Danny Danon said the former communist nations have played a key role in blocking anti-Israel measures in the European Union and other international forums. But he said they had to improve their approach toward Jews.
"When we meet them, we tell them: 'We are grateful for your involvement. We want to continue the cooperation. But at the same time when it comes to domestic issues, you have to take stronger action,'" he told reporters in Jerusalem. "We do expect stronger actions when it comes to anti-Semitism."
Danon is in Israel heading a delegation of fellow ambassadors to the U.N. after making a stop with them in Poland. Along with Lithuania, Ukraine, Hungary and others, it is among those swept up in a wave of World War II-era revisionism that seeks to diminish their culpability in the Holocaust while making heroes out of anti-Soviet nationalists involved in the mass killing of Jews.
Danon's comments come just days after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu extended a warm welcome to Lithuania's prime minister, in his latest embrace of an eastern European leader who has offered strong political support for Israel while promoting a distorted image of the Holocaust. In Israel, established in the wake of the Nazi genocide of 6 million Jews, many critics say Netanyahu is cynically betraying the victims' memory.
Critics say Netanyahu — who often invokes the Holocaust when inveighing against archrival Iran — turns a blind eye when it comes to like-minded allies. For such countries, the warm embrace of the Israeli leader provides a strong defense against accusations of anti-Semitism while also strengthening ties with a close U.S. ally.
The delegation of 40 U.N. ambassadors led by Danon is paying a five-day visit to Israel. The envoys are slated to meet with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday before visiting Israel's northern border with Lebanon and inspecting Hezbollah attack tunnels recently uncovered by the Israeli military.