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April 21, 2023 3:22 pm

‘Incredibly Disturbing’: ADL Calls on Israel to Reconsider New York Consul General Nomination


avatar by Andrew Bernard

Likud MK May Golan (L) with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, 3 March, 2023 (Photo: Twitter)

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) in a statement to The Algemeiner called for the Israeli government to reconsider the nomination of Likud MK and minister-without-portfolio May Golan as Israel’s Consul General in New York over past comments she has made about asylum seekers and her description of herself as a “proud racist.”

“Minister May Golan’s racist comments about African asylum seekers in Israel and others are incredibly disturbing and raise deep concerns about her fitness to serve as a diplomat in any locale, let alone in a city as diverse and vibrant as New York,” the ADL said in a written statement. “We hope the Israeli government will reconsider her potential nomination.”

The US State Department on Thursday also condemned comments made by Golan, who has also previously said that she does not eat at restaurants with African asylum seekers for fear of catching AIDS.

“We would condemn such kind of rhetoric and believe that such kind of language is also particularly damaging when it’s amplified in leadership positions,” State Department Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel told The Algemeiner at a press briefing.

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Patel said the State Department would not comment on her credentialing as Israel’s Consul General in New York.

Golan in a statement on Twitter Thursday confirmed that she was being considered for the Consul Generalship and said she would represent mainstream views and work with the leaders of all US Jewish organizations.

“I am very flattetrd [sic] to be considered for the post of Israel’s consul general in NY,” she wrote. “I want to assure everyone that if I will be appointed, I will represent 100% the mainstream policies of PM Netanyahu and the Likud party to which I belong. I am completely committed to the unity of the Jewish people, and that is the exact policy that I will follow. If appointed, I will work with the leaders of all the Jewish organizations – as part of the effort to strengthen the great partnership between Israel and the American Jewish communities.”

Golan has a long history of incendiary statements that some liberal Jewish and Israel-advocacy groups said could undermine her ability to perform her duties as Consul General of New York, a key liaison between the State of Israel and one of the world’s largest Jewish communities.

Golan’s office did not immediately respond to a request from The Algemeiner for comment.

David Halperin, the CEO of Israel Policy Forum, a nonpartisan nonprofit that supports the two-state solution and which last month urged Jewish groups not to meet with Israeli finance minister Bezalel Smotrich because of his views, told The Algemeiner that while he wasn’t ready to make the same recommendation about Golan, her nomination signals a further rupture between the government of Benjamin Netanyahu and the American Jewish community.

“This just seems like a supremely and, frankly, obviously bad idea,” Halperin said. “This is the kind of appointment that you make if you’re unconcerned about further strains in the American Jewish community. It’s an appointment that would likely further strain relations with American Jews and do Israel no favors when it comes to favorability of Israel among many Americans.”

Rabbi Rick Jacobs, President of the Union for Reform Judaism, said on Twitter Thursday that Golan’s appointment would undermine the relationship of Israel with American Jews. 

“We need a thoughtful, diplomatic, morally credible new consul general in NY,” he said in a tweet addressed to Prime Minister Netanyahu. “May Golan is none of those. Her brand of Zionism is antithetical to the majority of our community. She will harm not help Israel’s cause.”

The Republican Jewish Committee (RJC) did not respond to The Algemeiner’s request for comment.

A staunch advocate of the Netanyahu government’s controversial judicial reform package, in 2022 Golan had one of her videos removed from TikTok when she said the Israeli Supreme Court’s decisions on asylum seekers made it culpable for the rape of a woman in Tel Aviv and that the Israeli judiciary rendered Israel a “fake democracy.”

“The word ‘racist’ has just lost all meaning to me,” she told Fox News’ Sean Hannity in a 2016 interview. “I think I, and the rest of the people of Israel, have the right to protect their homes and its borders and when they’re bringing so many Muslim infiltrators just in the way of trying to change this Jewish country and to have the left radicals get voted in the seats in the parliament then you know that something is very wrong.”


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