Ignore the EU on annexation

WHILE THEIR foreign office huffs and puffs, EU member states are less decided as to how they’ll respond to an Israeli annexation bid.

European Union flags fly outside the European Commission headquarters in Brussels (photo credit: YVES HERMAN/REUTERS)
European Union flags fly outside the European Commission headquarters in Brussels
(photo credit: YVES HERMAN/REUTERS)
With the release of the Trump peace plan early this year, Israeli communities in the ancient Jewish heartland seemed poised to be absorbed into the modern Jewish state.
While Trump is easily the most pro-Israel president in American history, surrounded by the most pro-Israel personnel ever to work for the executive, his plan is not a policy panacea for Israel, since it seeks to create a Palestinian state, which, as we’ve seen in the small Gaza enclave, presents a menacing danger to Israelis.
Still, the ability to extend sovereignty over parts of Judea and Samaria gives Israel an opportunity to lay claim to its holiest ancestral lands and solidify its borders. Annexation, even in partial form, prevents Jews from being evicted from their homes and rules out a porous Jordanian-Palestinian boundary, forever.
Naturally, many Israelis are in favor – including both ends of the country’s rotating premiership, Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz, two rivals come together to make the move for sovereignty.
Right on cue, the European Union has erupted volcano-like, spewing threats and hot ash against Israel lest even limited annexation occur.
For more than a month, the EU has been leading a “diplomatic push” to stop Israel, for which EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell claims to have enlisted “all diplomatic capacities.”
Heading into a meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council this past May, Borrell declared Israel’s annexation plans “the most important item on the agenda.”
Imagine that. There is a global pandemic that has killed hundreds of thousands of people the world over. But the EU’s foremost issue is tiny Israel and preventing its annexation plans.
Throughout this “diplomatic push,” Assad’s genocidal war still rages on in Syria, with Russia’s support. Turkey, an EU-member hopeful, beyond hunting Kurds in Idlib, has launched airstrikes in Iraq and supported insurgencies in Libya and Yemen. China threatens India, as North Korea escalates tensions with the South. Iran, significantly, blocked the IAEA from inspecting its nuclear sites. All of this is nestled amid the spread of the coronavirus that has laid waste to world economies and spread so much fear and catastrophe. And yet the EU marches on with its unceasing obsession with Israel.
In a sanctimonious speech given last week, the EU foreign minister offered one especially questionable rationale. Borrell claimed the EU opposes annexation in part because it would “negatively affect... Potentially, the security of Israel, which is something nonnegotiable for us.”
Well, golly gee. What do you know! Europe, the great protector of the Jews!
For millennia, Europe has served as a giant cemetery for Jewry, the continent being the literal birthing ground of antisemitism. Following the Holocaust, classic antisemitism died down. But, European anti-Jewishness has been reborn in its diplomatic bias against Israel. The EU has spent much of the last few decades defending (or suspiciously releasing) terrorists while heaping blame and shame upon Israel.
In 1973, as Israel faced destruction at the hands of three invading armies, not one European country – save Gibraltar – would allow Nixon’s urgent military airlift to so much as refuel on its soil, even as the arms to be delivered were deemed vital to Israel’s survival.
While economic cooperation with Israel has surged, politically speaking, things haven’t much improved since. In the media as in the UN, whether through sharp condemnations or boycotts of Jewish-owned business in Jerusalem, too many leading European diplomats have made Israel-bashing their policy of choice.
Recently, Israel’s mistrust has been reinforced by the EU’s rise as the Western world’s foremost apologist for Iran. The Jewish community, globally, is losing trust in Brussels’s resolve to protect Jews living within the EU.
Thus, it’s inherently insulting, if not entirely laughable, that the EU would even dare tell a country that actually protects Jews how exactly it should do it. Worse, though, is Europe’s insistence that it meddles in matters of Israel’s security for Israel’s security’s sake.
Suspiciously, it’s only on the topic of annexation that Borrell suddenly finds Israel’s security “nonnegotiable.” On the topic of an Iranian nuclear bomb, Israel’s security becomes negotiable to the extreme.
Over the first few months of 2020, Iran upped weapons-grade uranium production while continuing to threaten Israel – a move Borrell was more than willing to discuss.
After receiving Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Brussels in January, Borrell personally visited Tehran in February to meet President Hassan Rouhani and parliament president Ali Larijani. Of course, Israel’s security couldn’t have mattered that much to Borrell, since he refused to so much as stop over in Israel to hear its security concerns. Instead, he visited Jordan to help it thwart the “other threat” to Israel’s security – the sovereignty movement.
In the months since, he’s proven himself arguably the most powerful international pro-Iran lobbyist on earth. When the Trump administration announced in late May it was ending the waivers that had allowed some European businesses to sidestep sanctions on Iran, Borrell condemned the move, to keep Europeans in business with Iran. A few weeks ago, when the US announced its push for an indefinite UN conventional arms embargo on Tehran, Borrell joined Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in defending Iran’s right to buy weapons — even as those weapons find themselves all over the Middle East, and particularly along Israel’s doorstep.
WHILE THEIR foreign office huffs and puffs, EU member states are less decided as to how they’ll respond to an Israeli annexation bid.
Austria, Hungary and the Czech Republic seem OK with annexation. Germany, for one, has indicated it won’t support sanctions against Israel.
But others have insisted on taking a harder line: European elder statesman Jean Asselborn, veteran foreign minister of little Luxembourg, has already called for Europe to unilaterally recognize a Palestinian state set against Israel’s 1967 borders. Like Borrell, EU foreign policy guru Asselborn’s eyes swirl when he’s talking about Israel.
In an absolutely repulsive interview, Asselborn invoked the eighth commandment, “Thou shalt not steal,” to warn Israel against absorbing Judaism’s oldest and holiest lands — apparently oblivious to the fact that the Jewish holy book, which predates every other nation on earth, literally proves the Jews’ ancient claim to these lands. Beyond insulting Israel, Asselborn disrespects all Jews. Not content with ignoring our history, Asselborn will pickpocket our ideas and hurl them at us, too.
Ultimately, the debate surrounding annexation is legitimate, as is the concern expressed by several settler leaders that the Trump plan could lead to a Palestinian state. Still, what’s completely illegitimate is Europe’s chiming in.
On matters of Jewish security, it would be wise of Europe to follow another of the Ten Commandments, namely No. 9: “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.”
It’s time for Europe’s millennia-old vilification of Jewry to end.
The writer, “America’s Rabbi,” whom The Washington Post calls “the most famous rabbi in America,” is the international best-selling author of 30 books, including the forthcoming Holocaust Holiday: One Family’s Descent into Genocide Memory Hell. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @RabbiShmuley.