Europe: Hands off!

European Union officials. Fix your own problems, leave Israel alone!

European Union officials. Fix your own problems, leave Israel alone!

The European Union, as well as EU countries independently, provide millions of dollars annually to finance left-wing Israeli non-governmental organizations (NGOs) which could not survive on what they would get from the small number of Israelis that support them.

These organizations use their resources to try to influence Israeli policies, laws, actions and even elections. They sponsor anti-government demonstrations, protests against the security fence, etc. In addition, they present highly distorted ‘data’ to the UN and to the media outside of Israel. For example, the majority of the material cited by the Goldstone Commission to support its false and libelous conclusion that Israel deliberately targeted Arab civilians in Gaza came from these NGOs.

They have also participated in ‘lawfare’, instigating prosecutions in foreign countries of Israeli officials for ‘war crimes’ which did not occur, supported boycott-divestment-sanctions, encouraged anti-Zionist activities among Arab citizens of Israel, etc.

These groups are in the forefront of the effort to delegitimize the Jewish state from without and destabilize it from within, and there is an ongoing debate in Israel’s Knesset about how to control, or at least expose, their foreign funding. An excellent summary of the issue is provided by NGO Monitor here.

No nation likes it when others interfere in its internal affairs, and the massive scale of intervention in the case of Israel is remarkable. But recently an internal EU document has come to light which calls for an even greater attack on Israeli sovereignty:

The European Union should consider Israel’s treatment of its Arab population a “core issue, not second tier to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” according to a classified working paper produced by European embassies in Israel, parts of which were obtained by Haaretz.

This is an unprecedented document in that it deals with internal Israeli issues. According to European diplomats and senior Foreign Ministry officials, it was written and sent to EU headquarters in Brussels behind the back of the Israeli government.

Other issues the document deals with include the lack of progress in the peace process, the continued occupation of the territories, Israel’s definition of itself as Jewish and democratic, and the influence of the Israeli Arab population.

The original document also included suggestions for action the EU should take, but these were removed from the final version at the insistence of several countries.

Among these were the suggestion that the EU file an official protest every time a bill discriminating against Arabs passes a second reading in the Knesset, and that the EU ensure that all Arab towns have completed urban plans, “with each member state potentially ‘adopting’ a municipality to this end.”

There is no internal issue more pressing for Israel than the relationship between the Jewish population and the 20% of Israeli citizens who are Arabs. Simplistic understandings of the admittedly difficult relationship as one of a powerful majority discriminating against a minority ignore the increasing perception of many Arabs that they are ‘Palestinians’, not Israelis (and the idea that ‘they are all disloyal’ is also simplistic and wrong).

Regardless of the details, the last thing that Israel needs is for the sanctimonious, hostile and (to a great extent) stupid European Parliament to stick its nose into the relationships between Jews and Arabs in Israel.

Ironies abound here: the document was said to have been initiated by Britain, which did such a good job with Arabs and Jews during the Mandate! And the Europeans apparently fancy themselves experts on the question of integration of ethnic and religious minorities because they are doing it so successfully in their own countries!

But that’s not all:

VATICAN CITY (AFP) — Peace negotiations in the Middle East must tackle the issue of the status of the holy sites, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, head of the Vatican’s Council for Interreligious Dialogue, said Friday.

“There will not be peace if the question of the holy sites is not adequately resolved,” the Holy See’s former foreign minister said in response to a question on Jerusalem and the Israel-Palestinian problem at a Rome conference…

The Vatican says the answer is to have the global community regulate the sites — and it favours handing the task to a “large group” of states, rather than placing it in the hands of the United Nations Security Council or Europe.

There is really no ‘question of the holy sites’ that needs to be resolved. Israel, since 1967, has been guaranteeing access to all three major faiths to their sites for the first time in history. The problem is that Islamic radicals do not accept anything other than total Muslim sovereignty over the area, as shown by the recent fury over Israel’s actions to in closing a decrepit wooden bridge outside of the Temple Mount for repairs.

The fact that Muslims, and apparently some Christians, simply can’t bear the idea that these sites are in Jewish hands is not a legitimate reason to take actions that would almost certainly end in one or more religious groups being denied access.

So Israel is considered not capable of running its own politics, not capable of managing the relationship between its ethnic groups, and not capable of protecting the holy sites in Jerusalem. One would think that both the European Union and the Church ought to devote their energy to solving their own problems, some relatively serious, rather than Israel’s.

But unfortunately it seems that much of the world, while accepting without question the legitimacy and sovereignty of some rather tenuous ‘states’  (an extreme example being the recognition by many countries of ‘Palestine’) still does not think — after 63 years in which Israel has accomplished far more in science, medicine, literature, music, art, industry, standard of living and, yes, democracy than almost all of them — that Israel has a right to exist unmolested.

The message to them from Jerusalem should be simple:

Hands off.

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2 Responses to “Europe: Hands off!”

  1. Shalom Freedman says:

    One way of being distracted from one’s own problems is by attempting to solve someone else’s. One way of having something to do when one has nothing to do is by interfering in someone else’s problems. Whatever the general explanation for this kind of interfering, discriminatory and as indicated in the article ‘stupid’ European Union behavior it nonetheless does disturb and trouble. These are supposed to be the ‘enlightened democracies’ and yet repeatedly they violate their own principles and side with Israel’s enemies.

  2. juvanya says:

    Shalom, this oped goes into that exact concept: