MANILA, Philippines – An Israeli company decided to turn down an invitation to attend a business forum with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte to protest his visit to Israel.
Mino Negrin, founder and Chief Executive Officer of Israeli water filter technology company NUFilteration Ltd, said in a letter to the Philippine embassy that accepting the invitation would only give "legitimacy" to the "offense" Duterte caused the Jewish people.
Negrin, in am email to Rappler on Tuesday, confirmed the veracity of the letter.
Haaretz correspondent Noa Landau tweeted Negrin's letter on Monday, September 3. Duterte's event with businessmen is scheduled to take place on Tuesday afternoon (Israel time).
"We thank you very much for your invitation to the forum but would like to inform you that we are not willing to participate in an event which will be held in concomitance with Mr Dutarte’s (sic) visit to Israel," wrote Negrin.
"Mr. Dutarte (sic) offended our people several times in a public way by comparing himself to Hitler and his manners, in a way that cannot be accepted by the Jewish people," he continued.
While Negrin values the ties between the Philippines and Israel, he said that "under no circumstances" could his company "give legitimacy to such an offence, regardless the position of our Government."
Disapproval and protest marked Duterte's historic visit to Israel with newspapers publishing scathing editorials questioning why their government was "rolling out the red carpet" for an "unwanted guest" like him.
An Israeli lawmaker belonging to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's own party admitted that Israelis may just have to take a "pill against nausea" to stomach the Philippine President's stay.
On Monday, Duterte and his daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio visited Yad Vashem, a Holocaust memorial, a visit that a Haaretz newspaper editorial depicted as incongruous as it described the President as a "Hitler admirer." – Rappler.com
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.