Why is Europe always against Israel?

By Eyal Zisser, ISRAEL HAYOM

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.

These various interests, for example, were also the basis for Europe’s alienation of the Kurds and their demand for self-determination. In retrospect, it is an issue where conscience and compassion, as well as an obligation to morality and national rights, for which Europe is prideful, could have manifested.

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. Many will seek a path to Europe in light of the regional chaos: failed states, societies and economies, and the struggle to secure minimal earnings and dignity.

The Europeans want to restore stability to the Middle East. This means the return of tyrannical regimes across the region, which the Europeans believe will block the stream of immigration and also make it easier to cope with Islamic terror.

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.

Eyal Zisser is a lecturer in the Department of Middle East History at Tel Aviv University

December 19, 2017 | 9 Comments »

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9 Comments / 9 Comments

  1. @ Michael S:
    George Soros collaborated with Nazis and Noam Chomsky collaborated with Neo-Nazis. I’m glad you mentioned Chomsky. It’s not Alinksky but Chomsky who is the main academic villain here in turning even liberals into Israelophobes by creating a false equivalence between South African Apartheid and Zionism. The only books anti-Zionist Leftists of my generation have ever quoted are his. They used to fill the front of every bookstore* back in the day.

    *Definition of bookstore
    : a place of business where books are the main item offered for sale — called also bookshop

  2. @ Michael S:

    Talking about “Jews go back to Palestine”…When I was a growing up in Dublin, and walking to or back from school, the dirty schkotzim, would throw stones at me/us, and shout..”Ya dirty Jewman go back to Jerusalem”… I was a very aggressive kid and took up boxing and paid them back with big interest. Legally……being a sport and as a bonus, I enjoyed it.

  3. @ dreuveni:
    Yes, Reuveni, other readers have some additional ideas.

    “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.”

    So, the Europeans today want the Jews to move in the opposite direction, namely, OUT of Palestine; whereas in the 1930s they wanted them to go INTO Palestine. These Jew-detractors cannot be the same people, motivated by the same things; so this can hardly be considered to be the “same” antisemitism as that in the 1930s.

    What’s more, the term “antisemitism” was appropriate in the 1930s, since Europeans were not any more eager to have Arabs living among them as they were Jews. Now, however, the cry from European leaders (the same leaders who continually attack the Jewish State) is:

    “Muslims INTO Europe!” (presumably, including Arabs)

    It’s not easy to say, why the Europeans are mad against Israel and the Jews. How much harder is it, then, to explain why Israel’s greatest detractors are actually JEWS, like Noam Chomsky and George Soros?

    I have a simpler explanation, that covers the Europeans, the Jews and the Muslims:

    “They’ve all gone mad”

    Shalom shalom 🙂

  4. The Europeans are always against Israel because, summarizing all positions already stated, it is the easiest way to handle things. There are no consequences for being against Israel. Charges of Antisemitism hurt only for those with conscience. Politician in Europe are raised without conscience. Therefore they can trade with Israel against the Arab opposition, again, because it is easier than depriving themselves of the benefits that accrue to them. In the same way, because democracy and voting is a “messy” process, they prefer the overarching EU framework where the politicians can work unimpeded by the conflicting demands of their populations.

  5. It’s very obvious why Europe is always against us. By demonizing us and painting us as the boogeyman who is subjugating and occupying a poor downtrodden people with such cruel and evil methods, for all intents and purposes the new Nazis, they hope to assuage their own guilt for taking part in the total decimation of Europe’s Jews. One needn’t be a genius psychologist to see the blatently clear agenda that drives these unchanged anti-Semites that imbibe their Jew-hatred from their mother’s teats. We all know that so-called anti-Zionism is simply anti-Semitism lathered in politically correct nonsense. The Europeans (amongst others) prove it on a daily, if not hourly basis.
    F Europe.

    Did I mention….F Europe.

  6. There are a couple of reasons why Europe stays adherent to the TSS.

    The first is the Arab oil blackmail which has been going on since at least 1973 if not before.

    The second is latent antisemitism which always rears its head when needed.

    The third is even more simple-minded – it’s fun to make the claim and then lean back and watch the sparks fly. They can intentionally make David into Goliath just for fun.

    Other readers may have some additional ideas…

  7. @ Roslyn Pine:
    By giving a pass to traditional Jew hatred by Europeans the author in effect is siding with these despicable antisemites. What economic benefits accrued to Spain, England and other countries when they saw fit to expel their most productive citizens? Antisemites always have an excuse for their behavior.

  8. All the issues you mention have some bearing, but the real reason is simple. Anti semitism. I’ve come to the inescapable conclusion that Europe’s hostility to the only Jewish country is a continuation of the same hostility to individual Jews which led to the Holocaust. It’s simply a war against the Jews under new pretexts.
    What were the”cold, cynical interests” of the pre war Europeans which fuelled their anti Jewish hatred? None of the reasons you give now applied then, but the narrative of hatred was the same.
    Today’s anti semitism by state actors is deliberately camouflaged, given Europe’s past, but you are deluding yourself and others by positing the ‘reasons’ you present in your article.
    It’s the same leitmotif as it always was!