Skip to comments.Why Europe Hates Israel
Posted on 11/29/2001 3:56:50 PM PST by dennisw
Commentary November 29, 2001
Why Europe Hates Israel
By Bret Stephens, an editorial page writer for The Wall Street Journal Europe.
BRUSSELS -- Yesterday, a Belgian court heard arguments from
lawyers representing 23 Palestinians, survivors of the 1982 Sabra and
Chatilla massacres near Beirut, that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel
Sharon should be prosecuted in Belgium for crimes against humanity.
Though Mr. Sharon almost certainly will never sit in a Belgian jail,
the trial could hardly be freighted with more significance.
More than a half-century after the Holocaust, a Europe awakened to
the importance of human rights is looking to sanction the leader of
the world's only Jewish state for a crime that was actually committed
by a Christian Lebanese militiaman, later employed by the Syrian
regime of Hafez Assad. And yet blame for the massacres seems to be
apportioned to Mr. Sharon alone. Why?
The short answer is the Belgian legal system, whose well-meaning
laws lend themselves to this sort of opportunistic and sensational
indictment. A slightly longer answer is that many Europeans are
sincerely convinced that Mr. Sharon really is a war criminal, as a
BBC documentary attempted to show last summer.
But the real answer is that
European governments today are,
by and large, tacit enemies of the
state of Israel, much as they
might protest that they merely
take a more "evenhanded"
approach to the Arab-Israeli
Consider a few recent examples.
In April, France voted to censure
Israel at the U.N. Human Rights
Commission in Geneva -- while
abstaining from a vote of censure against China. During his
diplomatic foray to Tehran in September, British Foreign Secretary
Jack Straw offered that "one of the factors which helps breed
terrorism is the anger which many people in this region feel at events
over the years in Palestine." The European Union has so far refused
to follow America's lead by freezing the assets of terrorist groups such
as Hezbollah and Hamas, with the European Commission's external
relations spokesman, Gunnar Wiegand, arguing that "Hezbollah could
play a major role in regional stability."
That Europe today should be hostile to Israel may seem a bit of a
mystery, not least given the usual sympathy of aims between
democratic states. The explanation comes in several parts. First, as
historian Howard Sacher points out, Europe's left sees in Israel's
political evolution a betrayal of its utopian ideals. It's easy to forget
that in the years following the establishment of Israel, many
Europeans looked to it as a model socialist country. They admired its
largely state-run economy and especially its collectivist kibbutzim.
Hundreds of young European leftists, most of them non-Jews, flocked
to these farms in the 1960s, looking for the kind of workers' paradise
they could not find on the other side of the Berlin Wall.
This fondness, however, evaporated after the 1967 war, when Israel
went from being the Middle East's underdog to its Goliath, holding a
colonial-like mandate over the lands that came into its possession.
Partly under the sway of Soviet propaganda, partly in keeping with
the fashion of radical chic, European leftists abruptly transferred their
allegiances to the Palestinians and the PLO, which in the 1970s drew
the likes of current German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer to their
meetings. Meanwhile, successive Israeli governments veered to the
right. "The era when Yitzhak Rabin or Golda Meir could address their
European counterparts as 'comrades' at gatherings of the Socialist
International had passed," says Mr. Sacher.
There was also a shift of attitudes on the European right. With the
exception of Britain, whose notoriously Arabist Foreign Office has
dominated its Mideast policy under both Conservative and Labour
governments, much of the Continental right had at one time looked
on admiringly at "plucky little Israel." Thus, beginning in 1952, the
conservative German government of Konrad Adenauer provided Israel
with critical financial support in the form of Holocaust reparations,
while Charles de Gaulle's France helped to build its nuclear reactor at
But it was also de Gaulle who, in 1967, slapped an arms embargo on
Israel for firing the first shot in the Six Day War. Thereafter, the
hostility increased, partly because France fancied itself a champion of
its former Arab colonies, partly out of simple anti-Americanism. But
the chief reason, of course, was Europe's dependence on Arab oil. As
French President Georges Pompidou put it to Henry Kissinger during
the 1973 OPEC oil embargo, "You only rely on the Arabs for about a
tenth of your consumption. We are entirely dependent on them."
Since then, Europe's reliance on Mideastern oil has abated, but the
habit of reflexively seeking to appease the Arabs at Israel's expense
has not. In 1974, French Foreign Minister Michel Jobert toured the
Middle East, seeking to earn price concessions on oil for France by
mouthing a hard anti-Israel line. In 1980, the European Community
formally recognized the PLO despite the fact that Yasser Arafat had
neither made peace with Israel nor dropped his overt sponsorship of
terrorism. Currently, the EU supplies the Palestinian Authority with
the bulk of its foreign aid, even as much of that money goes
indirectly to funding textbooks describing Jews as monkeys and
Given all this, many Jews have been led to conclude that what's at
work here is a thinly veiled form of anti-Semitism. But while there
might be some truth to this, it's easily exaggerated. Mr. Straw, of
German-Jewish descent, is clearly no anti-Semite, and the one bright
spot of Jacques Chirac's presidency has been his efforts to
acknowledge the sins of France's suppressed Vichy past.
Underlying European policy is an uneasy sense of guilt. In the
immediate postwar period, Europe's guilty conscience worked in
Israel's favor. But in the postcolonial spirit of the '60s, the balance of
guilt switched to the Arab side: It was they who were being oppressed;
and it was Europe that, with its previous support for Israel, had
helped inflict the oppression. So Europe pressures Israel to withdraw
from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, heedless of the dire security
consequences that such withdrawal would entail. That Israel has so far
refused to accede to this pressure stands as an infuriating rebuke to
modern Europe's fundamental conception of itself as the virtuous
defeated, free to pass judgment while absolved of the moral
responsibilities of wielding actual power.
Whatever the case, a foreign policy based on a combination of
left-wing disillusionment, French opportunism and all-around
cravenness cannot yield good results. With the U.S. State Department
increasingly leaning toward the European line on Israel, it's well that
the basis of that policy be properly understood.
Not to deny your overall point -- which I both understand and agree with -- but I must say that neither Britain nor Germany (formerly Prussia) can ever be said to have surrendured prior to being attacked. And I cannot even imagine it in their national nature to ever do so, any more than I can imagine it in Israel's nature to do so.
I may have many issues with the political positions taken vis-a-vis Israel by both of these nations at various times, however, I can never apply to them the cowardly behavior that has often been the policy of nations such as France or Italy.
The reality is much simpler: Israel is percieved as FReedom-loving America's "Baby."
And America is the real target of the quite palpable European hatred whose spill washes over Israel.
Europeans hate everything that stands for anything.
And especially they hate that for them, it's over and for US -- and those who, like the brave and wonderful people of Israel, who follow US -- it has barely even begun!!
And yet not long ago their religion was their one redeming characteristic -- and gave them Character.
And now, in London for example, several times more moslems attend mosque on a weekly basis, than Anglicans attend Church of England services.
God save them!
And me God save US -- and Israel -- from them!
I know in America it is considered a game to shout look at me I am such a victim everyone hates me well boo f*****g hoo.
And before you try ant Jew Hating crap with me, I volunteered some of my time to a mate to help train members of the JDL in unarmed Combat to help protect them against the local Nazis.
I guess stones and glass houses mean nothing to you.
Cheers my friends Tony
Come on facts to back yup this bollox, in a nation of around 60 million less than a million are Muslim.
Shaking his head in amazement, one day we night get a decent debate going instead of a mud and wild accusation throwing competition.
LOL What total bollox, I thought from past experience you had a bit of common, but you are as bad as a lot of the others hear a load of gossiping mincing sheep bleating and bahing at the latest noise.
Look out the sky is falling.
Cheers and a cheerful guffaw Tony
BINGO! "Give that man the cupie doll."
Those that hate God, hate Israel. It's that simple.
Pardon my French but that is complete and utter bollox.
Funny isnt it there are European soldiers including a few of my old buddies and lads who I trained are out there at the moment.
I bet they will be tickled pink when they come back well those who do and I tell them of all the American REMFS did there bit by slagging them of.
I hear GOD hates fat people which means what percent of the American population.
This fondness, however, evaporated after the 1967 war, when Israel went from being the Middle East's underdog to its Goliath,
shows that it happened earlier.
And the most absurd thing is that because they want to put Sharon on trial, it means that Europeans are antisemits, Israel haters etc?!? I sense a very similar logic with Milosevic, where some desperately wanted to equate Milosevic with Serbia itself, so that by taking Milosevic to trial Serbia was supposed to be put on trial as a whole. Well, thats pure BS.
It's about INDIVIDUALS, not entire nations, and to all those saying that Europeans hate Israel and Jews because of this, you need to get a grip. I surely don't hate Jews, my grandfather shared their fate in Dachau in WW2, but that doesn't mean I am going to defend someone with blood on his hands because of his ethnicity, relgion, background, or because of what happened to his people in WW2. It's not as simple as that. You cannot get some carto bianco, and do whatever you wish because you'r a Jew, or a European, or an American, or a Palestinian. You have to take responsibility for your actions, no matter where you come from.
There I hope I was clear enough. :)
Notice they did not mention that Yasser Arafat has also been indicted and Fidel Castro.
What happens in war happens, war is brutal and counter insurgency wars can be amongst the most brutal.
What I cant stand, what really sticks in my throat is this holier than thou cr*p you get from some on this site, that and the hypocrisy.
Its alright for them to hate as much as possible, they hate like little spoilt teenagers all passion and emotion, and like little spoilt teenagers they scream and throw hissey fits if anyone dares even look at them in the wrong way.
Being English I get the BBC everyday give me an example of its anti Israeli stance.
dennisw said it so well yesterday..something like "its the European's fault that they drove us out to Palestine where we have to deal with the psycho Palestinians."
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