Liberty, democracy, brutality

The Guardian, January 28, 2008

Many EU politicians treat Israel as a state that holds the highest European ideals dear. But this is hogwash

David Cronin

Diplomatic pressure from the European Union has been credited as being partly responsible for how Israel allowed some deliveries of food, medicine and fuel to Gaza over the past few days.But you would never guess that senior EU officials had been flexing their metaphorical muscles if you saw one particular document distributed to the Brussels press corps.

This was a transcript of a speech given by the European commission’s vice-president, Franco Frattini, during a visit to Israel.

In a week when the UN berated Israel for violating international law by blockading Gaza, it seems extraordinary that Frattini should indulge in some flagrant fawning towards his hosts.

According to his prepared script for a conference entitled Israel at 60: test of endurance, Frattini did not allude once to the blockade imposed on Gaza, even though the UN considers it to be an illegal act of “collective punishment”.

Instead, he insinuated that opponents of Israel in Europe were guilty of antisemitism. “This prejudice, this stance against Israel and Jews, has no place in today’s Europe,” he said.

Read those words again: “This stance against Israel and Jews”.

How can opposition to a country’s government be equated with hostility towards adherents of a religion?

Keep reading . . .

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