IDF spokesperson: I traveled to UK under a false name

Avi Benayahu explains that he feared being arrested for alleged war crimes; says "well-funded anti-Israel activists waging lawfare against us."

By JPOST.COM STAFF
March 1, 2011 14:25
1 minute read.
Former IDF spokesman Avi Benayahu

avi benayahu 311. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

 
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IDF Spokesperson Brig.-Gen Avi Benayahu on Monday said he traveled to the United Kingdom on a false name over fears of being arrested for alleged war crimes, in an interview with Defense News.

"In my last visit to London, I had to assume a false name because well-funded anti-Israel activists are exploiting universal jurisdiction powers to wage lawfare against us," Benayahu explained. "It's absurd, and I understand the government is trying to legislate changes to prevent this."

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Benayahu said that, "The British and other European governments are just as concerned as we are about terror, and leaders are realizing that whoever feeds the snake of radical Islam will ultimately get bitten."

This is not the first time an Israeli official has had been caught up with problems traveling to the UK amid fears of being arrested. In December 2009, an arrest warrant was issued for opposition leader Tzipi Livni, who was scheduled to speak at a Jewish charity event in London, over her involvement in Operation Cast Lead, when she was foreign minister. She canceled her trip.

In September of the same year, an arrest warrant was issued to Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who was in the UK to speak at the Labor Party conference.

In 2006, Gaza Division commander Brig.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi, who was scheduled to study at the Royal College of Defense Studies in London, was warned by an IDF judge that he could be arrested on arrival. He also canceled his trip. Former Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) chief Avi Dichter also canceled a trip in 2007 (when he was public security minister) out of concern that a warrant might be issued for his arrest.

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