The letter Netanyahu did not write to the EU Commission President

A new letter in the series that should be written, but are not: The Letter Netanyahu did NOT write to Jean-Claude Juncker.

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Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld ,

Manfred Gerstenfeld
Manfred Gerstenfeld
Manfred Gerstenfeld

Dear Mr. Juncker,

Since I became Prime Minister of Israel in 1996 for the first time I have been following the European Union’s behavior with amazement. Today the EU’s population with over 500 million people is about 60 times that of Israel and its territory is approximately 200 times that of Israel. These numbers will, shrink somewhat after Great Britain’s exit.  

It is with some perplexity that I read, your statement that the EU is in existential danger, 59 years after the Treaty of Rome was accepted.[1] French President François Hollande has said about the EU’s current situation after Brexit: “This isn’t one more crisis, this could very well be the crisis threatening its very existence.”[2]

The EU has been facing a lengthy economic crisis. Economics Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stieglitz has pointed out that the real Gross Domestic Product per capita of the Eurozone in 2015 was barely higher than in 2007. He added: “Some countries have been in depression for years.” He blamed the structure of the Eurozone for this: “its rules and regulations, were not designed to promote growth, employment and stability.”[3]

Jens Weidman, chairman of the Bundesbank, Germany’s central bank, views the reality of the EU as follows: “For many of its citizens, Europe has indeed lost its shine and become a projection screen for the downsides of globalization and migration. Likewise, the usual instincts of the EU institutions to answer crises with ‘more Brussels’, more integration, no longer resonates with the public.”[4]

Jean Asselborn, the foreign minister of Luxemburg, almost your least populated member, is not satisfied with the departure of Great Britain alone. He wants to kick out, temporarily or permanently, another country from the E.U- Hungary. Asselborn said that Hungary treated refugees almost like “wild animals.”[5] His Hungarian colleague Péter Szijjártó answered: "It was known that that Jean Asselborn is not a serious person.” He added that one can see that he is not living far from Brussels as he is “arrogant and frustrated.” Szijjártó also called Asselborn a real nihilist who would do all he can "to destroy Europe’s security and culture.”[6]

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has recently said that: “conniving Eurocrats are deliberately trying to drown elected governments in an ocean of red tape to make it effectively impossible for them to carry out the wishes of their own people rather than those of Brussels.”[7]

Despite having its own huge problems, already at the time that I became Prime Minister, the EU claimed to know better how Israel should conduct its affairs than that it understood how to run itself. There is an interesting testimony about this from Frits Bolkestein, the Dutch EU Commissioner from 1999 to 2004.

In an interview he said: “In the European Commission, I twice tried to raise the problem of the multicultural society and the risks of unlimited Muslim immigration. My colleagues were ten years behind the Netherlands on this issue and did not want to discuss it. I said to one commissioner that they almost considered me a racist. He replied: ‘Drop the word almost.’”[8] Today we all know that Bolkestein was right and that his colleagues were blind and nasty.


Mr. Juncker, about forty percent of EU citizens believe that Israel behaves like the Nazis, or that Israel conducts a war of extermination against the Palestinians.
I’ll leave this subject here. The above quotes speak for themselves. It is not my intention to turn this into an essay by quoting additional politicians in EU member countries about the many problems in your organization.

Anti-Semitism has greatly grown in the EU in the new century. Yet comparable statistics on anti-Semitic incidents in the various member countries of Europe do not even exist. What was once the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency’s working definition of anti-Semitism has been removed from its website in 2013. There is now a working definition of anti-Semitism of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), which required the acceptance of all of its 31 member countries.[9] Of those, 24 are also members of the EU. The Commission has finally appointed a coordinator for anti-Semitism, which I do appreciate. You have also appointed a coordinator for Islamophobia. Yet there is no coordinator to deal with the criminality coming out of elements of Muslim communities.  

May I remind you that in this century, all lethal attacks on Jews in the EU – those that occurred in France, Belgium and Denmark – were committed by Muslim residents of Western Europe. Even greater Muslim terror has hit major cities in various European countries. The most lethal attack was the one in 2004 at a train station in Madrid which killed 191 people and wounded 1800.[10] The London terror attacks of 2005 killed 52 people and injured hundreds.[11] The Paris attacks of November 2015 left 130 people dead, and hundreds injured.[12] The attacks at the Brussels airport and metro in March 2016 killed 32 and wounded many more.[13] The Nice terror attack in July 2016 killed 84 and wounded 200.[14] There have been many other attacks and failed terror attempts. 

In 2015 Anglican archbishop Justin Welby has remarked that anti-Semitism is a complex and difficult subject, adding that it was deeply embedded “in our history and culture in Western Europe.”[15] The EU has made its own contribution to that “history and culture” by its frequent duplicity in dealing with Israel. Such double standards are defined as anti-Semitic under the IHRA definition.

Mr. Juncker, about forty percent of EU citizens believe that Israel behaves like the Nazis, or that Israel conducts a war of extermination against the Palestinians.[16] That these absurd opinions are so widespread is a damning condemnation of contemporary Europe. You have not acted against that. To the contrary, your unjust condemnations of Israel and discriminatory actions actions have fueled it. If you wish, I can ask my staff to prepare a booklet on this subject.

Mr. Bolkestein, has recently reminded us of the conclusions of the Reflection Group. One of your predecessors, Romano Prodi appointed twelve prominent Europeans to analyze the spiritual and cultural dimensions of Europe. They concluded that it was impossible to define European values in view of the greatly diverse national, regional, ethnic, sectarian, and social convictions in the EU.[17] 

Even with the acknowledged lack of common moral foundation, the EU behaves often as a preacher against us.[18] The most absurd repeated actions of the EU attacking us occur each time we put up some housing in the disputed territories, and you tell us that this is bad for peace. Mr. Juncker, don’t you see the caricature of what you are doing? You are afraid, after almost 60 years, that the EU will fall apart. Yet you and your people claim in a biased way to know what is good and bad for peace in the Middle East?

So please tell your employees to stop preaching to us. You have your own enormous troubles in fighting against terror, integrating refugees and guarding your borders.

Israel has much experience in these fields. Let us instead put up an EU-Israeli committee which will develop recommendations on how your organization, in deep crisis, can benefit from what Israel has learned over the decades.

Sources:

[1] www.theguardian.com/world/2016/sep/13/jean-claude-juncker-eu-is-facing-existential-crisis

[2] www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-09-15/hollande-merkel-issue-joint-call-for-post-brexit-unity-in-eu

[3] www.theguardian.com/business/2016/aug/10/joseph-stiglitz-the-problem-with-europe-is-the-euro

[4] www.theguardian.com/world/2016/sep/18/hard-brexit-will-cost-city-of-london-its-hub-status-warns-bundesbank-boss

[5] www.politico.eu/article/luxembourg-foreign-minister-jean-asselborn-hungary-should-leave-eu/

[6] http://derstandard.at/2000044309987/Ungarische-Retourkutsche-Asselborn-ist-unernste-Figur

[7] www.express.co.uk/news/politics/711299/Bratislava-Summit-Hungary-PM-Viktor-Orban-EU-Commission-deceiving-leaders

[8] Manfred Gerstenfeld, Interview with Frits Bolkestein: “Israel, the European Commission, Europe, and the Netherlands.” European-Israeli Relations: Between Confusion and Change.  (Jerusalem: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, The Adenauer Foundation. 2006.), 77

[9] www.holocaustremembrance.com/sites/default/files/press_release_document_antisemitism.pdf

[10] www.britannica.com/event/Madrid-train-bombings-of-2004

[11] www.bbc.com/news/uk-33253598

[12] www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-34818994

[13] www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-35869985

[14] www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/07/15/nice-terror-attack-on-bastille-day-everything-we-know-so-far-on/

[15] www.archbishopofcanterbury.org/articles.php/5492/archbishops-remarks-at-appg-antisemitism-report-launch

[16] www.jpost.com/Diaspora/European-anti-Semitism-has-reached-unprecedented-levels-442615

[17] www.volkskrant.nl/opinie/-europees-waardenstelsel-bestaat-niet~a4381193/

[18] www.jpost.com/Opinion/An-Israeli-black-book-on-the-EU-450819








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