Welsh call to boycott envoy

June 12, 2008

The presiding officer of the Welsh Assembly has urged its members to boycott a meeting with Ron Prosor, the Israeli ambassador.

Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas emailed Assembly Members stating that he thought they should shun the ambassador. “I am unwilling to accept the invitation to meet the ambassador because of my objection to the failure of the state of Israel to meet its international obligations to the Palestinian people of the Holy Lands,” he wrote. “I would invite other colleagues to do the same.” 

The private meeting, scheduled for later this month, has been arranged by Mohammed Asghar, the assembly’s only Muslim member. Mr Asghar said the meeting was intended to promote inter-faith dialogue.

“The biggest flashpoint in the world at the moment is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, so we must understand both sides of the facts,” Mr Asghar told BBC Radio Wales.

“I know quite a lot from the Palestinian side, but I haven’t been able to speak with any Israeli till today, so in my fortunate position I thought this was the best opportunity for me to invite him. That was the whole idea, to bring him over, and listen to his views.”

A Labour AM, Leighton Andrews,  described Lord Elis-Thomas’s email as “insulting to the people of Israel, and demeaning to the national assembly”.

Mr Andrews accused Lord Elis-Thomas of “juvenile gesture politics”.

Last updated: 10:42am, June 12 2008