President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team and the Israeli Foreign Ministry were at odds on Wednesday over treatment of a European parliament member from a far-right wing party in Sweden.
Becky Norton Dunlop, an adviser to Trump on policy and personnel, canceled a meeting with Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely over the latter’s refusal to allow a Swedish far-right member into the meeting, according to The Times of Israel.
A spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry explained that Hotovely had acted on instructions from the Ministry, which is headed by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. He said the decision to exclude Kristina Winberg, of the Sweden Democrats was due to her party’s extremist positions.
“The Swedish representative is a member of a party with neo-Nazi tendencies and therefore the Foreign Ministry decided not to include her in the meeting with Hotovely,” Emmanuel Nahshon said.
That decision prompted Dunlop, along with a delegation of U.S. Republican and European lawmakers, to call off the meeting altogether.
Nahshon confirmed that Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked’s decision to cancel a speech at the Jerusalem Leader’s Summit on Tuesday was also connected to Winberg’s participation.
A few weeks ago, Trump’s choice for National Security Advisor, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, reportedly met with Heinz-Christian Strache, the leader of the far-right Austrian Freedom Party.
The Freedom Party was founded by former Nazis in the 1950s. It’s candidate, Norbert Hofer, came close to winning the presidency in early December, and was narrowly defeated by independent candidate Alexander Van der Bellen.
The agenda of the meeting was not disclosed.
Subsequently, Strache exploited the meeting to show Austrians that “the Freedom Party continues to gain international influence.”
Daniel Serwer, a professor at Johns Hopkins University specializing in foreign policy, told the Huffington Post that the Freedom Party “is not just any opposition party: It is one with Nazi sympathies.”