Typical of the European Union (EU) practice, condemning Israel takes precedence over major developments elsewhere, including Iran’s dangerous testing of ballistic missiles that can carry nuclear warheads. The latest episode eliciting EU condemnation was Israel’s “regularization law.” Israel’s satellite TV, I-24 reported on February 7, 2017 that, “The European Union condemns the recent adoption of the ‘regularization law,’ foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said, arguing it crosses a new dangerous threshold by legalizing under Israeli law the seizure of Palestinian property rights.”
What is at the core of the EU nastiness toward Israel is not so much the legality or illegality of the Knesset’s “regularization law,” but rather the unique nationalism of the Jewish state that runs counter to the post-nationalism and globalism of the EU.
Israel’s Supreme Court may strike out the new law, and the Israeli government Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit may not even defend the law before the Supreme Court. Still, it would hardly be illegal for Israel to incorporate the area and extend its civil law there, while at the same time compensating legitimate Palestinian landowners with a proper deed. In fact, the Israeli government already declared that it would over-compensate legitimate Palestinian deed-holders.
The question that begs an explanation is what is the reason for the EU’s hostility toward Israel – a fellow liberal democracy? Why is the resentment against a nation that is a successful experiment in an historical national revival contrasted by the surrounding failed Arab states and the Palestinian Authority? Latent and traditional anti-Semitism could be a partial answer. The moratorium on Holocaust remembrance and its lessons have been over for a while now, and the Europeans, including many Germans, are eager to shed their guilt, and are doing it by portraying the Jewish state as a “Nazi-like aggressor” against the “poor Palestinian victims.” Germans and other Europeans who looked the other way as Six Million Jews were slaughtered, are now finding redemption in the bogus and malicious (anti-Semitic) comparison of Israel with Nazi-Germany. In the process, they are ignoring Palestinian terrorism and its uncompromising struggle to destroy the Jewish state.
The fact that Jews can now defend themselves, and have done it successfully in Israel, against all odds, roils the Europeans. The globalist elites of Europe do “cherish” the “murdered Jews of the Holocaust” but resent the living Jews of Israel. The EU supports many of the NGO’s who fund the BDS movement against Israel. The EU has now legislated labeling on Israeli products made in Judea and Samaria, albeit, in many cases made by Palestinian workers. Does it occur to the self-righteous Europeans that their labels conform to the old “Yellow star” the Nazis imposed on Jews?
The EU has had numerous issues with Israeli policies including the “regularization law.” Israel’s vocal opposition to the Iran nuclear deal, when PM Netanyahu courted public and legislative support, was also resented by the EU, as were the alleged insufficient Israeli concessions to the Palestinians. Beyond it all however, are the “indestructible Jews” who refuse to go away after millenniums of efforts to convert Jews through the Spanish Inquisition, pogroms in Eastern and Western Europe, and finally the Holocaust…a strong Jewish state is a conundrum for the European elites. The EU globalists and post-nationalists see Israel’s demand to be recognized as the “State of the Jews” as anachronistic.
Two World Wars that devastated Europe killed its nationalistic streak. It exposed the destructive nature of European nationalism, and gave way to a more unified Europe, one that has lost pride in its religious, cultural and political achievements. Instead, the EU worships multiculturalism and globalism. France and Germany, bitter enemies in the two World Wars, became the initiators of the Common Market that ultimately led to the European Union. Slowly but surely Brussels bureaucrats wrested more and more power from the member states, and the EU, in the 21st Century, became as much a political union as it was an economic union.
Israel’s nationalism was different. Following the Holocaust, forging a nation out of scattered Jewish refugees from Europe and the Middle East required vigilance and determination, as well as a strong emphasis on security, especially given the violent neighborhood surrounding Israel, and its hostile enemies.
Zionism, the ideology that sought to realize the concept of a Jewish national self-determination, was rooted in Jewish values and history. It aimed at carving out a place under the sun where Jews can live safely, in the historical homeland they yearned for in 2000 years of exile and persecution. Israel’s nationalism, unlike the European kind, has been and is existential in nature. The Holocaust proved it. Israel’s nationalism seeks to encourage the immense potential of the Jewish people to benefit humanity as a whole and serve as a ‘Light unto the Nations.’ Since the 1960’s, it has served as such in Africa, Asia and Latin America, providing aid and solace to countries in need, sharing its scientific and medical expertise with poor nations in particular.
The EU globalists have no regard for Jewish historical, religious, and spiritual connection to Jerusalem or Judea and Samaria – the cradle of Jewish civilization. That is why France and her fellow EU partners including Spain voted for UN Security Council Resolution 2334, which considered the Jewish Quarter in Jerusalem and the “Wailing Wall” as “occupied Palestinian territory.” Germany’s Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, a staunch supporter of the nuclear deal with Iran, condemned Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria. He tweeted that “Israeli settlements in occupied territories jeopardize possibility of peace process.” Belgium Foreign Minister and Deputy PM Didier Reynders, welcomed the resolution stating that “Belgium fully shares the position of the international community expressed in the resolution.” He added, “The settlement policy of the territories occupied by Israel is ‘illegal,’ and its continuation jeopardizes the possibility of a two-state solution.”
Excoriating Israel’s settlement policy is another way for Germans and Belgians to appease their growing Muslim immigrant population. It is also part of the EU’s policy of multiculturalism and globalism, which is increasingly being rejected by the European populace. Throughout Europe, the rift between globalism and nationalism is growing. Donald Trump’s victory in the U.S., and Brexit in Britain, boosted the nationalist parties throughout Europe. France’s National Front led by Marine Le Pen, is now a serious contender to the French presidency. In Austria, Norbert Hofer’s Freedom Party won the first round of the presidential election. Netherlands Geert Wilders, Party for Freedom has surged to the top of the Dutch opinion polls.
While Israel maintains its proud and distinct nationalism, it is also a very successful partner in the global economy. Ironically, despite tariffs and sanctions imposed by the EU to punish Israel, the Jewish state has been forced to innovate into the future, and has become a stronger economy as a result. The EU, seeking to undermine Israel’s nationalism and attachment to its historical homeland, is promoting Palestinian nationalism at Israel’s expense.
Nationalism may not be the leading trend in the future, but for now, Brexit and Trump have shown that globalism, open borders, and the erosion of the national character in Europe is being rejected by native Europeans. This may finally bring about a closer affinity between European nations and the Jewish state.