Why the European Union Treats Israel With Scorn
By Joseph Puder
Israel is the forward outpost of western civilization, or what we consider as the West. On its borders, Israel is directly facing the brunt of the anti-Western forces, namely Islamic fanaticism and intolerance, undemocratic authoritarianism, chaos, illiteracy, and economic backwardness. And yet, it is democratic Israel, with its western values of religious freedom, civil and human rights, technological inventiveness, a vibrant culture, and a successful economy that is being scorned by the Europeans and increasingly by the Obama administration.
The reason for this scorn can be traced to the aftermath of World War II. As the Western European nations calculated the damage rabid nationalism inflicted on the Continent, they decided that the cause was the divisiveness inherent in the nation-state structure in Europe. According to their reasoning, the separate entities, based on ethnic identifications, religious particularism, capitalism and colonial competition, led to conflict and war. As the European elites see it, the nation-state concept had outlived its usefulness, and what they deemed as necessary for peace and progress was a more comprehensive and universalist structure, namely the Common Market, which has evolved into the European Union.
For Jews however, WWII and the Holocaust, in which six million Jews were murdered by Europeans simply because they were Jews, led to a different conclusion. Lacking a national home to protect them from the ravages of anti-Semitism, Jews felt impotent and vulnerable. They needed their own state in order to live in safety and to pursue their own destiny. Israel, thus, became a state, not merely by a 1947 UNSC vote on the partition of Palestine, but by the sacrifices made by its sons and daughters in the battlefields of Palestine. With the passage of time and especially in recent decades, European elites (and to some extent the English speaking Western states of the U.S. Canada, Australian, New Zealand, and Britain) have become more dedicated to the notion that the nation-state had to be replaced by a more universalist structure (The EU and the U.N.). Israel, to those elites, has become an anachronism, if not an affront.
Public opinion surveys in Europe point out that the Jewish state is despised, and it is considered, according to the EU survey as reported by the Guardian newspaper (November 3, 2003), as a threat to peace. The European Commission poll claimed that “60% of Europeans see Israel as the greatest threat to world peace.” 7,500 people in 15 European Union countries said that Israel was a bigger threat to world peace than Iran, North Korea and the U.S.
Responding to the survey, Nathan Sharansky, the then Minister for Diaspora Affairs stated, “The fact that the majority of Europeans sees Israel as the main danger is additional proof that behind the ‘political’ criticism of Israel stands pure anti-Semitism. The EU, which shows sensitivity on human rights issues, would do well to stop the rampant brainwashing against and demonizing of Israel before Europe deteriorates again to dark sections of its past.”
The European Union elitists’ knack for employing moral relativism in addition to its cherished adoption of multi-culturalism is at the core of its scorn for Israel. The Continent that expounded racist theories is now committed to the belief that all humanity is the same. That also explains why Jewish particularism so disturbs the Europeans. Israelis, at least a majority of them, celebrate their differentness and choose to follow their own heritage rather than the putative universal culture the West has adopted. It is why, in the EU states, churches are being replaced by mosques, and it gives credence to the claim that Europe will be Muslim in a few decades.
The Telegraph reported (on August 8, 2009) under the headline “Muslim Europe: The Demographic Time Bomb Transforming our Continent” that “Britain and the rest of the European Union are ignoring a demographic time bomb: a recent rush into the EU by migrants, including millions of Muslims, will change the continent beyond recognition over the next two decades, and almost no policy makers are talking about it…the numbers are startling. Only 3.2% of Spain’s population was foreign-born in 1998. In 2007 it was 13.4%. Europe’s Muslim population has more than doubled in the past 30 years and will have doubled again by 2015… In Brussels, the top baby boy’s name recently was Mohamed… Europe’s low white birth rate, coupled with faster multiplying migrants, will change fundamentally what we take to mean by European culture and society.”
Israel’s success at holding off their hate-filled Arab-Muslim hordes militarily and its economic success in contrast with the EU’s economic trouble, added an additional dimension to the disdain Europeans feel toward Israel. The multi-cultural experiment in such EU states as Belgium, Norway, and Sweden, to name a few, has been a dismal failure. Crime rates have skyrocketed where almost none existed a generation ago. Sweden, for instance has “The highest rape rate in Europe” author Naomi Wolf said on the BBC Newsnight program recently.
Europe and the EU states long infatuation with dead-end social and philosophical fads have become costly. Unfettered socialism has already bankrupted some EU states. Communism chained Eastern and central Europeans and deprived them of freedom. In time, there is hope that the people of Europe will recognize that a universal type structure is no substitute for a national culture and the nation-state. Israel represents the argument that the nation-state is not a fad, but rather an ancient and still compelling vision of humanity, albeit, at the moment, Israel is scorned and abused by its Western “friends” for not conforming to the EU’s double-faced version of human rights and pretentious future of humanity.
The Wall Street Journal article by Gerald Steinberg (May 6, 2008) suggested that “some of the recent friction results from hidden EU funding for anti-Israel civil society organizations. While supposedly promoting peace and coexistence, these groups often preach division and confrontation.” Steinberg added, “The EU was also one of the funders of the infamous NGO Forum of the 2001 Durban conference. Designed to fight racism, it turned into one of the most despicable displays of modern anti-Semitism. The Forum accused Israel of ethnic cleansing and genocide, and called for a policy of complete and total isolation of Israel as an apartheid state ‘through boycotts, divestment and sanctions.”
The vote by key EU states to upgrade the Palestinian Authority status on November 29, 2012, was indicative of the EU’s hostility toward Israel, using Palestinian human rights and political status as an excuse. The inherent contradiction in the EU position is obvious. While seeking to supersede the nation-state in Europe (and despising an ethnic Jewish state) the EU is advocating an Arab-Palestinian nation-state.
The EU political, economic, and demographic decline is contrasted by a flourishing Jewish state. The multicultural and supranational union known as the EU is a failure. On the other hand, the ingathering of the exiles in the Jewish homeland produced a rich and uniquely Israeli culture that only a nation-state can provide. Israel is a success story despite the scorn with which the EU treats it.