Spain VOX party leader Santiago Abascal.
(photo credit: REUTERS/JUAN MEDINA)
Likud Foreign Affairs Director Eli Hazan endorsed the far-right Vox Party running in Sunday’s Spanish election, before retracting and apologizing.
“In the name of the Likud Party, I want to wish Vox and its president [Santiago Abascal] a great result in the general elections,” Hazan tweeted Saturday morning.
When asked on Twitter about his endorsement, Hazan wrote: “Hope for coalition between PP and Vox.” People’s Party (PP) is a center-right party, from which Vox broke off.
Hazan’s counterpart in Vox, Ivan Espinosa, tweeted in response: “Thanks, friends in Likud. We look to the future with optimism and with the hope of fighting together for the benefit of both nations and of freedom.”
Henrique Cymerman, a candidate with Labor in this month’s election and an Israeli-Spanish journalist, tweeted that Likud is supporting “an extremist right-wing party...with neo-Nazi shades. The Jewish community is in shock! Why am I not surprised?”
By evening, Hazan had deleted the tweet and wrote instead: “I would like to apologize to all those who have been offended by my last tweet. It was not right to include Likud in my personal opinion. I apologize for that. I only wish luck to all the Spanish parties that support Israel."
The deletion and apology from Hazan came in response to skepticism by some leaders of the Spanish Jewish community about Vox, in light of the party’s antisemitic and even neo-Nazi candidates. Hazan himself was familiar with the issue before endorsing the party, having lodged a complaint with Vox earlier this year, after learning the party tapped a Holocaust denier, Fernando Paz, to be a parliamentary candidate. The party later revoked Paz’s candidacy.
A Likud source also said that Vox’s anti-lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender stance does not fit with Likud’s views and is part of the reason that the endorsement was revoked.
Likud is an affiliate of the Alliance of Conservatives and Reformists in Europe (ACRE), a group of conservative, Euroskeptic parties represented in the European Parliament. Other ACRE members asked Hazan and Likud to express support for Vox, though the Spanish party technically is not part of the group.
Vox also received a perfect score, together with PP and another center-right party called Citizens, in a “voting guide for friends of Israel” written by Spanish pro-Israel advocacy group ACOM. The party has a pro-Israel section in its platform.
Before deleting his endorsement, Hazan explained on Twitter that these were the reasons for his support: “My support for Vox and PP come mainly from their opposition to the socialists and Podemos” – a far Left party that received zero points from ACOM – “a large part of which promotes hatred of Israel and boycotts of Israel… Vox is a sister party of Likud… [and] helps us a lot…Their platform includes support for Israel.”
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