MCB Alarmed at Foreign Office Hosting of Far-Right Israeli Racist

13 May 2009

The Muslim Council of Britain is appalled and saddened by the decision of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to host today the Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. As the leader of Yisrael Beiteinu, a far-right nationalist party, Mr Lieberman has without hesitation and on numerous occasions publicly used racist and xenophobic language towards Palestinians and Arabs alike.

Mr Lieberman is known for his hostility towards Palestinians, his outbursts have included calling on military attacks on all Palestinian civilians, as well as calling for all Arab members of the Israeli parliament to be put on trial for treason and – if found guilty – executed, for meeting with members of Hamas.

This decision to allow Mr Lieberman entry into the UK is clearly contradictory with recent steps taken by the Home Secretary in prohibiting certain individuals from setting foot in the country who `advocate hatred and violence in support of their religious beliefs’. This clear double standard in practice is unacceptable and concerning.

It’s a known fact that Mr Lieberman was once a member of Kach, an Israeli far-right party that is banned in the USA and even in Israel. The government only recently refused entry to Geert Wilders, a Dutch MP, for his inflammatory racist position. “The Foreign Secretary by hosting Mr Lieberman has undermined the credibility of our government at home and abroad. Moreover, it jeopardises its ability to act as an honest broker for peace in the Middle East.’, says Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari, Secretary-General of the MCB.