Europe may be a shell of its former self. Immersed in the economic debacles of the euro zone and the collapse of socialist welfare states, the world’s formerly great powers lack military might, economic heft and diplomatic significance. Yet despite all their travails, they never miss the change to display their anti-Israeli wares.
The Wall Street Journal reports: “Israel reacted angrily Tuesday to an effort by the European Union to keep EU funds from flowing to Israeli organizations operating in the occupied territories, the latest bump in the sometimes-rocky relationship between Israel and Europe.”
The ex-TV star and now junior partner in Israel’s ruling coalition Yair Lapid, a center/left politician, blasted the decision, as did Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu:
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the EU should focus on the “more pressing” issues of Syria’s civil war and Iran’s nuclear program rather than Israeli settlement activity.
“We won’t accept any external dictates on our borders,” said Mr. Netanyahu at a special meeting of cabinet ministers to discuss the new guidelines. “That issue will be decided solely in negotiations.” . . . The EU already charges customs duties on Israeli imports that originate in the occupied territories that would otherwise enjoy free-trade exemptions.
At the same time, EU member states next week could fulfill a long-standing Israeli request to add the military wing of Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah to its terror list, as the U.S. did years ago.
The EU has long sought to play a role in Middle East peace talks and has recently been urging direct talks between the two sides.
This is an old story for the European Union — it strives for relevance but its anti-Israeli tendencies make it particularly unsuited to play any constructive role in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. EU-affiliated organizations back phony NGOs that operate in Israel for the purpose of delegitimizing the Jewish state. Government officials freely banter about anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic tropes.
We can chalk this situation up to the presence of growing Muslim populations in European countries and, one fears, the loss (or willful ignorance) of collective memories of the Holocaust. Since 1945, it has never been more popular or accepted in Europe to attack the Jewish state (utilizing a standard that applies to Israel alone). More than sixty-five years since the end of World War II and the slaughter of millions of European Jews, it is now all the rage among now-enfeebled European powers to exclude Israelis from cultural and intellectual gatherings.
If the United States made clear that such behavior is entirely unacceptable, some of the Israel bashing might stop. Whether at the United Nations or in direct conversations with our European “friends,” this should be a topic of conversation. It is evidently not, so we naturally see the anti-Israel fervor increase.