These are not our friends
Israeli leaders should be careful about forming alliances with Europe’s far Right racists
Raphael Mimoun, Op-Ed, Israel Opinion
Anders Behring Breivik, the man who killed at least 76 people in Norway on Friday, described himself as being “pro-Zionism” and “pro-Israeli nationalism.” This is not a coincidence.
More and more far Right activists and sympathizers in Europe share this position and most express unconditional support for Israeli policies. This support is certainly not based on common beliefs and values – as a matter of fact, anti-Semitism, Jewish conspiracy theories and Holocaust denial are still very present in the rhetoric of many of these groups. Neither is it based on a common understanding of the Middle East conflict. Europe’s far Right supports Israel because it believes the Israel-Palestinian and Israeli-Arab conflict is a religious and cultural conflict. It sees Israel as a Western, Judeo-Christian entity facing a sea of Muslim and Arab hostiles. In short, this conflict is for them a symptom of the “clash of civilization.”
Europe’s far Right has indeed been focusing, for the past several years, on Muslim and Arab immigration, and the supposed incompatibility between their culture, beliefs and traditions on one hand, and democracy and Europeanism on the other. After centuries of open and explicit anti-Semitism, Europe’s far Right has shifted its hateful speech and incitement to target immigration from Islamic countries and Muslims and Arabs already living in Europe.
Many Israeli politicians, including members of Knesset and even government officials, have warmly welcomed support from these far Right groups and political parties. This is a disturbing mistake.
Most of these groups have obvious fascist, neo-Nazi, Islamophobic and racist tendencies. Many of their politicians have made explicit anti-Semitic comments and denied the Holocaust in the past. Despite its international isolation, Israel should never associate itself with such movements. Not only does it tarnish its already negative image and low international standing; not only does it provide arguments to those calling Israel a fascist state; more importantly, it represents a moral stain, an ethical aberration for the Jewish people.
For the sake of Israel’s moral status, “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” must not be applied here. Arab and Muslim haters in Europe and in North America should not be welcomed as allies.
Indeed, Israel’s allies must be ones whose values, beliefs and vision of the world are in line with our own.