Thursday, December 21, 2017

Europe: Why is Europe always against Israel?

Via Israel Hayom (Prof. Eyal Zisser):
U.S. President Donald Trump's declaration of recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital has sparked, as expected, outrage among Palestinians and their allies. Less expected, or perhaps not, was Europe's indignation. It seems Trump's diplomatic storm has been far stronger on the European continent than in Arab countries. During their meeting this past weekend, European leaders even considered rejecting the U.S. president's declaration and expressing a divergent position, the implication being the negation of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

The European position toward Israel will always be influenced by the past, by those same entrenched views of Israel as the state of the Jewish people. In the 1930s, the slogan "Jews get out, go to Palestine" was prevalent across Europe. Today, "Jews get out of Palestine" is just as ubiquitous.

And yet, the question that remains is what brings Europe to repeatedly display unity and commitment to the Palestinian issue and stand on that side of the dividing line. As per the norm in Europe, it appears the answers to this question are not necessarily rooted in a dislike for Jews or special sympathy for the Palestinians but in cold, cynical interests.

(...) Europe, however, is first and foremost only interested in itself. It is a combination of economic interests – in the past it was oil but today it is commerce and investments with Arab and Muslim countries – alongside the fear of immigrants; those who already live there and have significant electoral clout, but also of radical Islam and terror and those who inspire it. The fear is also of potential immigrants still living in the Middle East, those who Europe wants to prevent from reaching its shores.

In another 30 years or so, in 2050, the Middle East's population will be 700 million, almost twice as much as 2010 when the Arab Spring erupted. (...)

Apparently, however, Europe is still cemented in the view that the Israeli-Arab conflict is the key to achieving stability in the Middle East, to easing social, economic, religious and ethnic tensions throughout the region; and that if only the Palestinians were appeased and peace is achieved to their satisfaction, terror would be defeated and radicalism eradicated. From this vantage point, in the eyes of the Europeans, Israel sabotages Europe's efforts to resolve the problems afflicting the Middle East, and thus its efforts to defend itself.

Many European politicians also realize the electoral benefits of catering to their Muslim constituency by being critical toward Israel. Indeed, for many Muslim immigrants in Europe – undergoing a crisis of identity – the conflict with Israel and the Jewish people is a way to find something in common with other Muslim immigrants; and it helps them forge a new identity to replace the one they left behind.

Europe's position toward Israel over the years, under left- and right-wing governments alike, has always been predictable. The considerations forming the bedrock of its policies, evidently, have not changed one bit.
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