European Parliament planned Israel trip with Nazi sympathizer delegate

Estonian lawmaker Jaak Madison has called for a “final solution” against immigration to Europe, and in 2015, he wrote a blog post sympathizing with the Nazis

 Jaak Madison, member of Estonian party EKRE (Conservative People's Party of Estonia) addresses a major rally of European nationalist and far-right parties ahead of EU parliamentary elections in Milan, Italy May 18, 2019 (photo credit: REUTERS/ALESSANDRO GAROFALO)
Jaak Madison, member of Estonian party EKRE (Conservative People's Party of Estonia) addresses a major rally of European nationalist and far-right parties ahead of EU parliamentary elections in Milan, Italy May 18, 2019
(photo credit: REUTERS/ALESSANDRO GAROFALO)

A European Parliament committee canceled its planned visit to Israel and the Palestinian Authority after Israeli officials refused to meet the group as long as a Nazi sympathizer was a member, and declined to allow them to visit arch-terrorist Marwan Barghouti.

The Foreign Ministry notified the European Parliament Subcommittee on Human Rights that it would not meet with the group because it includes Estonian lawmaker Jaak Madison, leading to the trip’s cancelation on Thursday night.

“We clarified to the heads of the committee that we will not agree to hold official meetings with members of parliament who express opinions inspired by the Nazi worldview,” the Foreign Ministry said on Friday. “In the end, the committee chairman decided to cancel the visit to Israel.”

Madison has called for a “final solution” against immigration to Europe. In 2015, he wrote a blog post sympathizing with the Nazis, in which he said “it is true that there were concentration camps, forced labor camps, games with gas chambers…but at the same time, such strict order brought Germany at the time out of a thorough ‘s***hole.’” He called fascism “an ideology that consists of quite a few positive and necessary nuances to preserve the nation state.” 

On the delegation’s schedule for next week was a meeting with Barghouti, a leader of the Tanzim terrorist group, who is serving five life sentences in Hadarim Prison for masterminding deadly terrorist attacks during the Second Intifada, though Israeli authorities ultimately denied them permission to meet with him.

 MARWAN BARGHOUTI is brought into court by police for his judgment hearing in May 2004, at which he was convicted on five counts of murder in terrorist attacks. (credit: David Silverman/Reuters) MARWAN BARGHOUTI is brought into court by police for his judgment hearing in May 2004, at which he was convicted on five counts of murder in terrorist attacks. (credit: David Silverman/Reuters)

The Subcommittee on Human Rights, led by Belgian socialist MEP Maria Arena, also planned to meet with Qaddura Fares, President of the Palestinian Prisoners Club, which represents scores of terrorists, as well as representatives of six Palestinian NGOs that Israel designated as terrorist organizations last year due to their extensive ties with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Though the EU considers the PFLP to be a terrorist group, nine member states released a statement this week rejecting Israel’s designation of the NGOs.

MEP Prof. Karol Karski of the European Conservatives and Reformists group welcomed the decision, in light of the planned meetings with Barghouti and Fares.

“It is simply unacceptable for representatives of the European Parliament to meet with terrorists and their supporters,” Karski said. “Terrorism and support for it can never be legitimized or accepted.” 

Karski said that “it would have been of particular concern” if a committee meant to protect human rights “had met with murderers and terrorists or their representatives, legitimizing them as interlocutors as a result.”