Statement- Smotrich's Hatred Is Not Welcome Here

In the past week, over 2300 Americans signed Americans for Peace Now’s petition to President Biden urging him to deny entrance to Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich. Despite vocal opposition, it appears that Smotrich will be allowed to proceed with his upcoming travel plans. It is disappointing that Minister Smotrich’s remarks calling for the Israeli government to “wipe out” the West Bank village of Huwara in the wake of the settler-led pogrom on the village on February 26th have not precluded him from entrance into the United States.

In the aftermath of violence like this, it is incumbent on political leaders to call for calm and to do everything in their power to ease the tensions. Instead, Minister Bezalel Smotrich, the civilian governor of the West Bank whose openly pro-annexation agenda has emboldened the most extreme sectors of the Israeli settler movement, called for the Israeli government to commit a war crime. This type of rhetoric doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Tragically, we have seen far too many times where incitement like this leads to violence. Just days ago, a group of young settlers raided Huwara again, attacking Palestinians and their property.

Condemning Smotrich’s remarks is not enough. While the Biden Administration has failed to deny him entry, Jewish Americans from across the country have made clear that his hatred is not welcome here. Aspiring war criminals such as Bezalel Smotrich will not be allowed to preach hatred on our shores unopposed –Jewish Americans will continue to speak out against his racist demagoguery and will be protesting his known speaking engagements in New York and Washington, DC.

APN’s President and CEO Hadar Susskind said: “The only thing that should be wiped out is Smotrich’s violent and hateful ideology. Advocating for war crimes is unacceptable abroad and it is unacceptable here and we will be in the streets demonstrating against it.”