How Europe Became Pro-Israel

(Foreign Policy) Benjamin Haddad - Last week, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz made the decision to fly the Israeli flag on official buildings in solidarity with the country facing Hamas rocket attacks on its cities. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has called Hamas rockets "terrorist attacks," and the German political class on the left and right has echoed her support for Israel. Green candidate Annalena Baerbock has called Israeli security "the national interest of the modern German state." In a 2003 poll, 59% of Europeans named Israel the gravest threat to world peace. However, the mood is changing as the Palestinian question has been deprioritized. It's rare today to find a European diplomat who would claim the Israeli-Palestinian issue is the key to unlocking all of the region's tensions, a view held almost religiously in European chancelleries in the 2000s. Many European diplomats privately acknowledge the Abraham Accords have added another nail in the coffin of Europe's focus on Israel-Palestine. At the same time, Israel's economic and tech performances have started to attract European interest. But the main change has come from European societies themselves. Facing terror attacks in the last few years, Europeans have increasingly associated Israel as a country facing similar challenges, the canary in the coalmine for European democracies. Aurore Berge, a member of the French National Assembly, said: "We have a common front with Israel: the struggle against Islamist terrorism. More than ever, it's what brings us closer and what explains the diplomatic shift in Europe." The writer is director of the Future Europe Initiative at the Atlantic Council in Washington.

2021-05-21 00:00:00

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