Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman compared on Tuesday the European Union’s policy toward Israel on the Palestinian issue to the behavior of European countries toward the Jews during the period of the holocaust.
Lieberman invokes the Holocaust to slam Europe’s Israel policy
After the EU condemned Israel for advancing construction near Jerusalem, the foreign minister says that ‘once again’ Europe ignores calls to destroy Israel.
By Barak Ravid
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liebermancompared on Tuesday the European Union’s policy toward Israel on the Palestinian issue to the behavior of European countries toward the Jews during the period of the holocaust.
In an interview to Israel Radio, Lieberman was asked to react to the EU foreign ministers’ decision on Monday to condemn Israel for advancing the plan to build in E-1. Interviewer Aryeh Golan also mentioned the report in Newsweek magazine to the effect that United States President Barack Obama intends to let Europe apply pressure to Israel on the issue of the peace process with the Palestinians. “Are you satisfied with this?” Golan asked Lieberman.
In reply, the foreign minister launched into a fierce, and perhaps, unprecedented attack on the EU. “I can tell you what I am not satisfied with,” said Lieberman. “I am not satisfied with the position of Europe, which once again in history is ignoring calls to destroy the state of Israel … Europe is keeping silent. The call yesterday [Monday], what we saw, is not a condemnation of Hamas statements but rather a call to the heads of Hamas to refrain from incitement. We have already been through this with Europe at the end of the 1930s and in the 1940s.”
In his remarks Lieberman related to the speeches by Hamas political bureau head Khaled Meshal this weekend in Gaza, during the course of which he called for annihilating Israel. Contrary to Lieberman’s statement, along with the condemnation of Israel the European foreign ministers did in fact condemn Meshal’s remarks. “The EU finds inflammatory statements by Hamas leaders that deny Israel’s right to exist unacceptable,” they declared.
The radio interviewer asked Lieberman whether he is accusing the EU of anti-Semitism. “It isn’t an anti-Semitic motive but rather it’s a narrow motive of interests,” replied Lieberman. “They [the EU] are sacrificing all values in favor of interests. Then too, back in the 1940s. They already knew by the start of the 1940s exactly what was happening in the concentration camps, what was happening with the Jews and didn’t exactly act. Today they admit that even in the 1930s they prevented Jews for coming to the land of Israel.”
The foreign minister also charged that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) supports Meshal’s call to annihilate Israel. “A large delegation of Fatah from Ramallah went to Meshal’s rally,” said Lieberman. “Fatah flags flew there at that rally. Abu Mazen supports [Hamas].”
But Lieberman did not stop there. He also addressed the clashes last week between Israel Defense Forces soldiers and Palestinian policemen in Hebron. The foreign minister argued that the soldiers should not have fled but rather should have killed the Palestinian policeman who punched one of them with his fist.
“It is untenable,” he said, “to have a situation in which that soldier in Hebron gets punched by a Palestinian policemen and the Palestinian policeman remains alive after that.” Lieberman continued: “This is unacceptable to me. It cannot be that Israeli soldiers take slaps or punches from Palestinian policeman and they remain alive … To anyone who has seen the videos it was clear that the soldiers’ lives were in danger.”