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Israeli envoy and UK Jewish group slammed for 'racist' Nakba comments

Activists condemn Board of Deputies for inviting Tzipi Hotovely to event, after she calls the expulsion of 700,000 Palestinians a 'very popular Arab lie'
Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely gives a press conference (AFP)

Activists have criticised the UK's main Jewish community organisation for hosting Israeli ambassador Tzipi Hotovely, who at its event last week denied the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from what is now Israel in 1948.

Last week, Hotovely appeared at a Board of Deputies (BoD) online event where she described the expulsion of 700,000 Palestinians in the 1948 Arab-Israeli war - known as the Nakba or "catastrophe" in Arabic - as a "very popular Arab lie".

Hotovely, who was made ambassador to the UK in August, is set to appear at another event hosted by the BoD on 15 December, along with the UAE and Bahrain's ambassadors, highlighting the normalisation deals signed by the latter two countries with Israel in September.

The pro-Palestinian Jewish organisation Na'amond said in a tweet that Hotovely was a racist and her invitation should be withdrawn.

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"We cannot allow Hotovely's views to be normalised in our community with invites to celebratory events," said the group.

"She is a racist who supports a single state where Palestinians don't have equal rights."

Middle East Eye asked the BoD to comment on Hotovely's remarks, and asked if it condoned Nakba denial, but received no response by the time of publication.

Hotovely has long been a major supporter of Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories and has described herself as a“a religious right-winger".

She has in the past opposed interfaith marriages in Israel and is a staunch opponent of a Palestinian state.

Last year, following the release of a political manifesto by the BoD in which they expressed support for a Palestinian state, Hotovely criticised the group saying "an organisation that supports the establishment of a Palestinian state is working against Israeli interests".

MEE also asked the BoD's about Hotovely's comments about the organisation, but is also awaiting a response.

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