Denmark’s foreign minister shuns Israel
Danish minister and harsh Israel critic avoids Jewish state’s envoy for two months, finds time to meet reps of leftist West Bank groups
Itamar Eichner, Ynet news
Denmark’s new Foreign Minister, Villy Sovndal, has refused to meet Israel’s ambassador in Copenhagen for two months now, Yedioth Ahronoth reported Monday.
The new minister is a harsh Israel critic and has called for the imposition of a boycott on Israel in the past.
Israel’s envoy in Denmark, Arthur Avnon, submitted an official request to meet the Danish foreign minister following several problematic anti-Israel remarks made by Sovndal. However, the minister’s office said he will not be available in the near future to meet with the Israeli envoy.
Yet while failing to meet Israel’s ambassador, in the past two months Sovndal did find the time to hold meetings with members of two human rights groups, B’Tselem and al-Haq, to discuss the “state of human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories” and praise them for winning a local human rights prize.
The al-Haq organization is a Palestinian, Ramallah-based group. Israel says the organization’s director is a member of the Popular Front terror group.
Support for Palestine
Some two weeks ago, Minister Sovndal met with senior Palestinian figure Nabil Shaath and pledged Denmark’s support for any bid to upgrade Palestine’s status at the United Nations and at any other international venue.
The Danish minister has harshly criticized Israel’s construction in the West Bank and in Jerusalem in the past, saying this jeopardizes the peace process.
His positions are especially troublesome in Jerusalem’s view as Denmark will be assuming the European Union’s presidency starting in January 1st, 2012.