Israel’s attitude toward the far-right in Europe

February 21, 2018 by Avi Mayer
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Chairman of the Executive of the Jewish Agency for Israel Natan Sharansky has told  the “End to Antisemitism” conference in Vienna than Israel’s attitude toward the far-right in Europe must be coordinated with Local Jewish communities.

Natan Sharansky Photo: Henry Benjamin

He said: “In recent years, we have witnessed the emergence of a new phenomenon in Europe: in response to many years in which political and social developments brought about a blurring of national identity, there has recently been a return to the ideas of national values, the uniqueness of the local culture, and national pride. This movement has given birth to political parties that champion national values and that occasionally take those values to extremes that include apologetics and glorification of the Nazi or fascist past or of regimes that collaborated with the Nazis – each country according to its unique history.

Some of these parties profess to have a positive view of Israel, presenting it as a country that has always known how to preserve its national identity and sovereignty. At the same time, however, their relations with the Jewish communities in their countries are constantly strained due to the prevalence of anti-Jewish prejudice, the lionisation of figures who persecuted Jews, discriminatory legislation against Jewish practices, and similar phenomena.

We must prevent such parties from toying with supporting Israel while driving Jews into a corner. Support for the State of Israel’s policies cannot grant legitimacy to moves that harm Jewish communities. This is a trap in which we must not find ourselves.

The influence of these parties and movements is on the rise in quite a few countries. It is important that our approach to them be developed in full cooperation between the State of Israel and the local Jewish community. Israel and the community must share a common position, and every step must be fully coordinated and agreed-upon by both sides. This coordination must be reflected both in the decision to boycott and cut off ties with these parties and in the outlining of benchmarks and criteria that these parties must meet if they wish to receive recognition and legitimacy from Israel and the Jewish world.”

The in Vienna conference was held under the joint auspices of the University of Vienna, Tel Aviv University, New York University and the European Jewish Congress.


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