Europe is the epicenter of the political war against Israel. Europe fights Israel on the streets of Europe. Europe fights Israel in the corridors of power in Brussels, other Western European capitals and the UN. Europe fights Israel in Israel itself.
Europe’s war against Israel is a passive-aggressive campaign fought and denied simultaneously. But in recent years, the mask has fallen over and over again.
In the days that have passed since US President Donald Trump’s dramatic announcement that the US recognizes that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital and is beginning to take concrete steps to move its embassy to the city, Europe’s war against Israel has again become impossible to deny or ignore. Europe’s response to Trump’s announcement has been extreme, violent and more outspoken than the response of the Arab world.
The EU-funded Palestinian Authority reacted to Trump’s move by exhorting its subjects to riot and attack Israelis.
Sunday, Yassin Abu el-Qura heeded his call. Qura stabbed Asher Elmalich in the heart and critically wounded him. Elmalich was a security guard at Jerusalem’s central bus station.
According to Channel 2, Qura is a member of a prominent family of Fatah members with close ties to the PA and its EU- and US-funded and trained security forces. His father is the commander of one of the security forces in Salfit, in Samaria. Two of his brothers are also PA security officers.
Around the same time Qura was stabbing Elmalich, the British government announced it was providing the PA with 20 million pounds in supplemental budgetary funding.
Qura’s attack was notable because it took place against the backdrop of lackluster attendance at PA-organized protests. As former US Middle East mediator Aaron David Miller tweeted on Sunday, the low attendance at these demonstrations, like the low attendance at anti-US and anti-Israel demonstrations in the Arab world is an “indication of how much the region has changed [in recent years] and the loss of centrality of [the] Palestinian issue. [The] Palestinian street is exhausted; the Arab street has disappeared.”
But while the Arab street was indifferent to Trump’s declaration, the European street went berserk. Thousands of protesters assembled in London and Paris, in Berlin and Stockholm. They burned Israeli flags and called for the annihilation of Israel and the murder of Jews.
Physical attacks on Jews have been an integral component of the anti-Trump riots in Europe. Saturday night a group of 20 rioters firebombed a synagogue in Gothenburg, Sweden where Jewish children were holding a party. Friday a man clad in a keffiyeh attacked a Jewish restaurant in Amsterdam with a club while screaming Allahu Akbar.
European officials have refused to call these attacks hate crimes. As they see it, attacks against Jews in the name of hatred for Israel are totally justified.
For instance, as The Jerusalem Post’s Benjamin Weinthal reported in January, a German regional court found that perpetrators of a 2014 firebombing of a synagogue in Wuppertal had not committed a hate crime. Instead, the court ruled the Arab German perpetrators firebombed the synagogue as a result of their legitimate concern over Israel’s military operations against Hamas terrorists in Operation Protective Edge.
They all received suspended jail terms.
And whereas the Europeans refuse to condemn antisemitic attacks launched in the name of rejection of Israel, they rapidly condemned Trump for accepting Israel’s right to its capital city. Everyone who is everyone, including EU High Commissioner on Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini, French President Emmanuel Macron, British Prime Minister Theresa May and German Chancellor Angela Merkel slammed Trump for recognizing reality. They insisted he “endangered” prospects for peace and threatened to throw the region into “even darker times.”
Then there are the anti-Israel campaigns that the EU and its member states wage against Israel in Israel. In the aftermath of Trump’s declaration on Jerusalem last Wednesday, Israeli Arabs carried out violent riots in Wadi Ara, forcing the closure of sections of Highway 65 which connects Tiberias with central Israel. An Israeli girl was hospitalized after being wounded by rocks thrown at the passenger bus she was traveling in on Saturday night. A photographer for Yediot Aharonot was attacked and his motorcycle was smashed while he tried to report on the riots.
The EU has invested tens of millions of dollars radicalizing the Israeli Arab community in recent years. Organizations including Adalah, Baldana, Massowa, Zohrot and the Negev Coexistence Forum have indoctrinated, urged and paid Israeli Arabs to abandon their Israeli identity, view themselves as Palestinians and reject Israel’s right to exist.
Survey data shows that a large and growing majority of Israeli Arabs wish to integrate into the wider Israeli society. And yet, with effectively unlimited funding from European governments, radical, irredentist forces inside the Israeli Arab community have managed to intimidate their opponents into silence and incite their members to reject Israel.
This then brings us to the EU’s role in subverting Israeli politics more generally. For the past several months, leftist political strategist and self-styled anti-corruption dragon slayer Eldad Yaniv has been leading a political campaign to demand that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu be indicted.
Yaniv’s campaign has involved weekly demonstrations against Netanyahu which are widely covered by the media.
Netanyahu’s supporters have repeatedly pointed to chants and placards at those demonstrations spending less time calling for Netanyahu to be indicted than they spend calling for him to be overthrown. That is, Netanyahu’s supporters allege Yaniv is manipulating the public by using unproved allegations of corruption to diminish public support for the government in the service of the radical Left.
Last Saturday’s demonstration in Tel Aviv bore out those allegations. Prominently displayed was a giant, brightly illuminated sign that read “BDS.” Radical demonstrators called for Israel to be destroyed and vowed never to defend “Zionism.”
According to an investigative report on the demonstration published Monday in Israel Hayom, among the demonstrations’ major financial backers and organizers are One Voice, a US-registered NGO that receives financial support from the EU, the British Muslim Organization and Labour Friends of Palestine. Other groups similarly receive money from EU governments and government-funded NGOs. In other words, according to the report, the EU is funding Israeli groups that are working openly to overthrow the democratically elected government of Israel.
On Sunday and Monday Netanyahu visited Paris and Brussels to confront Europe’s leaders and challenge their hostility toward Israel. He told his European hosts that their opposition to Trump’s recognition of reality in respect to Jerusalem was indefensible. Far from harming the cause of peace, Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital advanced it. After all, there is no way a sustainable peace can be based on rejection of reality, he argued.
As the lukewarm responses Netanyahu received from the likes of Mogherini and Macron made clear, the Europeans behind the war against Israel have no intention of permitting reality to get in their way.
They aren’t waging their political war geared toward delegitimizing Israel internationally, even at the expense of their local Jewish communities, and subverting Israel’s government domestically to advance peace. They are doing it because they think their interests are served by waging war against Israel.
Ahead of Netanyahu’s trip to Europe and US Vice President Mike Pence’s visit to Israel later this week, the PA announced its leaders would boycott Pence in retaliation for Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem. The Palestinian notion – supported by their Israeli far Left supporters – is that the EU should replace the US as the mediator.
During his meeting Sunday with Netanyahu, Macron rejected those suggestions. And that makes sense. Because even if he wanted to supplant the Americans, there is no chance he would succeed. Israel will never permit the Europeans to mediate anything. Their war against Israel internationally and inside of Israel itself has achieved one clear result. The Europeans have convinced Israelis not to trust them, not to admire them, and not to consider them friends.