Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Europe: 55% of Israelis see the EU as Israel’s "enemy"

Via The Jerusalem Post:
Last October, the EU Delegation to Israel published an unusual tender, worth €285,000, soliciting the assistance of local public relations companies in order to “change the negative image” of Europe in Israel.

The proposal cites an EU-commissioned survey which demonstrates the extent of Israeli public mistrust of Europe. According to the survey, 55% see the EU as Israel’s “enemy,” while only 18% identify it as a “friend.” According to the Israeli news outlet ICE, the results of the survey reaffirm negative perceptions toward EU member states on a number of fronts, including their funding to non-governmental organizations (NGOs), claims that the EU supports the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign directly or indirectly, and even accusations that it “supports terror entities indirectly.”

These attitudes, apparently held by many Israelis, did not emerge suddenly. The EU is completely out of sync with Israelis on the issues that strike the deepest emotional chords, and is seen as tone deaf, at best, in appreciating the Israeli perspective.

Even if the public learns about the EU’s investment in cutting-edge scientific research at Israeli universities, they will not soon forget about how Europe flirts with BDS with product labeling or treating the anti-Israel movement as merely free speech.

Israelis see that the EU engages selectively with a narrow ideological group of civil society, such as B’Tselem and Breaking the Silence. They hear the repeated condemnations of Israeli policy concerning Area C of the West Bank, as if this is the major issue on the EU’s agenda.

Then there is EU and European funding for organizations that delegitimize Israel, including those that have ties to groups which the EU itself designates as terrorist entities. Two months after the European tender proposal, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) announced it had uncovered a 50-person terrorist network operated in the West Bank by one of these groups, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). The statement named several leading PFLP figures, several who currently or previously worked for European-funded NGOs in financial roles.

Samer Arbid, suspected of having commanded a PFLP terrorist cell that murdered a 17-year old Israeli girl in August 2019, worked as the accountant of the PFLP-affiliated NGO Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC) at the time of his arrest. UAWC is funded directly and indirectly by the Netherlands, Germany, France, Belgium, Spain and Norway. Arbid previously worked as an accountant for the PFLP-tied NGO Addameer, funded by Norway, Ireland, Spain, Switzerland and the German Heinrich Böll Foundation. 
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