Belgium summons Israeli ambassador over tweets in UN clash

Reprimand came after Israel expressed outrage over Belgian invite to NGO with ties to terrorist group PFLP.

Delegates sit for a Security Council meeting at the UN Headquarters in New York (photo credit: REUTERS)
Delegates sit for a Security Council meeting at the UN Headquarters in New York
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Foreign Ministry summoned Belgium’s deputy ambassador to Jerusalem on Thursday. Diplomatic sources told The Jerusalem Post that Israel is “furious at the Belgians” for inviting Brad Parker, senior adviser for policy and advocacy for Defense for Children – Palestine (DCI-P), an NGO with ties to the terrorist group Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), to brief the council’s members.
Belgium responded by reprimanding Israeli Ambassador Emmanuel Nahshon, focusing on the tenor of Israeli media reports on the dispute.
Brussels released a message that it has “taken good note” of Israel’s protest and said it is “open to dialogue,” but noted that other UN institutions such as UNICEF and UNESCO have given DCI-P consultive status. The Belgian foreign ministry also pointed out that the country chairs the working group on children and armed conflict, and the subject is a priority for them.
“We are, however, surprised and dismayed by the reflection of this in the media,” the statement reads. “We have called in the Israeli Ambassador this morning to express our dismay at certain tweets which he has retweeted in his official capacity as Ambassador to Belgium. We have expressed our clear disagreement on both substance and form.”
Among those tweets is one from a Post reporter stating: “Belgium invited a representative of an NGO with ties to the terrorist organization PFLP to brief the UN Security Council.”
A diplomatic source in Jerusalem said that, “instead of focusing on things published in the Israeli media, the Belgian Foreign Ministry should cancel its invitation for an anti-Israel organization [to brief] the UN Security Council.
“Inviting such an anti-Israel figure does not represent the friendship between Israel and Belgium,” the source added.
DCI-P calls itself an organization defending the human rights of Palestinian children. It alleges that Israel is committing war crimes and it supports the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions movement. It has numerous ties with the PFLP, a designated terrorist group in the US, EU, Canada and Israel, to the extent that Citibank and the Arab Bank have stopped providing banking services to the NGO.
Parker is the driving force behind pro-BDS legislation introduced in the US by Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minnesota), the think tank NGO Monitor reported. Last January, in his capacity as an adjunct professor at the CUNY Law School’s Human Rights and Gender Justice Clinic, Parker filed an anti-Israel submission to the UN, replete with false statements and whitewashing of terrorist groups like Hamas. CUNY subsequently launched an investigation into the law school’s partnership with DCI-P.
Jerusalem told Belgian Deputy Ambassador to Israel Pascal Buffin, summoned because the ambassador was out of the country, that it urges Belgium to cancel Parker’s invitation.
In that vein, Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon wrote a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Gutteres calling DCI-P “an arm of the PFLP in order to enact diplomatic terror against Israel... A place that promotes peace and security in the world has no room for people like Parker.”
Danon said that “Belgium is continuing to adopt an anti-Israel line in the UN, but must know that it will have a price. Israel’s denigrates will enter a battle they weren’t looking for.”
A diplomatic source said that while Parker’s invitation to the UN Security Council is “crazy,” it is “just one link in a chain of very anti-Israel actions taken in the UNSC. This is the nadir.”
Another example the diplomatic source gave was that the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva formed a commission of inquiry to look into Israel’s response to Palestinians rioting and trying to break through the border fence in Gaza. An allegation of Israel’s criminality was in the commission’s assignment, leading Israel to argue that it is inherently biased. Belgium invited the head of the commission to brief the UNSC with its findings.
“We are furious at the Belgians,” the source said. “Belgium is using its membership in the UNSC to demonize Israel.”