Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The EU threatens Israel with sanctions

Last Updated: February 18, 2015

Last week, the European Union decided it’s going to get tough with Israel. If Israel refuses to return to peace talks with the Palestinian Authority (PA) after Israel’s March, 2015 elections, the EU will attack Israel on three levels (“EU states said to be planning fresh sanctions against Israel” Times of Israel, February 10, 2015). First, it will implement economic sanctions against Israeli companies doing business over the Green Line (ibid). Second, it will support ‘Palestinian’ legal claims against Israeli ‘settlements’ (ibid). Third, it will support a renewed PA effort for statehood at the UN (ibid).

Apparently, the EU doesn’t care that the PA has an anti-peace Charter. It doesn’t care that the Hamas portion of the Hamas-PA unity government has a Jew-hate Charter. It doesn’t care that both Hamas and the PA incite against Jews.

The EU won’t pressure the PA. It will pressure only Israel.

Normally, one might find such a one-sided threat intimidating. The EU is, after all, powerful.

How powerful? It’s the single most prosperous region in the world (“The New Drivers of Europe’s Geopolitics By George Friedman”, Ari Rusila’s Balkan Blog, January 27, 2015). Its collective GDP is greater than that of the United States (ibid).

You’d expect that such an economic powerhouse could really sock it to the Israelis.

They can’t. They won’t.

The EU is in trouble—deep trouble. Greek economic problems threaten the glue that holds the EU together (“Greek Euro Exit Risk Increases as EU Delivers Ultimatum”, Bloomberg News, February 17, 2015).  A Greek exit from the Euro could have significant “unforeseen consequences’ (ibid) that could affect businesses all across Europe (“What would happen if Greece quits the euro?”, BBC NEWS, February 17, 2015).

One consequence of a Greek ‘Euro failure’ could be inflation. If Greece pulled out of the Euro, the value of the Euro would drop. That drop means imports become more expensive (ibid).

Politically, Greece’s problems could create an EU domino effect. Other countries in the EU have strong home-grown opposition to both the Euro and the EU union (ibid). That opposition could threaten EU stability. A Greek economic trauma means that life in the EU gets ugly.

For George Friedman (Ari Rusila, above), ugly is too kind a word. The seeds of discontent in Europe are so great (ibid), Greece could become the tipping point for a EU fall (ibid).

Indeed, for Friedman. Greece is simply the leading edge of a historic EU crisis (ibid).

Europe faces seismic changes (ibid). Things look so bad that the question about Europe is not whether it can retain its current form, but how radically that form will change (ibid).

Because of these troubles, boycotting Israel doesn’t look like a smart move. A boycott (in the form of sanctions) could exaggerate the EU’s economic woes. It would become the economic version of cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face.

If the EU falls off an economic cliff, will it reduce sales to Israel? The way you climb out of an economic downturn is to increase sales, not decrease them.

Fortunately, EU sanctions are not designed by elected officials who are responsible for the EU’s economic well-being. Sanctions are designed by those who have little-to-no input running the EU’s economy.

The officials who do have that responsibility will be far more careful about cutting off their sales to Israel. If anything, an economic crunch in the EU could increase business with Israel, not decrease it, as EU companies seek greater efficiencies through technology and out-of-the-box problem-solving Israelis are known for.

But wait. This is Europe we’re talking about. Europe has been in this position before, in the 1930’s. How did Europe handle those economic woes? It turned on the Jews. It cut off its nose to spite its face.

When it comes to European anti-Semitism, all bets are off. Right now, EU pro-Palestinian bias approaches the irrational. Therefore, given past European history, it’s possible that the weaker the EU gets, the stronger that bias will grow.

Israel isn’t waiting  to see what happens. The EU has been threatening Israel with sanctions for some time. These threats have provoked Israel to seek other markets in the East and Far East (“PM: We'll reduce economic dependence on Europe”, Globes News Service, January 18, 2015). Israel’s trade arrangements with India and China—two vast markets on an upward-growth curve—look far more promising than a weakening EU (ibid).

Let the EU threaten its sanctions. Those threats will be good for Israel. Israel has had a love affair with the anti-Jew and anti-Israel EU for too long.

China and India don’t have a record of vicious anti-Semitism. They don’t have terrorists killing Jews in supermarkets and synagogues.

The EU turns on Israel with an Amalek-like hate. India and China don’t.

As the EU threatens to unglue, it attacks Israel—and Jews. It’s time for Israel to move on.


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