In an interview on Sunday with Arutz Sheva, Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) spoke about Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's ultimatum to Germany's Foreign Minister last week, and subsequent cancellation of a meeting with the minister.
Netanyahu canceled his meeting with German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel after Gabriel met with radical anti-IDF organizations Breaking the Silence and B'Tselem.
"For over a year and a half, I've been speaking to European ministers about the funding they give Breaking the Silence," Hotovely said. "We tell them they're funding organizations whose aim is to de-legitimize Israel and undermine our right to exist. I believe Breaking the Silence are our enemies. They do everything they can to undermine our right to self defense. It's horrifying, it's unacceptable, and it is a serious issue."
"Countries cannot call themselves friends of Israel if they fund groups who wish to de-legitmize us. There is no precedent for this anywhere in the world.
"After a year and a half during which we spoke and made other diplomatic efforts to show why these organizations are not legitimate, the German Foreign Minister decides to meet with them face-to-face. If that is the case, the Prime Minister should meet with them. He should tell them, 'Either them or us,' because this is really a breaking point for us.
"We needed to tell them clearly that these meetings are not okay and are an effort to undermine our right to exist."
Regarding the claim that Netanyahu's decision gives B'Tselem and Breaking the Silence free publicity, Hotovely said, "These organizations do not need publicity. They are already well-known around the world, where they are very active. They receive millions from European countries."
"It is a serious mistake to claim that if we do not speak about them, they will not harm us. The fact is, they have caused us much harm. And after every military operation that the State of Israel undertakes when its citizens are attacked, [Breaking the Silence and B’Tselem] attack IDF soldiers. It’s important that the truth be told, and that our side of the story and the morality of [our actions] are explained. That’s the point.
“Sometimes a drastic measure, like cancelling a meeting, is necessary because of the utterly abnormal situation we’re in right now,” continued Hotovely, who added that both the German government and Israel made clear that the incident did not fundamentally harm relations between the two countries.
“What took place here was that the government of Israel made its position clear, but this did nothing to harm the good relations between the two countries…this was an abnormal event in terms of our behavior, but also the behavior of European foreign ministers has been unusual recently, and when you’re faced with unusual conduct, you respond in kind.”