JERUSALEM (JTA) — Right-wing lawmakers walked out of an address by the European Parliament president at the Knesset after he criticized Israel using incorrect facts.
Members of the Jewish Home party led by Naftali Bennett left the Knesset chamber after Martin Schultz accused Israel of allowing its citizens to use four times the amount of water per person that is allocated to Palestinians. He also criticized the Israeli blockade of Gaza.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu later criticized Schultz for what he called “selective hearing.”
“He said that he visited Ramallah and heard from Palestinian youth that an Israeli citizen uses four times as much water as a Palestinian,” Netanyahu said of Shultz. “According to both the Palestinian water authority and our data, this number is not true, and is significantly smaller,” the prime minister said. “The parliament president said, in all honestly, ‘I didn’t check.’ But that didn’t prevent him from casting aspersions.”
“This speech will be spread all around the world as though this is true. When he says these things, and in German yet, it’s no wonder that Knesset members and ministers are objecting to these comments,” Culture and Sport Minister Limor Livnat of Netanyahu’s Likud Party told Haaretz.
Bennett called on Schultz to apologize for his misstatements.
Shultz spoke in his native German, prompting Moshe Feiglin of the Likud Party’s Jewish Leadership faction to boycott the speech.
Schultz said during his speech that there is no European economic boycott of Israel.
“The European Union will always stand at the side of the State of Israel,” Schulz said. “As for the economic boycott, there is no boycott, and I can tell you that such a boycott is not being considered.”