What the EU Court’s Ruling on Hamas Reveals

The European General Court recently issued a ruling removing Hamas from the EU list of terror organizations. EU diplomats insist that this ruling will not affect policy. But the ruling, writes Gerald Steinberg, points to the deep-seated problems in the EU’s conduct toward Israel, and its foreign policy in general:

Even a cursory examination of these EU policies [on Israel and the Palestinians] exposes the degree to which slogans and myths, as repeated by journalists and officials of non-govermental organizations (NGOs), form the basis for decisions on crucial issues of war and peace. And the NGO input is, in turn, recycled through ready-to-print press releases, and quoted by the government officials. The result is an EU echo chamber, easily manipulated and cut off from the real world. . . .

The failure of the EU to dedicate serious resources to the independent collection of data and analysis is endemic across many issues. Many of the EU’s policies regarding Israel and the conflict are made by cutting and pasting the publications and tracts of political advocacy groups, including on such complex and sensitive issues as Jerusalem, borders, human rights, Bedouin land claims in the Negev, and the status of other Israeli minority groups. The claims of these groups, in turn, are usually based on hearsay (“Palestinian eyewitness testimony”) . . ., media reports, and “the Internet.”

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Europe and Israel, European General Court, European Union, Hamas, NGO, Terrorism

Iran’s Program of Subversion and Propaganda in the Caucasus

In the past week, Iranian proxies and clients have attacked Israel from the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon, and Yemen. Iran also has substantial military assets in Iraq and Syria—countries over which it exercises a great deal of control—which could launch significant attacks on Israel as well. Tehran, in addition, has stretched its influence northward into both Azerbaijan and Armenia. While Israel has diplomatic relations with both of these rival nations, its relationship with Baku is closer and involves significant military and security collaboration, some of which is directed against Iran. Alexander Grinberg writes:

Iran exploits ethnic and religious factors in both Armenia and Azerbaijan to further its interests. . . . In Armenia, Iran attempts to tarnish the legitimacy of the elected government and exploit the church’s nationalist position and tensions between it and the Armenian government; in Azerbaijan, the Iranian regime employs outright terrorist methods similar to its support for terrorist proxies in the Middle East [in order to] undermine the regime.

Huseyniyyun (Islamic Resistance Movement of Azerbaijan) is a terrorist militia made up of ethnic Azeris and designed to fight against Azerbaijan. It was established by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps . . . in the image of other pro-Iranian militias. . . . Currently, Huseyniyyun is not actively engaged in terrorist activities as Iran prefers more subtle methods of subversion. The organization serves as a mouthpiece of the Iranian regime on various Telegram channels in the Azeri language. The main impact of Huseyniyyun is that it helps spread Iranian propaganda in Azerbaijan.

The Iranian regime fears the end of hostilities between Armenia and Azerbaijan because this would limit its options for disruption. Iranian outlets are replete with anti-Semitic paranoia against Azerbaijan, accusing the country of awarding its territory to Zionists and NATO. . . . Likewise, it is noteworthy that Armenian nationalists reiterate hideous anti-Semitic tropes that are identical to those spouted by the Iranians and Palestinians. Moreover, leading Iranian analysts have no qualms about openly praising [sympathetic] Armenian clergy together with terrorist Iran-funded Azeri movements for working toward Iranian goals.

Read more at Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security

More about: Azerbaijan, Iran, Israeli Security