Belgium won't allow anti-Israel activist to speak at UN Security Council meeting

Activist says Belgium rescinds invite after Israel pressure.


UN Security Council
UN Security Council

Belgium rescinded an invitation to a pro-Palestinian Authority activist to address the United Nations (UN) Security Council, which it currently chairs, after pressure from Israel, he said Friday.

Ben Parker, a senior adviser at Defense for Children International-Palestine (DCI-P) had been invited by Brussels to address the UN over allegations of "rights abuses" in Israel and the "occupied Palestinian

Israel claimed he was too biased to address the forum and summoned Belgian diplomats to protest the invitation.

Parker told AFP he would no longer address the body after being informed that the parameters of the meeting had changed.

"What I have been told is on Monday the Belgian government has changed the briefing to be closed consultations, which effectively means I won't be speaking," Parker told AFP, adding he was "deeply frustrated."

He said he had planned to give an "evidence-based statement" on "grave violations in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories from 2014 to the end of 2019."

"It is frustrating once again the political context has worked to silence our voice."

DCI-P describes itself as working to protect "the human rights of Palestinian children."

Israel claims the NGO's board includes individuals affiliated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), considered a terrorist organization by the European Union, the United States and Israel.

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Lior Haiat noted that Parker is "known for extreme positions against Israel."

Israel's ambassador to Belgium and Luxembourg, Emmanuel Nahshon, wrote on Twitter earlier this month that inviting Parker to speak created "unnecessary tension" that was "easily avoidable."

Parker claimed the Israeli allegations against him were "an attempt to silence legitimate human rights work that exposes the reality for children impacted by Israeli military occupation."