One of Israel’s top aliyah executives “regrets” hosting controversial broadcaster Katie Hopkins in the Knesset, saying he “misjudged” the meeting.
The former Apprentice contestant, who caused outrage by referencing a ‘final solution’ for Muslims in the wake of the Manchester bombing, is in Israel this week.
She posted a picture on Twitter with the Jewish Agency for Israel’s Director of Public Affairs and Communications, Yigal Palmor, in the Knesset.
“In this room, the State of Israel held its first ever Knesset meeting. My grateful thanks to the @JewishAgency for a fascinating interview – and for helping Jews around the world explore their dreams to return home”, she tweeted.
Following criticism on social media for agreeing to meet Hopkins, Palmor told Jewish News: “I wasn’t completely aware of what she stands for. I knew she was controversial.”
He said he doesn’t only “speak with only non-controversial people”, adding that “I thought it would be much better if she heard from the authority on that subject of aliyah, and not from someone who might give damaging facts or information.
Insisting it was “my decision as a spokesman” to be interviewed, he stressed it “in no way constitutes approval for her views on Muslims and minorities”. Palmor added, “I regret engaging in this. I misjudged what she stands for in the UK”, but said he wanted to give her audience “true facts and reasonable statements”.
In the last week, Hopkins posted a video on her Twitter feed, saying she was “on a public bus through the West Bank to Hebron. Less than 1,000 Jews live here surrounded by 200,000 Palestinians. Like the brave white farmers of S. Africa, these pioneers are determined to fight for their land.”
I wish to make clear that I chose to grant an interview to Katie Hopkins following her request to talk about Aliyah. The decision was taken by me personally, without any involvement of the Jewish Agency's management.
— Yigal Palmor (@YigalPalmor) February 7, 2019
She said her trip to the Jewish state was to “share the great work being done to counter the BDS movement …and to tell the story of OUR people, in fear for their future, looking for a new place to call home. Fight back for our Judeo-Christian culture”.
In march 2018, the Zionist Federation apologised for offence caused after Hopkins appeared at the organisation’s annual dinner.
The ZF came under a sharp attack by the Jewish Labour Movement, who wrote to the organisation condemning Hopkins’ attendance, saying that support of Israel “cannot be used as a free pass for the propagation of hate speech”.