The European far right is not the only one to favor Israeli apartheid

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban hold a Rubik’s Cube during the Hungary-Israel Business Forum in Budapest, Hungary, July 19, 2017.

The AUR is well known for being a fascist and anti-Semitic party that glorifies World War II-era Romanian leader Ion Antonescu, whose regime oversaw the extermination of an estimated 400,000 Romanian Jews. It is a small but very active party, which obtained around 8% of the votes in the last elections.

Although the full contents of the meeting have not been made public, it can be assumed that it was at least partially related to Israel’s current efforts to persuade Romania to move its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. In 2018 and early 2019, Israel was able to obtain public statements in support of the transfer from the then Romanian prime minister and the speaker of parliament. However, the Romanian president blocked the move in late 2019, saying such action would not happen without a joint decision from the European Union.

Israel’s ties to far-right and anti-Semitic regimes and parties have received greater attention in recent years, particularly with regard to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his ties to autocrats of same sensitivity, like Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. The Israeli government’s interests – breaking EU consensus on various policies, including its opposition to moving embassies to Jerusalem – align well with the desire of the European far right to create conflict with Brussels and stir up nationalist feelings by putting forward political decisions that contradict those of the EU.

But this type of relationship existed well before Netanyahu’s governments and served to promote Israel’s diplomatic, economic and military interests. Israel even maintained relations with Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu, who ruled from 1965 to 1989, despite his and other Romanian officials’ clearly anti-Semitic positions, which were well known to Israeli diplomats.

Forget the death squads

Another historical example illustrates a similar approach to foreign relations by the Israeli government. Newly declassified documents in the Israeli State Archives reveal similar behavior amid El Salvador’s civil war in the early 1980s: as masses were arrested, kidnapped, tortured, murdered or disappeared under the regime by the United States, Israel was campaigning to convince El Salvador to transfer its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

In a telegram dated June 10, 1982, sent to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem, the Israeli ambassador to Guatemala, Moshe Dayan (different from the Israeli statesman of the same name), reported on his trip to Salvador as part of efforts to move the embassy. Dayan wrote that he met Roberto D’Aubuisson, the founder and leader of the far-right ARENA party, who served as president of El Salvador’s Constituent Assembly.

Like the Romanian AUR, D’Aubuisson and ARENA had a history of fascist and anti-Semitic statements, but Dayan explained that D’Aubuisson “on his own initiative denied statements attributed to him about Jews and the Holocaust “. But, unlike the AUR, the ARENA concretized its fascist beliefs through violent practices, such as the use of death squads to eliminate opposition and left activists, academics, journalists and thousands of other civilians.

Israel was fully aware of these atrocities. Three months before Ambassador Dayan’s visit, in a report prepared for the Foreign Ministry, former Israeli Ambassador to El Salvador Yaacov Deckel wrote that he had arrived in the country in March 1982 to act as an observer of the elections, in which ARENA obtained around a third of the seats in the Constituent Assembly. Deckel noted that around 33,000 people had been killed, most of them innocent civilians, during the past three years of civil war.

Deckel also said he met D’Aubuisson, “who approached me like an old acquaintance” and said that “here in El Salvador, communism will be buried.” Deckel added that ARENA-linked death squads are “responsible for the physical elimination of many political opponents, including Salvadoran Archbishop Romero,” and that party leaders promised during their election campaign to “destroy all the communists with napalm bombs.”

Supporting apartheid

While Israel’s ties to the global far right are the subject of much attention – including from critics who say they show hypocrisy and Israel’s true colors when it comes to issues of anti-Semitism and fascism – Israel’s relations with parties to the left of the far right, which are in fact the ruling parties in most European countries over the past decades, do not subject to sufficient attention.

These mainstream European parties are, to varying degrees, critical of Israel’s policies towards the Palestinians, while workers’ unions and human rights organizations associated with them often criticize Israel and directly provide or indirectly humanitarian aid to the Palestinians. But, almost without exception, these political forces allow Israel to maintain the apartheid status quo, support Israel with votes in international forums, and approve the signing of agreements of enormous economic importance to Israel. Thus, rhetorical condemnations are never supported by real actions and sanctions.

Conservative Party governments of the 1980s were diplomatically closer to Arab states and even the Palestine Liberation Organization, and were among the harshest public critics of Israel in Europe; Yet behind the scenes, Israel felt it could do whatever it wanted, and did not hesitate to present this position unreservedly in closed-door meetings with British representatives.

According to a summary of a meeting held on February 18, 1980 between Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and British Ambassador to Israel John Mason, Begin criticized the United Kingdom’s position regarding the lack of progress on the Palestinian question since the Camp David Accords with Egypt; Trying to place all the blame on the PLO and its leader Yasser Arafat, Begin argued that Israel “made sacrifices for peace, just one example: the oil fields [in the Sinai Peninsula].” This concession will result in an expenditure of 2 billion dollars next year for the purchase of oil.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry met with British Minister of State for Europe Douglas Hurd. When Mr Hurd said the UK was concerned about Israeli settlements in the occupied territories and found it difficult to understand Israel’s position regarding water sources in those areas, the Israeli official compared the situation to “a basin of water used by both parties as a bottle with two drinking straws”.

Despite British politeness – or Britain’s long history of colonial exploitation – Hurd and Mason should have angrily banged the table and told the Israelis that “oil” and “bottle water” did not belong to them. Of course, nothing of the sort happened. It is therefore no wonder that for decades Israel and its settlements have not hesitated to steal land and water resources from the West Bank, nor fear the consequences of confiscating or destroying water reservoirs. water owned by Palestinian communities who are effectively denied control and access to their own resources – conditions that remain in effect to this day.

“Masochistically testing your friends”

In a declassified “top secret” telegram dated April 23, 1980, sent by the Israeli envoy to London after a “not to be cited” meeting with a British diplomat (no name given), the latter explains: “ We sometimes have the impression that Israel is testing its friends in a masochistic way to see how far they can go with it, even unreasonably: “It sometimes seems that Israel is testing its friends in a masochistic way to see how far they can go with it, even unreasonably: ‘where they can go with him, even unreasonably.

The Israeli diplomat, for his part, understood the UK’s view to be: “But when we [Israel] stop basing settlements purely on security grounds and when we take steps that are perceived as demonstrative and provocative, such as setting up houses in Hebron, we are causing damage to friendship and understanding with our own hands.”

In other words, as long as Israel justifies its actions solely on the basis of security needs – regardless of whether they are real or not – Britain will be able to put up with systematic violations of international law and human rights. man committed by Israel.

The actions of the current Israeli government and its public affinities with the far right are now calling into question the “masochistic” system that has worked to Israel’s advantage for decades. For this government, the “new” Israel no longer needs excuses linked to real or fictitious security needs, and can instead expose its entire program as being purely based on an ideology of apartheid and Jewish supremacy.

This is why we should be concerned not only about the meetings and links of Israeli officials with far-right groups like the AUR in Romania, but also with the Conservative and Labor parties in the United Kingdom, the Labor Party in Norway , the Christian Democratic Union party in Germany and other traditional European parties. All these parties, in parliament and in the government, effectively collaborate in the crimes committed by Israel against the Palestinian people.

Indeed, despite all the racist and authoritarian statements and policies made since the inauguration of the current Netanyahu government in December 2022, apart from the reduction of invitations to Netanyahu and his ministers for official visits, there is still no no sanctions or real change in cooperation with Israel. Interests and business continue as usual. Instead of staying in a hotel in Paris, Netanyahu is simply staying in one of the most expensive suites in Jerusalem – a low price for a man responsible for crimes against humanity.

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