The European Union (EU) discriminating policies against Israel are not new. The EU court approved the labeling of products from Judea, Samaria, and Jerusalem. This labeling is reminiscent of the “Yellow Star of David” Jews were forced to wear in Nazi Germany and in Nazi occupied Europe. Israel considers the EU court decision to be unfair and discriminatory. It pointed out that other countries involved in land disputes are not similarly sanctioned. Now the EU has come up with a new discriminating formula in which to single out Israel. It is spelled by the EU as “housing demolitions” in the West Bank (Judea and Samaria for most Israelis).
According to Professor Hillel Frisch of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University, “Entering the phrase ‘housing demolition’ in the EU’s official website yields a shocking result: 18 of the first documents to appear concern Israeli demolitions of Palestinian homes in the West Bank. In other words, 80% of the EU reports on this worldwide phenomenon involve a population and an area less than one-tenth of 1% of the world’s population or landmass.”
Ironically, an EU report from 2005, acknowledge widespread discriminatory demolition and eviction within the EU against Gypsy, Roma, and Sinti populations in such countries as Ireland, Italy, Greece, and Portugal. Housing demolition as a punitive practice occurs throughout the world. India accuses Pakistan of the practice in Hindu areas in Pakistan’s Punjab region. Egypt evicted thousands of Bedouins in the Sinai to clear the way for housing projects for Egyptians from outside the Sinai Peninsula. In the U.S., likewise, evictions and demolition of homes occur for the purpose of urban renewal.
Israel has continued a practice that dates back to the British Mandate, when British authorities demolished homes of terrorists. Israel has continued the practice as a deterrent against would be terrorists. These terror practitioners know that it would cost their family their home. Moreover, Israel, in following the rule-of-law, has the right to demolish illegally built homes whether the occupants are Arab-Palestinians or Jews.
The EU funded what clearly amounted to efforts to thwart Israel’s plan to construct the E-1 project, which would provide residential continuity between Maaleh Adumim and Jerusalem. The illegal Ras Shahadah apartment project was meant to build hundreds of apartments in northern Jerusalem, without being approved by the Jerusalem municipality. Its aim was to create Arab-Palestinian residential continuity between northern and southern parts of the West Bank
Earlier this year, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, announced Israel’s intention to extend Israeli sovereignty to the Jewish communities in the Jordan Valley. The immediate reaction was that the governments of France, Ireland, and Luxembourg pressed the EU to adopt punitive measures against Israel. In Britain, 127 members of Parliament urged Prime Minister Boris Johnson to impose sanctions should Israel go ahead with its sovereignty declaration.
Richard Goldberg, in a piece for Foreign Policy Magazine (June 10, 2020) wrote: “That some European governments would threaten sanctions against Israel while refusing to impose sanctions on Iran and Hezbollah is disappointing. If they are serious, these European governments should be on notice: their companies will pay the price.” Most U.S. states prohibit sanctions against Israel. Back in February, 2020, the EU foreign policy Chief Josep Borrell, tried to convince the 27 European foreign ministers who are member of the Union’s Foreign Affairs Council, to issue a damning resolution critical of the Trump administration Peace Plan, and warning against Israel’s intention to “annex” major parts of the West Bank. The resolution required unanimity, but Austria, Italy, Hungary and the Czech Republic, along with two other unnamed member-states, voted against it. Borrell issued a later statement warning that Israel’s annexation would violate international law.
For the Europeans, the inventors and practitioners of racist antisemitism, Israel is the collective Jew. Jews in Europe have been the historical and permanent scapegoats for millenniums. Modern Europe’s hatred toward nationalism and religion (G-d and Christianity have been abandoned in the EU’s domain), in contrast with Israel’s proud nationalism, is an anathema to the EU. In its effort to deny Jews the right to their historical homeland centered in Judea and Samaria, the EU and its individual member-states have funded directly or through Non-Governmental Agencies (NGO’s) various anti-Israel, Palestinian-Arab organizations, as well as Israeli anti-Israel Defense Forces (IDF), and anti- ‘Occupation’ groups.
According to NGO-Monitor, “the EU’s European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) is designated for promoting human rights and democracy through civil society in non-EU countries. In 2014, civil society in Israel received €3,754,133 from EIDHR, and adding NGOs in the West Bank and Gaza €5,630,323 – the majority of which are related to the conflict. In contrast, Ukraine – a deeply flawed democracy with a population roughly five times the size of Israel’s, and at the time (2014), a war zone affected by severe human rights violations – received just €3,400,575.” Most of the recipients of the EU funding engaged in undermining the Jewish state rather than promoting democracy and human rights in the Palestinian territories.
Many NGOs that enjoy European financial support promote political agendas that are contrary to European official government policies, such as anti-Israel BDS (boycotts, divestment, and sanctions), lawfare campaigns, activities that oppose a two-state framework, and other aspects of the Durban Strategy. These heavily funded groups exploit the rhetoric of human rights and are consistently relied on by decision-makers for input, on the basis of which agendas and policies are formulated.
The shameless Durban (South Africa) conference held in September, 2001, sponsored by the UN World Conference on Racism, singled out Israel in the ugliest possible way. The then U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell denounced the conference as “Hateful.” The U.S. and Israeli delegations walked out of the conference in protest, but the EU delegations did not. The atmosphere and the rhetoric in the NGO forum (there were three forums: an official diplomatic forum, a Youth forum, and the large NGO forum) featured extreme antisemitic vitriol. Israel was accused of perpetrating a “Holocaust” on the Palestinian people, and Israeli soldiers were called “Nazis.” Antisemitic cartoons were distributed to the 7,000 attendees. The final declaration charged Israel with “perpetrating racist crimes against humanity,” including ethnic cleansing, and acts of genocide. It called for Isolation of Israel as an “apartheid state,” imposing sanctions and embargoes, and cutting off all nations diplomatic links with the Jewish state.
The fact that the Europeans honored this racist and antisemitic conference by staying and not demonstratively leaving with Israel and the U.S. in the face of Israeli Jews being called Nazis, and accused of perpetrating a “genocide,” and a “Holocaust,” is most telling about the Europeans. Considering that Europeans such as Frenchman Count Arthur de Gobineau, German Friedrich Nietzsche, and England’s Stewart Chamberlain, were the race theorists that prepared the way for Hitler and Nazi Germany’s real Holocaust, that murdered a third of world Jewry, is instructive in understanding European attitudes toward Jews and Israel.
The Europeans, and especially the colonial and imperialist states like France, Britain, Belgium, and the Netherlands, are clamoring against Israel’s “occupation.” The EU is eager to establish a Palestinian state in spite of clear knowledge that it will be another failed state like Iraq, Lebanon, and Syria, where human rights, democracy, and the rule-of-law are non-existent. Nonetheless, demonizing Israel for “housing demolition” is an inherited instinct to scapegoat the Jew – or the Jewish state, in this case.