Friday 1 May 2009

Is there an anti-Israeli "European street" ?

"[...] the sole ambassador in Israel who backed Ferrero-Waldner was the French [Jean-Michel Casa]. He was quoted as saying that her statements reflect the European public's feelings."

Are "European public's feelings" supposed to mean that, like the famed "Arab street", there is now in Europe an anti-Israeli "European street" ? Only that it's not called "street" but "European public's feelings".

Source: Israel to EU: Criticism of Netanyahu government unacceptable
By Barak Ravid, Haaretz Correspondent

"A Foreign Ministry official has been warning European countries that unless they curtail criticism of Benjamin Netanyahu's government, Israel will block the European Union from participating in the diplomatic process with the Palestinians. The main target of the offensive is EU External Affairs Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner*, who recently called for a freeze in upgrading ties with Israel over its peace process policies. Several days ago, the deputy director for Europe at the Foreign Ministry, Rafi Barak, began calling European ambassadors in Israel regarding the attitude toward the new government. The first conversations were with France's Jean-Michel Casa, Britain's Tom Phillips and the Chargé d'Affaires of the German embassy.

Barak sharply protested the criticism by European ministers and senior EU officials about Israel's government. Barak singled out Ferrero-Waldner in his rebuke and said her statements were troubling in their form, style and timing.

"For some weeks now, we have been telling everyone in Europe that Israel's government needs time to reformulate policies, and not to begin a war in the press," Barak told the diplomats.

He also noted that the European Union had not made an official decision on freezing the upgrading of ties, and therefore it was unclear what gave Ferrero-Waldner the authority to make her statements. [...]

"Israel is asking Europe to lower the tone and conduct a discreet dialog," he said. "However, if these declarations continue, Europe will not be able to be part of the diplomatic process, and both sides will lose."

In a telegram to the Israeli missions in Europe, Barak briefed the Israeli diplomats on his conversations and noted that the sole ambassador in Israel who backed Ferrero-Waldner was the French. He was quoted as saying that her statements reflect the European public's feelings.

A political source in Jerusalem noted that Ferrero-Waldner was sharply criticized by European officials, and one European foreign minister said in a private conversation that she "is causing damage to European foreign policy in her attacks on Israel"."
*Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner who is being so critical of the Israeli governement is Austrian. Maybe she should be paying a little more attention to what's going on is her own country.

Articles in Z-Word by Karl Pfeifer, a veteran anti-fascist and journalist based in Vienna:
- Free Speech and the Far Right
- Austria’s Far Right Blames the Jews…Again
- Austria: Right Wing Extremist Elected Parliament President
- Antisemitism: It’s Time for Tachles
- Antisemitic Tropes in Austria’s Top-Selling Daily
- Stalinist Smears
- Far Right Scandals Continue in Austria
- Antisemitism and the Austrian Left
-Austria’s Far Right and Selective Free Speech
- "Excessively": The Austrian Media on Gaza

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