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Israel bows to UK pressure to censor spokesman – media

Eylon Levy allegedly offended David Cameron with Gaza aid comments

The Israeli government has reportedly suspended its English-language spokesman, Eylon Levy, following British complaints about comments he made, allegedly in response to UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron. 

Levy has been home for “more than a week,” the Tel Aviv-based Channel 12 said on Monday evening. The outlet attributed his alleged suspension to a post on X (formerly Twitter) on March 8, which the UK interpreted as attacking Cameron.

“People in Gaza are in desperate humanitarian need,” Cameron had posted that day, urging Israel “to allow more trucks into Gaza as the fastest way to get aid to those who need it.”

Levy’s alleged response is nowhere to be found on the platform, however. A link to his account sent in a response to Cameron is broken, and the post has not been archived. In one post dated March 8 that is still up, Levy questions a headline in a British newspaper claiming that Cameron had asked for 500 trucks a day.

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“The average aid truck weighs 20 tons. 500 food trucks would be 10,000 tons (10 million kg) of food.  That’s 5kg per person per day. Nobody needs 5kg of food a day,” Levy said.

According to Channel 12, Levy has been “absent from work for over a week” and “it is unlikely that he will return to his position.” The outlet also cited earlier reports that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s wife, Sara, had sought Levy’s dismissal because he had criticized Netanyahu and took part in opposition protests over judicial reforms.

Earlier on Monday, Netanyahu complained that Israel lacked spokespeople who could “string two words together” in English.

A glance at Levy’s X account, however, shows him very much active and continuing to contest any criticism of Israel, including concerns about humanitarian aid deliveries to Gaza. His most recent post was on Tuesday morning. 

Levy had previously worked as a journalist and an adviser to Israeli President Isaac Herzog. He got the spokesman job after the October 7 attacks by Hamas. The deaths of 1,200 Israelis and abduction of another 240 triggered Netanyahu to declare war on the Gaza-based group and invade the Palestinian enclave. Over 30,000 Palestinians have since been killed as a result of Israeli military operations.

March 20, 2024 at 11:44PM

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