It Would Be Absurd for Israel to Snub a Right-Wing High Italian Official

Dec. 13 2018

On Tuesday, Matteo Salvini—the Italian deputy prime minister, minister of the interior, and leader of the right-wing, anti-immigration Lega party—arrived in Israel where he met with Prime Minister Netanyahu and other high-ranking officials. Some in Israel have criticized this reception, arguing that Jerusalem should shun Salvini and praising President Reuven Rivlin for declining to meet with him—although Rivlin’s office insists that only scheduling problems prevented him from doing so. Emmanuel Navon comments:

No country in the world would sacrifice its national interest for the sake of moral [preening]. Expecting Israel (and only Israel) to do so is absurd. The question is not whether Israel is also entitled to play by the rules of Realpolitik (of course it is) but whether its policy of rapprochement with Europe’s “populist” governments serves the national interest. The answer is yes—although only to a point. . . .

[Some] European governments and parties, [including Salvini’s], happen to admire Israel for what it represents [in their eyes]: a proud nation-state that is economically successful and . . . has no qualms about defending its borders, about defeating terrorists, and about aggravating Eurocrats. Thanks to its strong ties with [such governments], Israel has been able to break the Brussels consensus. Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Romania, for example, have blocked an EU decision meant to condemn the transfer of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem. On the issue of Iran, the “Visegrad Group” (the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, and Slovakia) are making it harder for the European Commission to bypass the renewed U.S. sanctions on Iran. Recently, Israel signed a memorandum of understanding with Cyprus, Greece, and Italy to build a pipeline that will enable Israel to export its natural gas to Europe. . . .

[That being said], Israel has no interest . . . in the proliferation of populist governments [in Europe], because these governments generally oppose free trade and are more inclined to align with Russia than with the United States. . . . Israel has a free-trade agreement with the EU and is part of its flagship research-and-development program. [Israel] would therefore not benefit from a Europe dominated by pro-Russian mercantilists. But ad-hoc and calculated links with the governments of Eastern Europe and of Italy do serve, for the time being, Israel’s national interest.

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Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Europe and Israel, Israel & Zionism, Israel diplomacy, Italy

The Evidence of BDS Anti-Semitism Speaks for Itself

Oct. 18 2019

Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs recently released a lengthy report titled Behind the Mask, documenting the varieties of naked anti-Semitic rhetoric and imagery employed by the movement to boycott, divest from, and sanction the Jewish state (BDS). Drawn largely but not exclusively from Internet sources, its examples range from a tweet by a member of Students for Justice in Palestine (the “world would be soooo much better without jews man”), to an enormous inflated pig bearing a star of David and floating behind the stage as the rock musician Roger Waters performs, to accusations by an influential anti-Israel blogger that Israel is poisoning Palestinian wells. Cary Nelson sums up the report’s conclusions and their implications, all of which give the lie to the disingenuous claim that critics of BDS are trying to brand “legitimate criticism of Israel” as anti-Semitic.

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Read more at Fathom

More about: Anti-Semitism, BDS, Roger Waters, Social media