An official delegation from the European Parliament, which was due to arrive in Israel Sunday has cancelled their trip at the last minute after Israel had sent a message that one of the delegates, the daughter of French extreme-right-wing leader Jean-Marie Le Pen, is a persona non grata in Israel.
Marine Le Pen is a member of “National Front Party” headed by her father, and is boycotted by Israel. From the moment it was known that Marine Le Pen was planning to participate in the visit, Israel sent messages to the chairman of the European Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee Elmar Brok, saying that she is an unwanted figure in Israel and if she arrives, that could damage the entire visit. There was also a danger that Israel will boycott the entire delegation.
The Foreign Affairs committee received the message and cancelled the trip. Sources in the foreign ministry said that the Europeans clearly understood the message and made the decision on their own.
A foreign ministry statement on the matter reads: “Israel attributes great importance to its relationship with the institutions of the European Union and has been conducting a diverse and lengthy relationship with the European Parliament which included mutual visits of delegations both in Europe and in Israel. The chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament Elmar Brok is a welcomed visitor in Israel, and so are delegations of the European Parliament, but there is a special sensitivity to relations with the parties of the far-right in Europe, including the National Front in France, that Ms. Le Pen is a member of.”