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Netanyahu Snubs German Foreign Minister

By Stephen Lendman

On Tuesday, Netanyahu cancelled his scheduled meeting with German Foreign Minister/Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel because he intended to meet with Breaking the Silence and B’Tselem - groups critical of Israeli ruthlessness.

Gabriel said “(i)t’s difficult for me to imagine that the meeting will be canceled, because this would be very regrettable.”

“I don’t want to make a drama about it,” adding it’s “exceptional” to be snubbed this way.

According to Israel’s Channel 2, Netanyahu’s office gave Gabriel an ultimatum - cancel his meeting with both groups or the prime minister won’t see him, typical Netanyahu arrogance and petulance.

Gabriel explained that “(i)n no country in the world can you get a reasonable and comprehensive impression if you only meet with government representatives. You have to meet, as we did yesterday, with writers, with artists and students, and also with critical organizations.”

“I find it totally normal to talk to” groups like Breaking the Silence and B’Tselem. “I can’t imagine that we would stop doing this in the future only so we could meet with government officials.”

He learned of Netanyahu’s snub through Israeli media. The prime minister’s office issued a statement, saying his “policy is not to meet with diplomats who visit Israel and meet with organizations that slander IDF soldiers and seek to prosecute them as war criminals.”

On Tuesday, Gabriel also met with Palestinian officials and the left-wing Ir Amim Israeli group.

Issues it addresses include settlement construction, especially in East Jerusalem; home demolitions; ethnic cleansing of Palestinians; and Israel’s apartheid wall, among others.

Gabriel said Netanyahu’s snub “wouldn’t be a catastrophe for” him. Opposition Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog said his “ultimatum…seriously harms Israel’s tied to Europe’s largest economy and true friend of Israel.”

Later on Tuesday, Netanyahu’s office said he wanted to speak to Gabriel to explain his snub. The German foreign minister refused to take his call.

In February, Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel met with Breaking the Silence and B’Tselem representatives in Israel. Netanyahu’s request not to see them was ignored.

At the time, an arrogant statement by Netanyahu’s office said “(t)he government of Belgium needs to decide if it wants to change direction or continue with its anti-Israel path.”

Accountability for its high crimes remains unattainable until the world community addresses them responsibly - by tough punitive measures, not meaningless rhetoric.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

Visit his blog site at

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.