privilege for me to represent the government of Israel, courageous IDF soldiers and the people of Israel in every forum. Friends know how to criticize and real friends are able to hear it."

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.