Netanyahu cancels meeting with German foreign minister
JERUSALEM | Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu abruptly canceled talks Tuesday with the German foreign minister over the visiting diplomat’s plans to sit down with an Israeli rights group, sparking a rare diplomatic feud with one of Israel’s closest and most important allies.
The last-minute cancellation cast a cloud over a visit that had been meant to draw attention to years of friendship between the two countries and coincided with Israel’s annual Holocaust memorial day.
Mr. Netanyahu’s office said the prime minister wouldn’t meet with foreign dignitaries who meet “groups that slander [Israeli] soldiers as war criminals,” referring to Breaking the Silence, a whistleblower group critical of Israeli military actions in the West Bank.
German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said Mr. Netanyahu’s cancellation was “relatively surprising” since such meetings were “rather standard” for foreign diplomats.