Europe

Palestine – it’s not worth it

One of the most alarming experiences as a European is to see how our politicians and the media continue to criticize Israel but not the Palestinians, whose pseudo-national aspirations garner more attention than Syrian war casualties, Chinese human rights abuses and the plight of women and girls enslaved by Islamic terrorists.

It is strange that the Palestinians – who have no historical, cultural or legal rights to the land of Israel – are endowed with international and economic patronage by the US, the EU and the UN. How did the Palestinians and their Arabist-Islamist backers manage to achieve such a feat?

Firstly, the Palestinians have learnt that violence is rewarded. Acts of terror against Israelis have only strengthened the West’s belief that a Palestinian state is of paramount importance. The latest round of fighting in Gaza confirms this.

Secondly, the Palestinians have managed to convince most of the world that they are a landless and suffering people, whose plight is equal to that of the Jews in the 1930s and 1940s. This is has to be one of history’s biggest hoaxes. And it is a very dangerous hoax indeed. Why? Because the “Palestinian issue” has enabled Europe to reconnect with its Jew-hating past by blurring the line between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism.

The fact that Jewish businesses across the world are being boycotted is testament to the perverse success of the Palestinian movement. Jews in France have been murdered. Synagogues in Belfast and London have been vandalized. Anti-Semitic chants and references to the Holocaust are commonplace in Europe’s cities. Countries that pride themselves on their enlightened and liberal societies – such as Sweden, Germany and Norway – are all places where Jews no longer feel safe.

At last, the shocking rise in anti-Semitism in Europe is garnering some media attention. But the issue is still not taken seriously by the liberal-left, the police and most politicians. This is because much of the anti-Semitic abuse is carried out by Muslims who claim it is retribution for their “brothers” in Gaza. And the liberal elite either agrees or looks the other way.

The situation cannot continue. It is incomprehensible that Jews are suffering the same hatred as they did during the 1930s and 1940s. The curse of anti-Semitism is once again strangling Europe’s hard-won freedoms. The post-1945 consensus that Jews will never again be made to suffer at the hands of fascists is falling apart.

Perhaps Europe’s leaders should be asking themselves one simple question: is the creation of a Palestinian state really worth the aggravation? After all, the people who call themselves Palestinians have had at least seven opportunities since 1937 to establish a state alongside Israel and each time they have refused. Since it is clear that the Palestinians are not interested in peaceful co-existence, it is surely incumbent on the international community to focus on more important matters (such as the liberation of the Kurds from Islamist imperialism).

Will Europe listen? Or will it continue to advance the Palestinian issue until not a single Jew is left in Europe? Only time will tell. But in the meantime don’t be surprised if the number of Jews making Aliyah continues to rise.

 

 

 

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Why Europe needs Israel

Zeev Elkin, Israel’s deputy foreign minister is worried that the chasm between the EU and Israel will continue to grow if there is no solution to the new EU criteria concerning Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria.

I think Elkin is worrying too much. Yes, Israel is heavily dependent on trading agreements with Europe, but it’s just as true to say that Europe is dependent on Israel. Why? For the simple reason that Europe must become a dynamic knowledge economy if it is to compete with Asia and the US, and the best way to achieve this is for the EU to work closely with its neighbor and economic partner, Israel.

After all, when it comes to knowledge-based industries, Israel is one of the most competitive economies on the planet thanks to its remarkable capacity for innovation. Indeed, it is no secret that Israel is a world-leader in the hi-tech and start-up sectors. Israel’s remarkable laboratories and scientific institutes are the envy of the world and a magnet for international investment.

Let’s look at the facts. Israel boasts around 4,000 technology start-ups, which is more than any other country outside the US. Not surprisingly, half of Israel’s exports are of the hi-tech variety. Israel leads the world in patents for medical equipment and is a supplier of inexpensive but crucial medicines to Europe (such as Copaxone for multiple sclerosis and Actos for type 2 diabetes).  And it has attracted the most venture capital investment per capita in the world, 30 times more than Europe.

In the years and decades to come, Israeli engineers, computer scientists, inventors, chemists and biologists will drive not only Israel’s economy but will provide benefits to Europe and the world at large. The UK for example is quietly building solid trade links with Israel amid talk of a stronger partnership between British and Israeli companies in the areas of innovation, hi-tech and science. (The fact that a young and tiny country like Israel is well ahead of the UK in terms of research and development speaks volumes about the lackluster nature of British industry.)

If Europe wants to compete with China and the US in the areas of medical technology, homeland security, communications and aviation, then it must cooperate with Israel and jettison its pointless obsession with Palestinian Arabism. On one level, the EU is well aware of this. This is why Israel was the first non-European country to be associated to the EU’s Research and Technical Development program. It is also why the EU wants Israel involved in the Horizon 2020 program.

But there is a problem. In July the EU issued guidelines (due to come into effect next January) that say any agreement between the EU and Israel must include a clause in which Israel relinquishes its claim over East Jerusalem and Judea-Samaria. This is unacceptable to Israel and has jeopardized Israel’s involvement in Horizon 2020, the EU’s flagship initiative aimed at securing Europe’s global competitiveness.

Antonio Tajani, the European Commission’s vice president for enterprise and industry, has pledged to strengthen industrial cooperation between the EU and Israel. Indeed, the whole point of his recent two-day mission to Israel was to procure Israel’s cooperation in the areas of space technology, communications and water technology. The implication is that without Israeli input, EU industry will lag behind the rest of the world.

Tajani specifically wants Israel to sign the Horizon 2020 agreement because Europe needs Israel’s cooperation in the areas of job creation and scientific research. In other words, Israel’s involvement in the flagship scheme would not only benefit the Jewish state, it would boost prosperity in Europe.

This is echoed by Elmar Brok, a German Christian Democrat politician and foreign policy adviser to Angela Merkel. He has publicly stated that Israel’s participation in Horizon 2020 is important to Europe.

“I think it is a European interest. It would be stupid of us if we do not continue this cooperation,” he told the Jerusalem Post, before adding: “Because it is very much to our advantage.”

The deadline to sign Horizon 2020 is the end of November, which is why the EU is trying desperately to reach a compromise solution in the coming weeks.

Without Israel, Europe is less competitive. And in the aftermath of a global recession and a continuing Eurozone crisis, a return to economic competitiveness is vital for the well-being of Europe and the rest of the world. The EU leadership must be realistic and abandon the insane boycott of Judea and Samaria and concentrate instead on building solid relations with the world’s leading innovator, Israel.

 

 

Germany’s moral imperative

In an interview published in the most recent edition of Jewish Voice from Germany, Angela Merkel says Israel’s security is part of Germany’s “national ethos, our raison d’être.” This echoes her 2008 speech to the Knesset when she spoke of Germany’s “Holocaust shame” and asserted her country’s support for the Jewish state.

The German chancellor’s comments are very welcome but can Germany really uphold its commitment to Israel? If domestic opinion is anything to go by, probably not. According to a BBC World Service Poll conducted this year, a staggering 67% of Germans say they dislike Israel.  And a survey conducted on behalf of Stern magazine shows that around two-thirds of Germans believe their county has no special obligations to the Jewish state, with many denouncing Israel as a country that pursues its interests “without consideration for other nations.”

Germany’s feelings about Israel are inescapably tied to memories of Nazism and the desire to close the book on the past. But it would be terrible if the Holocaust ever loses its universal resonance. The Shoah is a potent reminder of man’s inhumanity to man. More specifically it is a reminder of what Europe is capable of when it turns its back on the Jewish people.

If the German people are suffering from a collective case of Holocaust amnesia, then it is hardly surprising that negative attitudes towards Israel are growing. This may explain why in the past few years, anti-Zionism has become a socially acceptable way of expressing anti-Semitism in Germany on both the Left and the Right. Already Germany has distanced itself from Israel by abstaining from (rather than opposing) a UN vote approving the de facto recognition of a sovereign Palestinian state.

Another problem that could undermine Israeli-German relations is the Islamification of Europe. By Merkel’s own admission, Germany is well on its way to becoming an Islamic stronghold. “Our country is going to carry on changing,” she told a newspaper in 2010. “Mosques, for example, are going to be a more prominent part of our cities than they were before.”

How can Merkel reconcile the Islamification of Germany with Israel’s security? She can’t.

Islam is the largest minority religion in Germany, which has over 3 million citizens of Turkish-Muslim origin, representing 4% of the population. There are also between 159,000 and 200,000 Palestinian Arabs in Germany. By comparison, there are a mere 119,000 German Jews and this figure is projected to fall to 108,000 by 2020.

A rapidly growing Muslim population and a declining Jewish community mean that future German politicians will ignore the Jews and pander to anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic Muslims. I won’t be surprised if a left-wing party in Germany promises to upgrade relations with the Palestinians in order to win over the Turkish vote.

What would happen if Germany reneged on its support for Israel? Practically speaking, nothing much. But it would be a blow to the conscience of the world. Because of its crimes against the Jewish people in the 1930s and 1940s, Germany has a special moral imperative to protect and support Israel in good times and bad. This means distancing itself from the Palestinian cause and offering strong diplomatic support for the Jewish state at the UN and in the EU. If Germany abandons its support for Israel, then it would send out a message that the guilt of the Holocaust is finally assuaged. It would be a green light to neo-Nazis, the Far Left and Islamofascists across Europe to act with impunity against the Jews.

Already there are signs that things are going awry. Newspapers in Germany and Britain demonize the State of Israel by printing anti-Semitic cartoons.  Muslim thugs routinely harass and assault Jews in Toulouse and Malmo. Left-wing politicians in the EU parliament lend their support to Hamas. Equally vile are the Far Right bigots in Greece and Hungary who demonize Jews, gypsies and Muslims on the grounds of race.

We cannot escape the fact that there is a wide seam of intolerance in Europe. And this intolerance – which found its most gruesome expression in the 7/7 and Madrid bombings, as well as the recent beheading of a British soldier – is incompatible with the values of democracy, free speech and sanctity of human life.

The bewildering rise in terrorism, street protests, radicalism and bigotry in modern Europe recalls the shrill and shallow politicking of the 1930s. Contempt for “the other” (usually Jews) is as commonplace now as it was in fascist Germany. The media and the megaphone are the political tools of Palestinianists and Nazis alike. The threat of violence (real and imaginary) is used to silence the critics who are denounced as Zionists or American puppets. Musicians are suppressed because of their allegiance to the Jewish people. Contemporary jazz musician Eric Herrera was recently banned from playing the Fiesta Major Alternativa because he was photographed in Barcelona attending an event marking Israel’s 65th anniversary. How is this different from the Nazi prohibition of Jewish composers like Arnold Schoenberg? In short, there is no difference at all.

Europeans are seemingly powerless to resist the return of fascism. Wallowing in post-colonial guilt and cultural relativism, Europe has spectacularly failed to address the problem of resurgent anti-Semitism, probably because it so captivated by the absurd narrative of the Palestinian underdog.

As things stand, the EU is a hollow entity. It is a superstructure without a soul. The Nazis mocked the moral code found in the Hebrew Scriptures, while today’s Europe discards the ethical system bequeathed by the Jews via the Christians. Indeed, the EU is embarrassed by its Christian heritage but it is willing to tolerate Islam. It welcomes Muslims but is unable to integrate them into European society. It condemns racism but turns a blind eye to anti-Semitism. It prides itself on protecting minorities but routinely ignores Jewish voices.

The EU needs something to fill the void. If there was ever such a thing as Judeo-Christian culture, it turned to ashes in the crematoria at Auschwitz-Birkenau. Europe has been running on empty ever since the end of the Second World War and if it’s not careful the void will be filled by the twin evils of neo-Nazism and radical Islam. And in their wake the pestilences of anti-Semitism, racism, terrorism, homophobia and sexism will ravage the continent.

A fascist Europe poses a danger to everyone, Jew and non-Jew alike.

 

 

 

 

Euro imperialism threatens Israel’s integrity

Since the announcement of the John Kerry peace talks, a number of left-wing pundits in Israel and abroad are promulgating the view that the existence of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria poses an existential threat to the State of Israel. In the same vein, other left-wing commentators say the building of homes and business beyond the Green Line is a severe blow to Israeli-EU relations.

All of this is nonsense and it feeds the tired narrative that the Jewish settlements are the main obstacle to peace with the Arab world. But there is something to be said about the way the Jewish settlements are perceived by the international community. In other words, it is perception and not reality that is the real existential threat to Israel.

Despite a major petition bearing the signatures of more than 1,000 lawyers, scholars, jurists and diplomats from around the world – all of whom agree the Jewish settlements are legal and that the concept of “1967 lines” does not exist in international law – the European Union remains stubbornly committed to the delegitimization of Israeli communities beyond the Green Line. A spokesperson for EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton (who was the recipient of the petition) has proclaimed that EU policy towards Israel remains unaltered.

This misperception of Israel’s legal position in the so-called occupied territories is the reason why Catherine Ashton is lobbying EU commissioners with the express aim of issuing guidelines on the labeling of Jewish settlement products that would apply to 28 European countries. The EU has also issued guidelines advising member states not to give grants, awards or loans to Israeli entities operating over the Green Line.

One of the byproducts of this European embargo is Palestinian job losses. The economic destruction of Israeli businesses could result in thousands of Palestinians losing their livelihoods. Needless to say, these Palestinians are not happy with the prospect of an embargo. Apart from the unfairness, there is a real security issue. Unemployed men with families to feed are likely to become restless and resentful. Resentment breeds violence – and violence in the “West Bank” usually results in Israeli casualties.

The EU’s position vis-à-vis grants and loans also damages Israel’s higher education and research sectors. As things stand, Ariel University (where five per cent of students are Palestinians) is ineligible to participate in the lucrative Horizon 2020 research and development program. But worst of all is the fact that the EU –in tandem with Obama administration – is using the threat of boycotts to force Israel into making painful and potentially lethal concessions, such as the release of 104 Palestinian terrorists.

Why is the EU so hung up about Jews living and working beyond the Green Line? After all, the existence of the Jewish settlements in the so-called West Bank is not particularly contentious. A two-state solution (should it ever happen) would allow for land swaps, thereby “legitimizing” many of these Jewish communities. It is the final status of Jerusalem and the Palestinian myth of the “right to return” which are the issues most likely to derail John Kerry’s peace talks.

Perhaps Europe’s obsession with the location of Jewish homes and businesses is a hangover from those dark days (or centuries) when a litany of princes, popes and priests (and ultimately the Nazis) all decreed where Jews were allowed to live and work. Fast forward to the 21st century and we have a situation where Jews are being ostracized because they dare to build houses, schools and yeshivas – not in central or eastern Europe but in Israel’s biblical heartland.

How is it that Europe, which is responsible for extermination of one-third of world Jewry, has the audacity to dictate policy to a tiny country that is home to the descendants of Holocaust survivors? I cannot be the only person in Europe who is repulsed by this hypocrisy. Or has Europe fallen so low that nobody even notices the EU’s selfish duplicity?

Antipathy towards Jewish self-determination may be one explanation for the EU’s attitude towards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But perhaps Europe’s unquestioned support for the Palestinians is also motivated by a desire to resurrect European influence in the Middle East. By coalescing into a single powerful unit, the once-great imperial powers of Britain, France and Germany are now in a position to flex their diplomatic muscles under the guise of pan-European unity.

The first project of this new Euro-imperialism is to build yet another Arab state and shrink the borders of the world’s only Jewish state. This seems like an unfortunate rerun of events that took place nearly a century ago. In 1921, Britain divided the Jewish national home into Palestine and Transjordan. And in 1937 the Peel Commission Partition Plan (another British initiative) recommended the division of the Jewish homeland in order to make way for another Arab state. This was rejected by the Arab Higher Committee on the grounds that Palestine belongs to the “whole Arab and Muslim worlds,” a belief that is shared by Hamas and some elements of the Palestinian Authority.

Whenever Europe is involved in the affairs of the Middle East, the Arabs get more territory and the Jews get less.  On the surface, this seems like a crude equation but it is nonetheless true. And if EU policymakers and their friends in the White House have their way, Israel will be driven from east Jerusalem, Hebron and the Jordan Valley, thereby robbing the Jewish people of their heritage and depriving them of their security. But then again, Europe has always rather enjoyed robbing the Jews of their rights.

Israel should not let itself be bullied by the bullies in Brussels and Washington. And on no account should Israel’s Foreign Ministry agree to Europe’s demand to surrender Israeli rights over east Jerusalem, the Golan Heights and the so-called West Bank. If this means relinquishing a research partnership worth hundreds of millions of dollars, then so be it. Israel needs to show Europe that it is no longer prepared to be pushed around by Catherine Ashton and her EU cronies.

 

Catherine Ashton – a symbol of European folly

Catherine Ashton represents everything that is wrong with the European Union. Chosen for the role of EU foreign policy chief in 2009, she has never been elected and even now she is unknown to the vast majority of ordinary Europeans. Her political experience is paltry, unless you count her role as national treasurer in the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, a Soviet-funded anti-war group which was at its height in Britain during the 1980s.

Since her appointment in 2009, Ashton has repeatedly shown that she has no understanding of the conflict between Israel and the Arab world. Her latest effort to introduce separate labeling for products made by Jews in Judea and Samaria demonstrates her contempt for the people of Israel. Ashton is going to great lengths to secure support from the seven EU commissioners who are responsible for justice, industry, taxation, agriculture, consumer protection, trade and internal markets. Her ultimate aim is to issue guidelines on the labeling of Jewish settlement products that would apply to all 28 EU member states. She clearly hopes to isolate and embarrass Israel, with the added effect of damaging its economy in the process.

Unfortunately, Ashton’s legendary incompetence and foolishness is symbolic of the EU’s inept relationship with Israel. Although there are strong legal and economic ties between the EU and the Jewish state, relations are constantly under strain because of the former’s condescending attitude towards settlers in Judea and Samaria. Since the late 1990s, both sides have been in dispute over the legal treatment of products exported to the EU from the so-called West Bank. Ashton, who is bereft of original thinking at the best of times, is simply regurgitating the EU’s tiresome anti-settler stance.

The EU’s outmoded approach to Israel and the settlers ought to be challenged. But it is difficult to do so when the EU is economically and politically committed to the complete dismantling of the Jewish settlements in order to make way for an independent Palestinian state. The EU has squandered around 5 billion euros in development aid to the Palestinians over the past 20 years. At the start of 2012, the EU contributed another 1.1 million euros to the PA’s so-called “Private Sector Reconstruction in Gaza” program, which provided financial support to businesses destroyed or damaged by Operation Cast Lead – a war that was started by Hamas.

The money flowing out of Europe into the hands of the Palestinians is a core component of the unimaginatively-titled Action Plan, which is designed to “create the conditions for developing an increasingly close relationship in preparation for a future Palestinian State, going beyond co-operation, to involve a significant measure of economic integration and deepening of political cooperation.” But the Action Plan goes further than just establishing economic ties. It aims to establish a nation state based on the European model. But given the Palestinians’ history of flouting even the most basic of human rights, this is an absurd expectation.

Oblivious to the Palestinians’ real goal of destroying Israel, the EU is acting under the illusion that it can persuade the Palestinians to create a democratic country, where the rule of law is upheld and the rights of minorities are protected (presumably this doesn’t include the rights of Jewish settlers). Remarkably, the EU also expects the Palestinians to co-operate in the international fight against terrorism, racism, xenophobia and anti-Semitism. I am not joking.

The EU’s utopian vision of a democratic Palestine would be laughable if wasn’t so devious. The EU is pre-empting final status negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians by urging the latter to carry out construction projects in Area C and east Jerusalem without Israel’s cooperation. The EU also wants the Palestinians to become more politically active in east Jerusalem in order to create conditions for a future Palestinian capital. In effect, Europe has dispensed with the Oslo Accords and is urging the Palestinians to act unilaterally.

What is also lamentable is the fact that the EU sees nothing wrong in spending European taxpayers’ money to help build roads, utilities and hospitals for a bunch of people who have committed several acts of terror on European soil, most notably the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre, the 1981 Antwerp bombing, and the Rome and Vienna airport attacks of 1985. European money is also being used to pay for anti-Semitic and anti-Western propaganda and to finance terrorist acts against Israelis. In truth, there is little control over how European money is spent by the Palestinians. And I suspect the European political establishment isn’t particularly interested if it is used to finance attacks on Jewish settlers.

Why is the EU acting in such an irresponsible fashion? Perhaps its behavior (as exemplified by Catherine Ashton) can be explained by the ambition to carve out an anti-American niche in world affairs. By superseding the Soviet Union as the dominant left-wing force in the Western hemisphere, the EU has inherited Moscow’s political, economic and diplomatic ties to the Arab world. Furthermore, the EU uses the Palestinian issue to ingratiate itself with the growing Muslim community inside Europe’s borders. And it is a community which is virulently anti-Israel and anti-Semitic.

Indeed, this new influx of Islamic anti-Semitism has rekindled old prejudices in Europe. The fetishization of the Palestinian issue in the corridors of European power has effectively legitimized the actions of anti-Semitic thugs who firebomb synagogues and desecrate Jewish cemeteries. The anti-Semitic cartoon in a German left-wing newspaper, the glorification of Palestinian terrorism in a French art gallery and the recurring physical attacks on Jews are just a few examples of the depressing decline in moral and intellectual standards in Europe.

It seems there is no reversing of the trend, either. And there won’t be – not until Catherine Ashton and her EU cohorts stop their irresponsible anti-Zionist and anti-American posturing and start to treat the Jewish people with the respect and dignity they deserve.

 

 

Christian Europe Adopts Fascism – the Arab Kind

News that around a dozen Christian organizations in Europe have signed an Israelophobic report calling for the termination of imports from Jewish settlements is further evidence that the European Church has once again succumbed to fascism.

The report is called Trading Away Peace: How Europe Helps Sustain Illegal Israeli Settlements and is a sickening indictment of the way many European Christians view the Jewish state. The report categorically blames the settlements for the obstruction of a two-state solution and calls on European countries and businesses to divest and ban imports from Judea and Samaria.

Some 22 NGOs signed off on the report, around half of which were churches or Christian charities, including Christian Aid, the Quakers, the Methodist Church in Britain, Church of Sweden, Finn Church Aid and Diakonia.

The signatories are the usual suspects. Earlier this year, both Christian Aid and the Quakers met with members of the UK government to discuss the implementation of a total ban of settlement goods, a move that was supported by the Methodist Church. Finn Church Aid has called on Christians not to support Israeli policies “that are a part of the conflict,” which presumably refers to the expansion of settlements in Judea and Samaria.

The Church of Sweden is an advocate of the Kairos document (2009) that says Palestinians have a “natural right” to the land of Israel. The document refers to the first intifada as a “peaceful struggle,” while terrorism is excused on the grounds that Israel is ultimately responsible for Palestinian acts of violence against Jewish civilians.

Possibly the worst fact about the report is that it is has the approval of Diakonia. This organization was founded by five Swedish churches in 1966 and has financed programs to commemorate the Islamofascist hate fest known as the Nakba, and is generally supportive of Palestinian political goals.

Diakonia has also helped fund an organization called Sabeel, which has been roundly criticized for using anti-Semitic propaganda to further its aims. Its founder, a Palestinian Anglican called Naim Ateek, has referred to the settlements as a “crucifixion system” in which Palestinians are “crucified” on a “daily” basis.

The fact that various Christians bodies are funding or supporting this kind of dangerous anti-Semitic nonsense just shows how easily the Church is swayed by Judeophobia. Christian leaders could have stopped Hitler’s rise to power or at least moderated his policies towards the Jews, but they didn’t because many were broadly sympathetic toward fascist ideology.

European Christians who grovel at the feet of the fascistic Palestinian movement are no different from the Churches who capitulated in the face of Nazism. Motivated by a latent hostility towards the Jews, today’s Church is reaching out to Palestinians and the Arab world in order to establish an anti-Israel consensus.

I also suspect that Christian leaders are fully aware that because of immigration and demographic changes, Islam could well be the dominant religion in Europe in fifty years’ time. As such, they are resigning themselves to self-imposed “dhimmitude.” Dhimmitude, according to political commentator Bat Ye’or, is the “submission of the Christian clergy” to “Islamic domination of both their lands and peoples” in return for a pledge of protection or dhimma. By siding with the Palestinians against Israel, they are safeguarding their own future.

Whatever the reason, it is clear that many Christians are inciting and aggravating anti-Jewish sentiment by lending their considerable support to a movement that seeks to eliminate Israel. At a time when Islamofascism is spreading across the Middle East and making inroads in Europe, it is distressing to see liberal Christians turning their backs on a democratic and progressive nation in favor of a dark and oppressive ideology like Palestinianism.

 

The Palestinianization of European political discourse

News that the European Union’s foreign policy representative, Catherine Ashton, joined an Arab olive harvest in the town of Ras Karkar, should be a cause for concern for all those who are worried about the EU’s inability to stay impartial in the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

The fact that Ras Karkar is in Area C, which is under Israeli military and administrative control, is something of a propaganda coup for the Palestinians, who claim Ms Ashton’s visit is proof that that “this territory is not contested as Israel claims” and will “help us move to full Palestinian sovereignty.”

Ms Ashton’s visit to the Middle East comes a week after she described Israeli construction activity in a Jerusalem neighborhood as threatening “to make a two-state solution impossible.” Moreover, she made no mention of the Palestinian refusal to resume direct negotiations with Israel without preconditions.

One of the most alarming experiences as a European is to see how our politicians continue to criticize Israel but not the Palestinians, whose national aspirations seem to be the most pressing issue in the corridors of EU power. In fact, you would be forgiven for thinking that the creation of a Palestinian state will inaugurate a period of world peace and utopian brotherhood.

It is ironic that the EU is so fixated on Palestinian nationalism at a time when Europe is undermining the sovereignty of individual nation states within its own borders. Indeed, Europe haughtily dismisses concepts such as a statehood and nationalism. So why is Palestinian statehood so important?

This obsession with the Palestinians requires an explanation. Ever since Israel’s astounding military victory in 1967, it is clear that the Jewish state does not require the benefaction of condescending Europeans. This means that Europe needs a “new Jew” to patronize  But instead of protecting its own Jewish remnant who had survived the horrors of the Shoah, the European elite latched on to the concept of Palestinian nationalism.

Why? Because Palestinian nationalism was – and still is – packaged as a revolutionary (albeit invented) ethnocentric liberation movement which challenges the hegemony of the US, which has long supported Israel. Moreover, the Palestinians managed to convince just about everyone that they are a landless and suffering people, whose plight is equal to that of the Jews in the 1930s and 1940s.

During the 1960s and 1970s, when the Palestinians used terrorism to advertise their message, some European politicians and activists must have thought that assisting the Palestinians was simply the right thing to do. Anyway, supporting the PLO at a time when it was widely considered to be a terrorist organization, was a good way of upsetting the Americans. At the same time, the Palestinian issue has enabled Europe to reconnect with its Jew-hating past by blurring the line between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism.

II

The fact that for the first time since the Nazis ruled Europe, Jews are being boycotted and sanctioned on a massive scale, is testament to the perverse success of the Palestinianization of Europe.

A growing number of European universities, trade unions and businesses have decided to boycott Israeli products and individual Israelis (usually academics), as well as Israeli orchestras and theatre groups. At state level, Denmark and Ireland are proposing the banning of Israeli goods. The European Parliament’s second biggest voting bloc, the Socialists and Democrats Group, also supports a boycott of Israeli settlement goods.

At street level, Jews are assaulted and their sacred spaces vandalized. Countries that pride themselves on their enlightened and liberal societies, such as Sweden, France, Britain and Norway, are all places where to be Jewish is to be at risk.

The rise in anti-Semitism in Europe has received little attention, partly because much of the abuse is carried out by Muslims who are sheltered by the liberal elite, who accuse critics of Islamophobia or racism. Muslims who attack diaspora Jews claim it is retribution on behalf of their “brothers” in Gaza and the “West Bank.” And the liberal elite agrees.

In the European media, Israel is disproportionately blamed for all the ills of the Middle East. It is amazing how many column inches are devoted to Israel/Palestine. Far too often, the Guardian newspaper gives a platform to radical Muslims who espouse hatred of Israel and Jews. And on so many occasions, media outlets across Europe print or broadcast anti-Israel stories that are based on manipulated images, staged events and unsubstantiated rumors, the most notable example being the massacre that never happened in Jenin.

What is also vexing is Europe’s economic support for projects in Gaza and the “West Bank.” Over the past two decades, the EU has committed around 5 billion euros in development aid to the Palestinians. The EU makes no secret of  the fact that it is deliberately helping the Palestinians prepare for statehood, which the EU says is being hampered by Israeli settlements. At the start of 2012, the EU contributed another 1.1 million euros to the PA’s so-called “Private Sector Reconstruction in Gaza” program, which provides financial support to businesses destroyed or damaged by “Operation Cast Lead”. Never mind the fact that Gaza has a has a five-star hotel and a luxury shopping mall, or that its real GDP grow by more than 25% in the first three quarters of 2011.

III

In contemporary European political discourse, the Palestinian issue is totemic. The European fixation with Gaza and the “West Bank” has propagated the outrageous but popular belief that Israel is the world’s worst human rights abuser since the Nazis. But casting Israel in this role is no different from accusing Jews of killing Christian children for their blood or blaming Jews for Germany’s military defeat in 1918. The level of abuse leveled at Israel today is just another manifestation of an age-old disease. And it is a disease which always makes Europe very sick.

Ms Ashton, who is also vice-president of the European Commission, would do well to turn her attention to finding a solution to domestic anti-Semitism, which is at its highest level in sixty years. Europe has no business funding Gaza or castigating Israel when it cannot even look after its own persecuted minority of Jews, some of whom are fleeing France and Sweden in order to find shelter in Israel. The fact that the Holocaust is still within living memory should send a shudder down the spine of Europe.

The one-sided criticism of Israel and the culture of hatred in Europe needs to be addressed before more Jews are attacked or synagogues firebombed by pro-Palestinian activists. For the sake of a healthy body politic, EU politicians must resist the urge to automatically side with the Palestinians and say “no” to anti-Semitism in all its forms. They should point out the duplicity of left-wing peace demonstrators who side with Hamas and Hezbollah, and highlight the hypocrisy of European anti-Zionists who send flotillas to Gaza but do nothing about Syria, which is currently falling apart.

This is not about being anti-Muslim (or even anti-Left) but about getting things into proportion and realizing that there are more important issues in the world than “Palestine.” Eradicating European anti-Semitism is, in my view, far more important. After all, Europe has a moral and historic duty to protect what remains of its Jewish communities.