Last week, the European Union issued guidelines regarding the use of EU funds in Israel. From now on, Israeli institutions cooperating with the EU or benefitting from EU funding must demonstrate that they have no direct or indirect links to Judea, Samaria, East Jerusalem or the Golan Heights. The guidelines, drawn up by the EU bureaucracy in Brussels, bind the EU, a supranational organization of 28 European nations, and one of the world's largest donors of development aid. The guidelines also forbid any funding, cooperation, awarding of scholarships, research funds or prizes to anyone residing in Jewish settlements in Israeli territories outside Israel's 1967 borders.
Only the 500,000 Jewish inhabitants of Judea, Samaria, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights are singled out in this respect. The EU guidelines are clearly anti-Semitic: they are a unique set of guidelines crafted for the occasion of targeting Jews. The EU does not ask similar guarantees of Chinese institutions regarding their links with Chinese occupied Tibet, nor does the EU forbid any funding, cooperation, awarding of scholarships, research funds or prizes to ethnic Chinese residing in Tibet. Neither has the EU issued similar guidelines regarding Turkey and Turkish occupied Northern Cyprus, Morocco and Moroccan occupied Western Sahara, Indonesia and Indonesian occupied Western Papua, or territorial disputes anywhere else in the world.
In issuing the guidelines, the EU has come out in full support of the so-called "BDS" movement, which advocates "Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions" against the Jewish presence in Judea, Samaria, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights.
The EU decided to draw up the guidelines last December, shortly after a group of 22 political NGOs, all of them supporting BDS, called on Brussels to join the BDS actions. Ironically, many of these political NGOs, despite their involvement in a delegitimization campaign against Israel, have themselves for years been beneficiaries of millions of euros of EU money. In effect, the EU has been funding political NGOs whose main objective it was to pressure the EU member states into adopting anti-Semitic policies.
A Swedish poster urging the boycott of Israeli products. (Source: Creap)
That a supposedly politically neutral organization, such as the EU, sponsors political groups that aim to force this organization to adopt certain policies is in itself irregular. As Prof. Gerald Steinberg of NGO Monitor points out, "The new EU guidelines are evidence of the influence of political NGOs – some funded by the EU – on the EU's policies. The practical results are worrisome and reflect a faulty and one-sided agenda."
However, that these policies are directed against one specific ethnic group, namely Jews, makes them not just irregular and worrisome, but outrageous. And the fact that taxpayers' money is used to this end, including taxes paid by the Jewish citizens of the EU states, makes them shameful and repulsive.
Given the EU's support for politicized attacks against Israel and its discrimination against, for example, Jews living in East Jerusalem, the EU can no longer be considered a neutral body in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
The new EU guidelines bolster the Palestinian claim to all territories east of the 1967 borders. The guidelines have angered Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, who said: "We will not accept any outside diktat about our borders." The EU guidelines are not helpful to the peace process either, since they attempt to predetermine the outcome of negotiations before the Palestinians even agree to sit at the negotiating table. There is little doubt that the EU diplomats are aware of that. They also know that the 1967 borders, which confine the state of Israel to the territory west of the 1949 armistice line, make the borders of the State of Israel militarily virtually indefensible. It is also clear that if the Golan Heights are returned to Syria, these strategic lands will fall into the hands of either Hezbollah or al-Qaida – organizations which have sworn to destroy Israel and drive the Jews into the sea.
Yet, that seems to be how the EU would love to have Israel: Indefensible and as small as possible. The EU guidelines indicate that Brussels denies Israel the right to an adequate and effective self-defense.
Considering the immense suffering which many of the current EU member states inflicted on the Jews seventy years ago, Brussels, rather than undermining the safety of the Jewish State, should insist on guaranteeing Israel a right to safe and viable borders. Sadly, by issuing guidelines steeped in anti-Semitism, it is doing exactly the opposite.