Diplomats may have a reputation for greyness, obfuscation, even hypocrisy, but few have found themselves compared to a serial killer, let alone one who devours human flesh.
That honour befell Laars Faaborg-Andersen, the European Union’s ambassador to Israel, last week when Jewish settlers launched a social media campaign casting him as Hannibal Lecter, the terrifying character from the film Silence of the Lambs.
An image of the Danish diplomat wearing Lecter’s prison face-mask was supposed to suggest that Europe needs similar muzzling.
The settlers’ grievance relates to European aid, which has provided temporary shelter to Palestinian Bedouin families after the Israeli army demolished their homes in the occupied territories near Jerusalem. The emergency housing has helped them remain on land coveted by Israel and the settlers.
European officials, outraged by the Lecter comparison, have reminded Tel Aviv that, were it to abide by international law, Israel – not the EU – would be taking responsibility for these families’ welfare.