Smotrich expresses 'sincere regret' over 'mistaken impression' given by Hawara comments

The Morning Mails

Smotrich expresses 'sincere regret' over 'mistaken impression' given by Hawara comments

Speaking at the Israel Bonds gala in Washington D.C. on Sunday, Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich reiterated that his comments calling to "wipe out" the Palestinian village of Hawara after a deadly settler riot "created a completely mistaken impression." "I want to say a few words about the elephant in the room ," Smotrich said, to "repeat now with sincere regret, [that] my comments about Hawara created a completely mistaken impression." Smotrich addressed his "commitment" to shared values between the U.

S. and Israel, vowing to ensure Israel's security and the protection of "every innocent life, Jew or Arab." The Israel-U.S. alliance is one of "values, equality, democracy and inclusion," Smotrich continued, that crosses party lines and goes beyond "the right or left wing.

" It is, instead, "an alliance of values that fights evil by adding light." Hundreds of protesters from various segments of the American-Jewish and Israeli expat community demonstrated against Smotrich outside the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Washington, where the far-right minister was attending the conference. The speech comes two weeks after his widely condemned remarks on Hawara, and combined with his already well-established record of anti-Arab racism, homophobia, misogyny and distaste for non-Orthodox denominations of Judaism, led dozens of U.S. Jewish leaders and organizations to disavow the minister and pledge to deny him a platform in the United States.

While the Biden administration ultimately stopped short of taking the unprecedented step of denying Smotrich an entry visa , no U.S. officials will meet with Smotrich or addressed the conference due to his attendance. Israel Bonds maintained its defense for hosting Smotrich, despite widespread dismissals of the organization's claims that it has to cooperate with Smotrich as finance minister. "Israel Bonds does not endorse any political position of any politician, administration, or ideology," the organization said in a statement.

"That is why we hope people will recognize the importance of ensuring politics does not impact our good work. To date, Israel Bonds has secured 48 billion dollars for Israel. In other words, there are forty-eight billion reasons to keep Israel Bonds out of politics," the organization added.

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