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Europe's Alliance with Israel: Aiding the Occupation Paperback – 5 Nov 2010
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It seems to many that Israel is above international law. This important book explores the complex political ties that have prevented European countries from holding Israel to account. It is essential reading for all who care about justice and the rule of law. I hope David Cronin is prepared for the abuse he and his book will incur. All the more reason to buy it, read it and take the discussion forward. (Ken Loach)
About the Author
David Cronin is a journalist specialising in European politics. He has written for a variety of publications, including the Guardian, the Wall Street Journal Europe, European Voice, the Irish Times, the Sunday Tribune and the Inter Press Service.
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The EU has an association agreement with Israel, giving it trade preferences, and is aiming for `more intense, more fruitful, more influential co-operation'. It is a member of the EU in all but name.
As Javier Solana, then EU foreign policy chief, said in 2009, "Israel, allow me to say, is a member of the European Union without being a member of the institutions. It's a member of all the programmes, it participates in all the programmes."
The UN estimates that half of all foreign aid to Palestinians ends up aiding Israeli companies. The European Commission pays these companies to provide goods and services to Gaza. The other half goes to rebuilding aid projects that the Israelis have destroyed. Between 2001 and 2009, Israeli attacks on occupied territories inflicted 55 million euros' worth of damage on EU-funded infrastructure.
Israel's attack on Gaza (December 2008-January 2009) killed 1,417 Palestinians, including 926 civilians: 497 men, 116 women and 313 children. 10 Israeli soldiers were killed and three civilians. The day after the attack ended, presidents and prime ministers from Britain, Italy, Germany, France, Spain and the Czech Republic attended a gala dinner in Jerusalem hosted by Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert. As an Israeli official boasted to the Jerusalem Post, "Six world leaders dropped everything to come here and express their support for Israel's security."
Israel, backed by the EU, punished Gaza for its democratic election of Hamas. Israel's brutal blockade has turned Gaza into the world's largest open-air prison.
The EU appointed as its `peace envoy' to the Middle East Anthony Blair, who backed Israel's attacks on Lebanon and Gaza. He gets £400,000 a year and has taken an entire floor of the poshest hotel in East Jerusalem - cost, more than $1 million a year. The whole EU is in the Blair pose - pretending to be an honest, even-handed broker of peace, in fact being an accomplice in illegal occupation and aggressions.
There is a well-known pro-Israel lobby in the USA (see The Israel lobby and US foreign policy, by John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt). The EU has a pro-Israel lobby too, including the European Friends of Israel (based on a cross-party alliance of MEPs), the Transatlantic Institute, B'nai B'rith and the European Jewish Congress.
In Britain, there are also the British Israel Communication and Research Centre and the Jewish National Fund UK, a charity which calls itself `proudly Zionist', yet of course `entirely non-political'. The JNF is an openly racist body: it is now illegal for any land it holds to be sold to any Palestinian. Blair and Gordon Brown are honorary patrons of JNF UK.
Israel and its lobby bay for war on Iran, a country which has not invaded any country for centuries, unlike, say, Israel.
While unflinching in repeatedly condemning Europe's responsibility for the Holocaust, he rightly rejects the illusion that unconditional support for Israel's crimes against the Palestinian people constitutes some sort of perverse atonement on Europe's part. He traces in meticulous detail the labyrinthine links between the EU and Israel not just in matters of trade, but also in military and scientific research of the most lethal kind, for which the hapless Palestinians have often served as guinea pigs. Cronin's native Ireland, often seen as the EU country most sympathetic to the Palestinian cause, gets away with nothing: it is shown to pay lip service to Palestinian rights while consistently playing along with the most reactionary and hypocritical policies of its EU partners, led by Germany, France, Italy and the UK, but backed most enthusiastically by the Eastern European member states with their paranoid terror of Russia and worship of the USA.
I recommend this book without reservations.
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