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Israel bars academic from Berlin diplomatic event

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 6, 2012 at 4:56 am •  Published: December 6, 2012

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel barred a dovish Israeli academic from taking part in a science symposium in Berlin on Thursday that was part of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's visit to Germany, drawing renewed charges that his government has little tolerance for dissent.

An official traveling with Netanyahu said professor and human rights expert Rivka Feldhay was banned from a meeting of Israeli and German scientists because the prime minister did not want to allow the participation of an Israeli "who tarnishes the name of Israeli soldiers and pilots."

Feldhay signed a petition in 2008 that supported Israeli soldiers who refused to serve in Palestinian territories, the official said. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media.

Feldhay told The Associated Press in an email that she had traveled to Berlin at the invitation of the Israeli embassy in Germany.

After her arrival, the embassy notified Feldhay that National Security Council head Yaakov Amidror "refused to confirm my participation since I am a critical of the government of Israel."

In her subsequent communications with government officials, Feldhay said she was attacked as "an enemy of the state."

"I am amazed that the Council of National Security has found nothing more important in terms of Israeli security than myself," she said. "It fits other types of regimes than democracy, a regime (where) there is no distinction between opposition to the government and enemies of the state."

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