Netanyahu can bash the EU all he wants. At the end of the day, the future and security of Israel depends on its political and economic ties with the EU, not vice versa.
By Eitay Mack (translated from Hebrew by Ofer Neiman)
Last Wednesday, the media leaked a recording of a private conversation between Netanyahu and the heads of state of Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary. In that conversation, Israel’s prime minister portrayed the European Union as a madman who puts its own future and security at risk. According to Netanyahu, the EU’s madness stems from its refusal to keep silent on the occupation of Palestinian territories, leaving him to wonder how the EU has not realized what politicians in India, China and Africa have already realized: security exports from Israel supersede anything else, and therefore one must refrain from intervening in Israel’s internal affairs.
The leak was likely an accident, but the timing of the conversation was not. Netanyahu smells the EU’s blood, as the latter is preoccupied with stopping the populist right-wing surge across the continent, as well as dealing with identity and economic crises, Brexit, refugees and immigration. While Trump flanks the EU from the West, Netanyahu has decided to do the same from the East, along with heads of state in Eastern Europe, who are also in the midst of a democratic crisis. Since the Trump administration has made it clear it is not be interested in human rights, the only thing keeping Netanyahu from the Promised Land are those pesky folks in Brussels.
Ending the masquerade
Netanyahu’s attempt to rein in the EU is not new. While Israeli governments have always tried to get by during votes in international forums by enlisting the support of democratic Western countries (support that Israel labels “the moral majority”), in reality the State of Israel has for decades been relying on the support of non-democratic states who receive arms in return for favorable votes. These regimes include the military juntas in Latin America and the apartheid regime in South Africa in the 1970s and 1980s. With the end of the Cold War and the signing of the Oslo Accords in the early 1990s, Israel renewed diplomatic relations with many states, after they were severed following the 1967 and 1973 wars. Many states no longer feared voting in favor of Israel, and the Israeli method of selling arms in return for votes at international forums had expanded to new parts of Asia and...Read More