The European Union (EU) loves peace. We know it loves peace because it wants to be the new major player to get Israel to sign a ‘peace’ treaty with the Palestinian Authority’s Fatah-Hamas Unity government (“Europe wants central role in Middle East peace, Mogherini says”, i24news, May 18, 2015).
We even know why the EU wants this peace. It can’t afford not to get it.
The EU has a demographic problem. Islam spreads through Europe faster than any other religion (“Europe’s Muslim future”, Prospect Magazine, April 2010). For example, in 1990, Muslims represented 4.1 per cent of Europe’s total population (that is, 29.6 million Muslims) (“Region: Europe”, The Pew Research Center: Religion and Public Life, January 27, 2011). Today, they represent almost 7 per cent of Europe’s population (Conrad Hackett, “5 facts about the Muslim population in Europe”, Factank, Pew Research Center. January 15, 2015). That’s more than 46 million.
That growth is a demographic time bomb (Adrian Michaels, “Muslim Europe: the demographic time bomb transforming our continent”, The Telegraph, August 8, 2009). Over the coming decades, current expectations for Islamic growth in Europe will change Europe beyond recognition (ibid).
European leaders know this. They know they need to adjust social, education and health policy to accommodate the needs and interests of their Muslim population. They also know that, within this growing Muslim population, there is a growing Islamic radicalism (Petr Bohacek, ” The Impacts of Muslim Immigration on European Politics”, academia. edu April 12, 2011).
This isn’t anti-Islam racism. It’s not Islamophobia. It’s reality.
Europe also has other worries. It’s vulnerable. It gets more than 40 per cent of its oil from the Middle East. Already, some say Muslim migration into Europe threatens to change Europe into ‘Eurabia’ (Prospect Magazine, above). Some believe that nothing good can happen for Europe if it’s perceived in the Arab-Muslim world as being too soft on Israel.
Europe is Israel’s largest trading partner. To the anti-Israel Muslim who calls for boycotts against the Jewish state, Europe’s continued high trade with Israel is not a plus for Europe. It’s a negative.
The EU struggles in other areas as well. Economic growth threatens to stagnate (Jack Ewing, “E.C.B. Says Loans to Private Sector Rose in March for First Time in 3 Years “, New York Times, April 29, 2015). Unemployment is high. The length of the conflict in Ukraine has taken everyone by surprise (Norman Eisen, “Europe's Governance Troubles”, Brookings.edu, January 9, 2015). Migration pressure and increasing mistrust of the EU complicate the EU’s future (ibid).
The EU needs something to re-focus attention away from its problems. It needs a distraction.
It needs, in other words, a scapegoat. It needs to get Israel to surrender land for a piece of paper that says, ‘peace’.
This isn’t such a farfetched idea. Europe's excessive dependence on oil from Arab countries has fostered a European-Arab symbiosis (Manfred Gerstenfeld, “From Manfred Gerstenfeld's Israel and Europe: An Expanding Abyss? (2005)”, published at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, no date). This European-Arab symbiosis means that Israel has become a political scapegoat (ibid) for all kinds of ills. Everyone in Europe knows this. Everyone also knows that, as Muslims in Europe become more vocal about their anti-Israel sentiment, Europe’s leaders will have to do something against Israel, if only to keep the EU’s social fabric from being ripped apart by Muslim violence.
Put another way, a failure to ‘resolve’ the Arab-Israel conflict in a way that appears favourable to Muslims could pose a direct threat to Europe (William Nitze and Leon Hadar, “EU could bring peace to Middle East”, The Guardian, December 4, 2009). That threat contains a one-two punch: the Arab world could punish the EU (for failing to ‘deliver’ Israel) by slowing oil export to the EU; and second, the EU’s Muslim population could erupt in rage.
Those are real threats. They’re threats Europe wants to avoid.
That’s where Israel-the-political-scapegoat comes in. The EU appears to believe that turning against Israel will resolve a lot of problems.
It won’t. So long as Europe ignores Arab-Muslim Jew-hate, it won’t get the peace it wants. Arab Jew-hate will kill every attempt at peace. It always has. It always will.
The EU doesn’t care. It will turn against Israel. After all, pressuring and threatening Israel fits into the EU’s own historic anti-Semitism too neatly to be dismissed. Turning against Israel is a strategy too perfectly aligned with the ‘Palestinian Cause’ to be ignored.
The EU thinks it has a plan. It thinks it can solve or diffuse its demographic time bomb by bringing Israel to its knees at the peace table.
It’s a fool’s plan. It’s a plan that will blow up in Europe’s face.