Israel and the New Europe

Even as the capitals of Western Europe, and the EU itself, have proved to be sources of hostility toward the Jewish state, it is worth bearing in mind, writes Judith Bergman, that the countries of the former Soviet bloc—what Donald Rumsfeld termed “the new Europe”—are much better disposed:

Several East European countries, while having pasts rife with virulent anti-Semitism . . . differ greatly in their policies toward Israel [when] compared to their West European counterparts. That does not mean that everything they do is in favor of Israel; far from it. The entire EU, including those East European countries, voted in favor of the latest UN resolution [slandering] Israel [as] the world’s only health violator. . . .

Nevertheless, East European countries today represent the only part of Europe that, out of national interest or a genuine sense of solidarity, stands with Israel in one form or another. . . . In December, Czech lawmakers passed resolutions criticizing the decision by the European Union to label Israeli goods from Judea and Samaria and the Golan Heights, and urged the Czech government not to abide by it. Characteristically, all Czech political parties supported the resolutions, even those on the left, save for the Communists. . . .

Most recently, the Slovak and Lithuanian parliaments have decided to form pro-Israeli caucuses, a result of an initiative by the Knesset’s Christian Allies Caucus, the World Jewish Congress, and the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem. . . .

[These countries may sympathize with Israel] because they still retain a sense of logic and pride in their heritage and do not harbor any secret wish for national suicide. After living under totalitarianism for over a half-century—while Western Europe was harvesting the peace dividend of being under the American protective wing and growing increasingly more wealthy and materialistic, forgetting completely what it means to be terrorized—those countries that used to be under the Soviet boot see very clearly that Israel’s fight against Islamic terrorism is their fight, too.

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Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Czech Republic, Eastern Europe, Israel & Zionism, Israel diplomacy, Lithuania, Slovakia

Palestinian Leaders Fight Economic Growth

Jan. 15 2019

This month, a new shopping mall opened in northeastern Jerusalem, easily accessible to most of the city’s Arab residents. Rami Levy, the supermarket magnate who owns the mall, already employs some 2,000 Israeli Arabs and Palestinians at his other stores, and the mall will no doubt bring more jobs to Arab Jerusalemites. But the leaders of the Palestinian Authority (PA) are railing against it, and one newspaper calls its opening “an economic catastrophe [nakba].” Bassam Tawil writes:

For [the PA president] Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah officials . . . the image of Palestinians and Jews working in harmony is loathsome. . . . Instead of welcoming the inauguration of the shopping mall for providing job opportunities to dozens of Palestinians and lower prices [to consumers], Fatah officials are taking about an Israeli plan to “undermine” the Palestinian economy. . . . The hundreds of Palestinians who flooded the new mall on its first day, however, seem to disagree with the grim picture painted by [these officials]. . . .

The campaign of incitement against Levy’s shopping mall began several months ago, as it was being built, and has continued until today. Now that the campaign has failed to prevent the opening of the mall, Fatah and its followers have turned to outright threats and violence. The threats are being directed toward Palestinian shoppers and Palestinian merchants who rented space in the new mall. On the day the mall was opened, Palestinians threw a number of firebombs at the compound, [which] could have injured or killed Palestinians. The [bomb-throwers], who are believed to be affiliated with Fatah, would rather see their own people dead than having fun or buying attractively-priced products at an Israeli mall.

By spearheading this campaign of incitement and intimidation, Abbas’s Fatah is again showing its true colors. How is it possible to imagine that Abbas or any of his Fatah lieutenants would ever make peace with Israel when they cannot even tolerate the idea of Palestinians and Jews working together for a simple common good? If a Palestinian who buys Israeli milk is a traitor in the eyes of Fatah, it is not difficult to imagine the fate of any Palestinian who would dare to discuss compromise with Israel.

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Read more at Gatestone

More about: East Jerusalem, Israeli Arabs, Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian Authority, Palestinian economy