web analytics
September 23, 2014 / 28 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘European Union’

EU Backs Off Condemning Settlements before Kerry Visits Israel

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has succeeded in convincing the European Union to back off from passing another critical resolution of a Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria, an indication that the international community is losing its patience with the Palestinian Authority.

The Foreign Ministers were expected to adopt a critical resolution on Israeli settlement policy following their monthly meeting in Luxembourg on Monday, according to the European Jewish Press.

Instead, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton told a press conference that ministers had simply “reaffirmed our commitment to the two-state solution.”

Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Romania reportedly called for the more moderate statement while Denmark and other critics of Israel lost their initiative for a sharper condemnation.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas are trying to put the other in the role of “bad boy” if U.S. Secretary of State John Kelly does not succeed in arranging for direct talks when he visits Israel later this week.

Open Skies Ahead for Israel

Monday, June 10th, 2013

Minister of Transportation Yisrael Katz signed an Open Skies agreement with the EU on Monday in Luxembourg. The agreement which is to be gradually implemented over the next 5 years, until it goes fully into effect in 2018, should lower prices significantly on flights between Israel and Europe.

Open Skies will allow EU and Israeli airlines to operate direct flights to each others airports, and not be restricted to specific routes or airports.

When first introduced, the plan was very controversial in Israel, as El Al needs to expend a large sum of money on security that European airlines don’t need to, and that would have made it impossible for El Al to compete.

The Israeli government decided to shoulder almost the entire cost of El Al’s security expenses, which should allow the Israeli airline to be competitive.

Europeans Bring Back ‘Kauf Nicht bei Juden!’

Thursday, June 6th, 2013

Benjamin Weinthal writes (subscription):

The left-liberal German Green party finally forced the hand of the conservative Merkel administration to explicitly declare—what before had been an open secret—its support for product labels covering export goods from the occupied territories in the West Bank and Golan Heights.

Germany’s Green Party unleashed a firestorm of criticism in May over its parliamentary initiative to label Israeli exports to Europe and the Federal Republic. Critics in Germany and the United Kingdom argued that the Green Party push was an eerie reminder of the Hitler movement’s “Kauf nicht bei Juden!” [Do not buy from Jews!] boycott action and a modernized form of the yellow star.

Dr. Emily Haber, a state secretary in the German Foreign Ministry, conveyed the new position of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government in a letter to the Green Party: “The label ‘Made in Israel’ is, according to the opinion of the federal government, only allowed for products from within the borders of Israeli state territory before 1967.”

The measure is an unashamedly provocative anti-Israel move by the largely pro-Israel Merkel administration. It will blur the lines between an all-encompassing boycott of Israeli merchandise and demarcation of settlement products. In short, the pro-Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement will push the punitive label action down the slippery slope of blocking access to all Israeli goods.

canned-food1

Apparently, a decision about how to label products made beyond the Green Line hasn’t been made yet. The yellow star is probably not in the running, but it should be. It is impossible any longer to hide the ugly hate-based double standard applied to the world’s only Jewish state by the international Left, of which Greens are representative:

In 1983, the Green Party put out a “Green Calendar” with the headline “Israel, the gang of murderers” and called for a “boycott of goods from Israel.” In an article last month in the German daily Die Welt entitled ‘The long tradition of Green Anti-Zionism,” the Green Party’s history of blaming Israel for the Middle East’s problems was highlighted. A year after the notorious “Green Calendar” was published, Green party politicians launched a fact-finding mission in the Middle East with visits to Jordan, Israel, Syria, Lebanon, and the occupied West Bank. The delegation prepared a final document ahead of the trip declaring Israel “totally responsible for the emerging blood bath in the Middle East, when Israel does not decisively change its policies.”

A mere seven years later, a leading Green deputy, Hans-Christian Ströbele, who still serves in the Bundestag, justified the later Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein’s rocket attacks on the Jewish state during the First Gulf War in 1991 as a “logical, almost compelling consequence of Israel’s politics.”

Another telling example of the Greens’ disparate treatment toward Israel is that they have shown no comprehensive and systematic effort to push Germany’s government to similarly label products from Turkish occupied North Cyprus. In fact, the E.U. has showed no appetite for product labeling from territorial conflicts spanning the globe: Gibraltar, the Falklands, Western Sahara, Tibet, Kashmir, the Russian-held regions of Georgia, Armenian-held regions of Azerbaijan, North Cyprus, and Kosovo. Israeli products remain the notable exception subject to EU consumer protection.

The EU continues to hide its official Jew-hatred behind logically indefensible statements that the presence of Jews in Judea and Samaria is illegal, but its double standard betrays its true motivation.

Visit Fresno Zionism

Bulgaria: Hezbollah Did Not Blow Up the Airport Bus

Thursday, June 6th, 2013

Bulgaria has officially backed down on Wednesday from the charges it made only a few months ago, that the deadly Burgas airport bombing of a bus carrying Israeli tourists, July 18, 2012, was done by agents of Hezbollah. Five Israelis and one Bulgarian national were killed in the blast.

And in the process of dropping the ball, the Bulgarians have left a brave, conservative British government to its own devices, in the midst of their drive to get the EU to blacklist the Shi’ite terrorists.

On February 5, 2013, the Bulgarian interior minister said, referring to two suspects in the attack, that a “reasonable assumption, I repeat a reasonable assumption, can be made that the two of them were members of the militant wing of Hezbollah.”

They had Canadian and Australian passports and they lived in Lebanon. According to the Europol, DNA evidence left on SIM cards helped investigators to conclude that Hezbollah was indeed behind the bus bomb attack in Burgas.

What happened? A new government happened.

After months of a political impasse, on May 28 Bulgaria was endowed with a new, Socialist-led government, which won a parliamentary vote of confidence, even though it relies on a minority coalition in parliament. This means that the new government of the European Union’s poorest country will be helpless to steer the economy in new directions, or at all, and to attract investment.

The Socialist party in Bulgaria is, really, the leftover bosses from the old Communist regime but with better PR. The former governing party, Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria, was more pro-American. The country’s stalement—still unresolved—has lasted since the February vote.

The minority government received 119 votes in favor and 98 against. It is backed by the Socialists and their ethnic Turkish MRF allies, and it is led by Plamen Oresharski, 53, a non-partisan former finance minister.

“The evidence is not categorical” that Hezbollah planned the attack, said Bulgaria’s brand new foreign minister, Kristian Vigenin, said on Wednesday in an interview with Bulgarian National Radio.

He said it while a European Commission is debating whether to designate Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, even as the Hezbollah is sending expedition forces into Syria, in support of the embattled President Bashar al-Assad.

France and Germany have joined Britain in calling for Hezbollah’s ouster from the civilized world. Britain formally submitted the Bulgarians’ own evidence of Hezbollah’s involvement in the airport bombing, coupled with the March conviction of a Hezbollah agent operating in Cyprus of plotting another attack there.

Back in February, correspondent Borzou Daragahi, working for the London-based Middle East and North Africa, apologized for suggesting that Israel bribed Bulgaria to framed Hezbollah. “Sincere apologies and regret for ill-conceived tweet yesterday about Israel and Bulgaria,” Daragahi tweeted.

The previous day, Daragahi had tweeted, “I don’t doubt Hezbollah/Iran could be behind Bulgaria bombing, but also think Israel could pay Sofia to say anything.”

Michael Freund wrote in The Jewish Press last February:

E.U. foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, whose pitiful response to the Bulgarian probe was to counsel “reflection.

“We have to reflect on the consequences,” she told a press conference this past Tuesday, “we have to consult and come back.”

Ashton could not bring herself to even mouth the word “Hizbollah,” let alone utter a condemnation for its wanton brutality.

This reporter is known for mixing his private views and speculations with his news reporting, but for once I don’t see a need to speculate wildly. There appears to be a struggle within the EU over one of the vilest organizations in the world, an ally and a partner of two repressive, murderous regimes – and just last night, the supporters of that vile organization inside the EU managed to move the goal posts several yards on the decent folks who were trying to ostracize it.

Germany in Lockstep with EU on Labeling ‘Settlement’ Imports

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

The deputy prime minister and foreign affairs minister of the Republic of Ireland Eamon Gilmore declared in early May that goods from “Israeli settlements in the West Bank” should be treated as illegal. The Labor Party politician declared that Ireland would strongly support a European Union initiative to label exports from Israeli producers in the Palestinian state to give consumers the choice of whether they want to buy them. He said this was “in effect” like boycotting the goods.

Now, according to Israel’s Army Radio, Germany, too, has thrown its support in favor of the labeling plan. An official German government document states that “products should be labeled ‘Made in Israel’ only if they are manufactured within the 1967 borders.”

Deputy Foreign Minister Ze’ev Elkin, who’s the de facto foreign minister until MK Avigdor Liberman is done with his court case, told the Army radio: “We will fight. We will deal with this phenomenon,” reminding listeners that “at one time, the UN decided that Zionism is racism — but we didn’t say that that was a lost cause.”

This might mean that Elkin already knows it’s a done deal, and that everything coming out of Judea and Samaria will be receiving the seal of condemnation.

Goods produced in Judea and Samaria are not eligible for the same preferential tariffs enjoyed by Israeli exports to the EU. According to 2012 World Bank figures, the EU imports $300 million worth of goods a year from Israeli settlements, roughly 15 times more than from the Palestinians. But that’s where things become interesting:

It turns out the goods coming out of Jewish settlements, provide wages to local Arabs, who earn more working for the “damnable” Jews than they could average working for an Arab business.

The Israel-based corporation SodaStream, which produces a home beverage carbonation system, has 13 production facilities worldwide, three of which are located in Israel and the dreaded “West Bank,” employing 1,100 people as of 2012.

SodaStream’s principal manufacturing facility is located in Mishor Adumim – the industrial area of the Judea town of Maale Adumim. This factory employs some 900 Arabs, half of whom live in the Palestinian Authority, from Jericho to Ramallah, the other half are residents of annexed East Jerusalem.

So that, when the EU, in its attempt to help the Arabs living in the PA, is making it tougher for SodaStream products to sell in Europe – who suffers? That’s right, the Arabs living in the PA.

Why Doesn’t the EU Condemn PA Torture?

Sunday, May 26th, 2013

Originally published at the Gatestone Institute.

The E.U. has refrained from condemning the Palestinian Authority or Hamas in wake of a report that pointed to an increase in human rights violations in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

This is the same E.U. that regularly condemns Israel for building in the settlements or seizing funds belonging to the Palestinian Authority.

More recently, the E.U. condemned Israel for demolishing 22 Palestinian structures in the West Bank and Jerusalem.

But when it comes to human rights violations committed by Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, the E.U. is prepared to do its utmost to avoid angering the two Palestinian governments.

In response to the report, which was released by the Palestinian Independent Commission For Human Rights, the E.U. missions in Jerusalem and Ramallah, in an apologetic tone, only expressed “concern” over recurrent cases of torture and ill treatment of detainees in Palestinian prisons.

And instead of criticizing or condemning Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for human rights violations perpetrated by his security forces, the E.U. missions chose to “welcome” his instruction to respect the prohibition of torture in his detention centers and prisons.

It is worth noting that the E.U. and some Abbas loyalists, including Fatah propagandists and media outlets, were the only ones to “welcome” his decision to ban torture.

So not only is Abbas not condemned for the death of two detainees in his prisons and the crackdown on freedoms of speech and the media, he is in fact being praised by the E.U. for ordering his security and intelligence officers to stop torturing Palestinians.

One would have expected the E.U. to take a tougher stance toward the Palestinian Authority and Hamas human rights violations, as indicated by the report.

But the E.U. missions to Ramallah and Jerusalem are apparently reluctant to take such a position because of their direct and indirect involvement in funding and supporting the Palestinian Authority and various Palestinian institutions in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The E.U. also seems to be afraid of criticizing the Palestinian Authority and Hamas out of concern for the safety of its representatives, especially those who operate in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

As the human rights group’s report shows, there has been a 10% increase in the number of complaints of torture and mistreatment by Hamas and the Palestinian Authority during 2012 compared with the year before.

More than half of the 306 complaints about torture that were received last year came from Palestinians who had been detained or imprisoned by Abbas’s security forces in the West Bank, the report revealed.

Altogether, 11 detainees died in Palestinian Authority and Hamas prisons last year, according to the report.

Still, the E.U. did not see any need to refer to these cases. Nor did the E.U. comment on the report’s accusations that Abbas’s security forces are continuing to crack down on journalists and academics and ignore court rulings.

Expressing “concern” over serious human rights violations will not deter the Palestinian Authority or Hamas from pursuing their anti-democratic practices against their own people.

Praising Abbas for instructing his security forces to stop torturing Palestinian detainees is like welcoming a convicted armed robber’s promise to retire.

Originally published at the Gatestone Institute.

The European Revolt Against the EU

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

“This wave of protest certainly is not short-term – it is lasting,” Nigel Farage, the leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) said last Thursday, after his party became the third largest party in the British local elections. UKIP is a party that wants to take Britain out of the European Union.

All over Europe, the popularity of the E.U., the supranational organization of 27 European nations, is plummeting. A recent poll conducted by Eurobarometer, the E.U.’s polling organization, in the six major E.U. countries, found that public confidence in the E.U. has fallen to the lowest level ever. Since May 2007, distrust of the E.U. in Poland rose from 18 to 42 percent, in Italy from 28 to 53 percent, in France from 41 to 56 percent, in Germany from 36 to 59 percent, in Britain from 49 to 69 percent, and in Spain from 23 to 72 percent.

The E.U.’s aim is to transform Europe into a single federal state. One of the ways of achieving this aim is unification of economic and monetary policies. So far, 17 of the 27 E.U.-member states have joined the so-called Eurozone by adopting the Euro as their common currency. The project has backfired. The Euro has exacerbated the economic crisis. The one-size-fits-all currency has become the one-size-fits-none currency.

When the Euro was introduced in 2002, Europe’s leaders said it would bring economic growth and prosperity. They even promised full employment by 2010. Europe’s misery is largely self-inflicted. The Euro prevents countries from overcoming their economic problems by devaluing their currency and adapting their wage and price levels. Countries in financial difficulties have to rely on solidarity payments from countries in better shape. As the Euro is dragging everyone down, however, the countries in the North are becoming ever more reluctant to transfer their tax money to the South.

For the past three years, the E.U.’s rich countries have been bailing out the poorer ones, while in return all the Eurozone member states were forced to adopt austerity policies and transfer national sovereignty over their budgets to the unelected, irremovable E.U. bureaucracy in Brussels. The popular appeal of political parties opposing the austerity policies and/or the transfer of national sovereignty is growing everywhere, from Beppe Grillo’s Five Star Movement in Italy, to UKIP in Britain, to Geert Wilders’s Party for Freedom (PVV) in the Netherlands, to Marine Le Pen’s Front National in France. Britain is not even part of the Eurozone, but UKIP wants to take it out of the E.U. altogether. The PVV wants to take the Netherlands out of the Eurozone and out of the E.U., as well. Like UKIP, it wants to join the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), a small and modest organization, limiting its ambition simply to establishing a free trade zone, to which so far only four non-E.U.-nations – Switzerland, Lichtenstein, Norway and Iceland – belong.

In Germany, a new party, Alternative for Germany (AfD), is expected to make it through the 5 percent electoral threshold in the next general elections on September 22nd. AfD, formally launched by a group of economics professors last Month, wants to take Germany out of the Eurozone. The party, which is conservative, may, however, draw voters away from Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition and tip the balance in favor of the Social-Democrats and their Green partners. Merkel’s coalition is currently leading at 44 percent in the polls, against 41% for the leftist alliance.

While most of the anti-E.U. parties – AfD, UKIP, PVV – tend to be pro-American, their position towards American interests will be shaped by the position Washington takes on the E.U. centralization policies and the Euro. The current U.S. administration, recognizing a centrally-controlled supranational political project when it sees one, supports the E.U. project. Last January, Philip Gordon, Obama’s Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs, told the British government that it should stay in the E.U. The administration also said it wants the E.U. to let Turkey become a member.

The European people are rebelling against the unelected E.U. and its grandiose, self-regarding project of abolishing the national sovereignty of the various European countries and turning the whole of Europe into a super-Belgium – an artificial state encompassing several nations with separate languages and distinct cultures and traditions.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/the-european-revolt-against-the-eu/2013/05/07/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: