Israel’s Outreach to Europe’s Populist Right Is Prudent and Justified

Feb. 11 2019

Next Monday, Jerusalem will host the annual summit of the Visegrad group, consisting of Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic; its decision to do so has brought criticism from those who feel that the Jewish state should not be associating itself with the right-wing leaders of Hungary and Poland, whose positions have sometimes put them at odds with local Jewish communities. Similar concerns are bound to recur as right-wing populist parties gain influence in Europe, even as these very parties are making efforts to rid their ranks of anti-Semites and show their support for Israel. To Gol Kalev, the Netanyahu government has acted wisely by responding in kind to offers of friendship from these groups and their leaders:

As anti-Israel activism becomes entrenched on Europe’s political left, the rise of European far-right parties could present an opportunity for Israel, since those parties are explicitly nationalistic themselves and unashamedly defend the idea of the nation-state. . . . Faced with this dichotomy—EU leaders expressing concern about Israel reaffirming itself as the nation-state of the Jewish people, while right-wing populist parties strongly embrace this model—there is a growing view that rather than lean against a splintered reed, Israel needs to recognize the shift in the European electorate and align itself with the emerging political movements that will defend rather than denigrate the country.

Even so, there remains a built-in tension between Israel’s rapprochement with the far-right and the interests of world Jewry. [For instance], French Jews feel imperiled by the expansion of the yellow-vest protests, which are reportedly being encouraged by Marine Le Pen’s far-right party, National Rally, [until recently, the National Front]. The protesters broadly refer to Emmanuel Macron as “President Rothschild,” and some banners have displayed overt anti-Semitic slurs. Indeed, the Chabad house in Paris temporarily closed due to the perceived danger from protesters.

This sort of tension between the interests of Israel and diaspora Jews is not new. In fact, it has existed since the inception of Zionism. But just as Theodor Herzl recognized that preventing the democratic election of [the anti-Semitic mayor of Vienna in 1896] would only further inflame the anger of far-right voters, it is clear today that Israel boycotting right-wing parties will not reduce the danger to Jews from right-wing populism, just as boycotting left-wing parties will not reduce the danger from European left-wing populism.

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Read more at Foreign Policy

More about: Anti-Semitism, Europe and Israel, Israel & Zionism, Poland, Theodor Herzl

Terror Returns to Israel

Nov. 28 2022

On Wednesday, a double bombing in Jerusalem left two dead, and many others injured—an attack the likes of which has not been seen since 2016. In a Jenin hospital, meanwhile, armed Palestinians removed an Israeli who had been injured in a car accident, reportedly murdering him in the process, and held his body hostage for two days. All this comes as a year that has seen numerous stabbings, shootings, and other terrorist attacks is drawing to a close. Yaakov Lappin comments:

Unlike the individual or small groups of terrorists who, acting on radical ideology and incitement to violence, picked up a gun, a knife, or embarked on a car-ramming attack, this time a better organized terrorist cell detonated two bombs—apparently by remote control—at bus stops in the capital. Police and the Shin Bet have exhausted their immediate physical searches, and the hunt for the perpetrators will now move to the intelligence front.

It is too soon to know who, or which organization, conducted the attack, but it is possible to note that in recent years, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) has taken a lead in remote-control-bombing terrorism. Last week, a car bomb that likely contained explosives detonated by remote control was discovered by the Israel Defense Forces in Samaria, after it caught fire prematurely. In August 2019, a PFLP cell detonated a remote-control bomb in Dolev, seventeen miles northwest of Jerusalem, killing a seventeen-year-old Israeli girl and seriously wounding her father and brother. Members of that terror cell were later arrested.

With the Palestinian Authority (PA) losing its grip in parts of Samaria to armed terror gangs, and the image of the PA at an all-time low among Palestinians, in no small part due to corruption, nepotism, and its violation of human rights . . . the current situation does not look promising.

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Read more at JNS

More about: Israeli Security, Jerusalem, Palestinian terror