In an extensive study of the antagonistic policy and rhetoric of the European Union and its members toward Israel, Fiamma Nirenstein sees not only a “fundamental . . . misunderstanding and ignorance of Israeli national needs” but also a tendency to blame Israel’s leaders for creating the rift in the first place. In this connection, she cites a report produced by the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, a highly regarded German research institute, that bizarrely, on the basis of a survey of some 1,000 Israelis, finds the political success of Benjamin Netanyahu to be mostly responsible for supposedly turning Israel against the European Union:
The [report] considers the prime minister and his government to be the “driving forces” of the process of detachment from Europe, alluding heavily to the prime minister’s “political scandals and corruption allegations confronting him” as a rationale for his siding with the extreme right, [which according to the study] is gaining power as the Israeli religious forces grow bigger and stronger. . . . The reason for this conclusion remains quite mysterious: why should the supposed larger influence of the right wing necessarily push Israel to antipathy toward Europe? . . .
While the decline of the popularity of the EU [among Israelis] is seen [by the report] as “a symptom of a general abandonment of international organizations,” it’s quite evident that the truth is the opposite. The “abandonment” is a reaction to these organizations’ negative attitude toward Israel, including their obsessive concern over the “occupied territories.” [For instance], Israel announced its intention to leave UNESCO on December 22, 2017, in response to “systematic attacks” on the Jewish state that ignored or diminished the Jewish connections to Jerusalem—attacks notably backed by European nations. . . . Or consider Europe’s denial of Israel’s right of self-defense during the wars in Gaza; . . . or the letter by nineteen distinguished officials like EU Special Representative Miguel Moratinos or EU High Representative for Foreign Policy Javier Solana of May 11, 2015, about how to increase pressure on Israel to surrender “occupied territories” to the Palestinian Authority. . . .
In other words, Nirenstein writes, Europe fixates on condemning Israel and is then surprised that these condemnations aren’t repaid with love. She continues:
While attacking Israel, Europe takes a strange stance insisting that it is just providing a public palliative for some Israeli illness. The ambassadors of European countries repeat privately that their condemnations of Israel do not inflict serious damage on Israel’s economy, nor do they interfere with good economic relations. They ask that Israel avoid dramatizing their own actions. But the continent’s anti-Israel acts do inflict damage and create tension between Israel and the continent. . . . As a matter of fact, Europe promotes the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement (BDS) and, [by funneling money to Palestinian organizations], terrorism.