web analytics
August 5, 2015 / 20 Av, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

Israel-EU Tension: the View from Europe


Catherine Ashton, high representative for foreign affairs and security policy of the European Union, meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at Netanyahu's office in Jerusalem On October 24.

Catherine Ashton, high representative for foreign affairs and security policy of the European Union, meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at Netanyahu's office in Jerusalem On October 24.
Photo Credit: Moshe Milner/GPO / FLASH90

This month some of Israel’s strongest friends in Europe – Britain, France and Germany – summoned their ambassadors to protest the Jewish state’s construction decisions.

As a result, then-Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said European governments are willing to abandon Israel in a similar fashion to the way they gave up Czechoslovakia to the Nazis before World War II.

Gabriel Goldberg, director of youth services for the Umbrella Organizations of the Jewish Communities of the North-Rhine Region in Germany, disagrees with Lieberman’s actual comparison, but said that “The frustration that lies behind his statement is absolutely understandable.”

At the European Union, officials seem to have had a singular focus of late – and it isn’t their continent’s ongoing economic crisis.

The EU’s 27 foreign ministers first condemned Israel’s plans construction plans in the E1 area between Jerusalem and Maale Adumim. More recently, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton called construction plans in the southern Jerusalem neighborhood of Givat Hamatos and the Orthodox northern Jerusalem neighborhood of Ramat Shlomo “extremely troubling.”

Britain, France, Germany and Portugal – the EU’s four UN Security Council members – asked the Israeli government to rescind its recent construction approvals.

EU criticism of Israel hasn’t been limited to building. On its website, the EU insisted that Israel process its tax transfer to the Palestinians because of “contractual obligations.”

But as many Israelis and supporters of Israel have pointed out, 14 of 27 EU countries, by voting in favor of “Palestine” as a nonmember observer state at the UN, effectively approved the Palestinians’ violation of their contractual obligation under the Oslo Accords to reach a final status agreement with Israel only through direct negotiations.

Not all has been sour in recent Israel-EU relations. In October, when the EU bolstered its economic sanctions against Iran, Lieberman – the same man who made the Holocaust analogy – sent a letter to Ashton thanking her for the EU’s “resolute and important step, worthy of significant appreciation, especially as it has been taken in a difficult economic period [for Europe].”

On Dec. 22, those strengthened sanctions officially became EU law.

Yet the EU has defied calls from both the U.S. and Israel to officially designate Hizbullah as a terrorist organization, and has drawn criticism from Israel for underemphasizing Hamas’s calls for the Jewish state’s destruction (a condemnation of Hamas was clause No. 9 of 10 points published by the EU within its succession of condemnations of Israel for E1 construction on Dec. 10).

What do European Jews think of the EU’s heavy focus on Israel? What are the reasons behind that focus, and what are its implications for Israel’s relationships with European nations?

Germany

Gabriel Goldberg, the 34-year-old son of Soviet dissidents who moved to Israel, said that among many in German society, “the common sense is that Israel is the aggressive entity in the world.” He added that it’s “in style to have an opinion about the Middle East conflict without any facts.”

One reason for this, according to Goldberg, involves a projection of German guilt over the Holocaust onto Israeli Jews. Many Germans mistakenly believe that the Israeli Jews are “doing no better than what the Nazis have done” with the Palestinians, Goldberg said.

Stephan J. Kramer, secretary general of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, does not believe that either the EU or Germany is anti-Israel. “We know that Chancellor Angela Merkel has a very positive attitude toward the State of Israel, although she has disagreements with [prime minister] Netanyahu,” he told JNS.org in an e-mail.

Kramer, however, is concerned with the danger of European appeasement of the Palestinians. Many EU members “favored or refrained from opposing the Palestinians’ [UN] upgrade because they wanted to convey the message of supporting the general idea of Palestinian statehood,” according to Kramer. Germany abstained from the vote.

Still, Kramer would not go as far as Avigdor Lieberman’s Holocaust analogy when it comes to current relations between Israel and Europe, writing “I would draw too many parallels between 1938 and 2012.”

He said that Israel today has Germany as an ally and that Israel also has one of the strongest armies in the world.

“The Czechoslovakian government of 1938 would have loved to be in such a situation,” Kramer wrote.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Israel-EU Tension: the View from Europe”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
The Quran
Dawa* at Chautauqua
Latest Indepth Stories
The Quran

Islamists spoke of “Love and Justice in a World of Suffering,” skipping the horrors caused by Islam

President  Barack Obama.

How and when is it appropriate for pulpit rabbis to comment publicly on the Iran issue?

David Menachem Gordon

David was many things: Brother, son, grandson, nephew, uncle, cousin, talmid, comrade, AND a WARRIOR

Graffiti at Duma home that was torched in Samara.

Some Israelis seem to have forgotten no one has yet tracked down the murderers of Ali Bawabsheh.

Aside from my own 485-page tome on the subject, Red Army, I think Jamie Glazov did an excellent job at framing things in United in Hate: The Left’s Romance with Tyranny and Terror.

“Isn’t it enough that the whole world hates us? WHy do we have to hate each other?”

Who said Kerry won no concessions from Iran? He secured pistachios and Beluga caviar for America!

In 2015, Israel’s fertility rate (3+ births per woman) is higher than all Arab countries except 3

The New Israel Fund, as usual, condemns the State of Israel rather than condemning a horrible act.

I sought a Muslim group that claims to preach a peaceful and accepting posture of Islam, Ahmadiyya

While Orthodox men are encouraged to achieve and celebrated for it, Orthodox women too often are not

Jonathan remember, as long as you’re denied your right to come home to Israel you’re still in prison

Reports of a dead baby, a devastated family, and indications of a gloating attacker.

“The fear of being exposed publicly is the only thing that will stop people,” observed Seewald.

“Yesha” and Binyamin Regional Council leaders said the attack “is not the path of Jews in Judea and Samaria.”

The occasion? The rarely performed mitzvah of pidyon peter chamor: Redemption of a firstborn donkey.

More Articles from Jacob Kamaras Alina Dain Sharon and Sean Savage
Catherine Ashton, high representative for foreign affairs and security policy of the European Union, meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at Netanyahu's office in Jerusalem On October 24.

This month some of Israel’s strongest friends in Europe – Britain, France and Germany – summoned their ambassadors to protest the Jewish state’s construction decisions.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/israel-eu-tension-the-view-from-europe/2012/12/26/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: