Europe May Finally Be Ready to Make Its Peace with Israel

During the recent round of fighting, Slovenia, Austria, and the Czech Republic all flew Israeli flags from important government buildings as a sign of solidarity. And such sentiments were not limited to Jerusalem’s emerging Central European allies: Western European governments, which normally trip over themselves to express their “deep concern” over Israel’s actions, or to issue disingenuous calls for both sides to stop the violence, were unusually silent. Germany’s Angela Merkel even expressed frank support for the Jewish state. Benjamin Haddad sees many economic and geopolitical factors at work, including the Abraham Accords, but also something deeper:

Facing terror attacks in the last few years, Europeans have increasingly [seen] Israel as a country facing similar challenges, the canary in the coalmine for European democracies.

For the [European Union], the disasters of World War II called for cooperation [and for] technocratic governance transcending the ills of the nation-state. For Jerusalem, the tragic fate of Jews in Europe urged them to overcome their historic powerlessness and build a strong nation supported by . . . a powerful army. As they integrated the continent, Europeans increasingly viewed their successful model as the shape of things to come for the rest of the world. . . . And what better place to apply the European model of reconciliation than [to the Israel-Palestinian conflict]?

But things did not turn out this way. Fifteen years ago, it was commonplace for observers to forewarn growing Israeli diplomatic isolation if it failed to find a sustainable and peaceful solution to the Palestinian issue. These predictions did not come to pass. With Europe and the United States, of course, but also with new partnerships in India, Russia, and Africa, Israel has more economic and diplomatic partners than it ever had. Meanwhile, . . . Europeans are questioning their model. . . . Maybe the sense of history is tilting toward Jerusalem, after all?

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Read more at Foreign Policy

More about: Angela Merkel, Austria, Europe and Israel, European Union, Israel diplomacy

 

How European Fecklessness Encourages the Islamic Republic’s Assassination Campaign

In September, Cypriot police narrowly foiled a plot by an Iranian agent to murder five Jewish businessman. This was but one of roughly a dozen similar operations that Tehran has conducted in Europe since 2015—on both Israeli or Jewish and American targets—which have left three dead. Matthew Karnitschnig traces the use of assassination as a strategic tool to the very beginning of the Islamic Republic, and explains its appeal:

In the West, assassination remains a last resort (think Osama bin Laden); in authoritarian states, it’s the first (who can forget the 2017 assassination by nerve agent of Kim Jong-nam, the playboy half-brother of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, upon his arrival in Kuala Lumpur?). For rogue states, even if the murder plots are thwarted, the regimes still win by instilling fear in their enemies’ hearts and minds. That helps explain the recent frequency. Over the course of a few months last year, Iran undertook a flurry of attacks from Latin America to Africa.

Whether such operations succeed or not, the countries behind them can be sure of one thing: they won’t be made to pay for trying. Over the years, the Russian and Iranian regimes have eliminated countless dissidents, traitors, and assorted other enemies (real and perceived) on the streets of Paris, Berlin, and even Washington, often in broad daylight. Others have been quietly abducted and sent home, where they faced sham trials and were then hanged for treason.

While there’s no shortage of criticism in the West in the wake of these crimes, there are rarely real consequences. That’s especially true in Europe, where leaders have looked the other way in the face of a variety of abuses in the hopes of reviving a deal to rein in Tehran’s nuclear-weapons program and renewing business ties.

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Read more at Politico

More about: Europe, Iran, Israeli Security, Terrorism