Europe spins for Israel, embraces genocide

Two boys play amid the rubble left by Israel’s attacks on Gaza; the European Union is eager to increase trade with the pepertrator of those attacks. 

Mohammed Asad APA images

“Public relations” professionals recommend that messages should be tailored to win over particular audiences. The result can be that different things are said to different groups of people. The truth gets distorted; sometimes it is replaced by lies.

I’ve found evidence to show that the European Union resorted to that kind of duplicity while trying to strengthen its economic ties with Israel.

One of the most significant decisions taken in that respect was the European Parliament’s approval of a trade deal with Israel during 2012.

Known as the Conformity Assessment and Acceptance of Industrial Products agreement — or ACAA — its entire purpose was to make life easier for Israeli exporters. Under it, quality checks carried out by Israeli authorities on manufactured goods would automatically be recognized by the European Union. Firms would thereby be spared the expense and hassle of having to undergo fresh checks when goods arrive at their destination.

After Operation Cast Lead — Israel’s attack on Gaza in late 2008 and early 2009 — the dossier was blocked because of opposition from some members of the parliament (MEPs). Frustrated by the delay, Israel hired the “public relations” firm Kreab Gavin Anderson and marshalled MEPs sympathetic to Zionism.

Purely technical?

Israel’s efforts to get the dossier endorsed also won support from the EU’s trade chief, Karel de Gucht. A key tactic the Belgian politician employed was to downplay the significance of the deal. Speaking to the European Parliament, de Gucht described ACAA as “no more than a technical agreement.”

A briefing note drawn up by his aides suggests that when replying to MEPs’ questions, he should argue that the deal was simply a follow-up to the EU’s main political accord with Israel (that “association agreement” came into effect in 2000). “The ACAA with Israel is not a new initiative and cannot be seen as an upgrade of our trade relations,” the paper states.

This memo doesn’t seem to have been copied to de Gucht’s colleague, Antonio Tajani, then the EU’s enterprise chief.

When he visited Israel in October last year, Tajani was advised to celebrate ACAA as one of the “latest landmark successes” in EU-Israel relations (see document published below). Far from dismissing the deal as purely technical, Tajani’s aides told him that ACAA’s entry into force at the beginning of 2013 “constitutes an important first step towards Israel’s integration into the single market” for goods and services.

Put simply, this means that Israeli exporters would enjoy the same trade perks as firms based within the EU. Although ACAA is initially limited to pharmaceuticals, it can be extended to other products.

Exports to the EU are vital to the Israeli economy. Worth €12.5 billion ($16 billion), they comprised one-third of all Israeli exports last year.

“Calculated to destroy”

Yesterday, the prominent human rights lawyer Michael Mansfield underscored why action against Israel’s crimes is required so urgently. “We are inches away from something that will become genocide on a scale we haven’t seen for some years unless the international community does something about it,” he said.

Mansfield was visiting Brussels for a session of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine, a body which investigates Israel’s violations of international law.

The tribunal concluded that Israel’s military activities inflicted “serious bodily or mental harm” against the Palestinians. These activities were “calculated” to destroy the Palestinian people “in whole or in part,” it added.

Crimes of that nature meet the UN’s definition of genocide.

The “international community” to which Mansfield referred is a synonym for the United States and its allies, particularly the European Union.

By deepening its trade relations with Israel, the European Union is embracing a perpetrator of genocide.

No amount of “public relations” can obfuscate that fact.

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Comments

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It is the people of Belgium who matter and the people there are not supporting Israel. Israel is facing a huge rise in not only public scorn but an anti-semitism arising from their brutal subjugation and slaughter of the Palestinians. It is world wide now, this condemnation of Israel's genocide. Governments in economic straits can do whatever they want but the people are the ones with the power to put an end to Israel's cruel dominance over the Palestinians.

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The europeans have no choice but to embrace what they've created, it's beyond any of them or the americans to admit any wrong, particularly the 100 year old Stupidity of the french/english and their Middle East Fiction States Creations, which now the u.s. (confused of difference between Judaism and zionism) has embraced and has spent the last 25 years fighting to maintain the fiction as fact, to please a euro non-Semite zionist cult!

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To deny, in any manner, that Israel has a nuclear arsenal, is to stand that question on its head; Israel is in the process of taking delivery of it's third nuclear capable submarine, one would have to wonder, why?

Hamas is a terrorist organisation because it suits Israel to declare it as such; Hamas is the coal face of Palestinian "resistance". You appear to be overlooking the fact that Israel, primarily, was born out of the horrendous acts of terror perpetrated by Jewish (they could not be called Israeli at that time) terrorist organisations, against all manner of innocent people, including the British Services. Why is it not permissible for Palestinians to legitimately and lawfully resist their imprisonment, the ethnic cleansing, the total destruction of their homes and infrastructure, the Internationally recognised collective punishments, Israel persists on administering?

Where are Palestinian rights, their entitlement to protect themselves? The logic you present is that repeated, ad nauseum, by defenders of Israel, those beholden to Israel, either because of the thirty shekel syndrome or simply because they are "blind" Jews defending the non existent raison d'etre.

If Israel tries to avoid civilian casualties, how then do you explain the outrageous numbers of dead and wounded Palestinians? You are obviously in possession of very privileged information If you believe a democratic Palestinian State is still possible; Please be kind enough to advise where and how this Palestinian "State" will be?

The history of the Palestinian dispossession from their ancient homelands, including Israels repetitive cycle of Peace talks always followed by incrementally more and more severe military attacks, inform the whole World, including blind Harry and his dog. that the Israeli intention is to clear all Arabs from "their" Israel.

All of this long history of applied and illegal punishments will continue unabated, until the Israeli goal is reached.

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To speak in one way for consumption of one specific group while doing
another thing is what politics/public policy/"diplomacy" is made of. It has
been that way for millenia. All statements of leaders, associations etc.
must be viewed in this light. Say thanks (twice if needed) and see
what is actually done. As historian Gabriel Kolko observed, those in
power are there because they know how to preserve their positions.

One should add: continue to act to see that the statements are followed up---
must be followed up---with actions.

Years ago when I was active in advocacy to change policy on "social security"
(=" pension" in US) iI knew a promise was empty. I went for---and got---
a change in the law itself (Section 301 b). More "actions" would have failed.
It took three years. The Congressman whose name was on the old bill
came to my city and spoke to a group claiming that he was the champion
for "disabled" people. I sat in the back of the room , smiled inside and
let my "champion" take all the credit for my work.

In terms of the EU and Israeli arms, as your recent article on a company making drones for Israel in the UK, we must have every bit of information. The UK company is in Scotland I believe, is a subsidiary (what) of a French company/corporation (where). How are these various companies linked, who
profits and how much, who works for them, what labor unions are involved?

(They are sure they have escaped us. Through thorough knowledge we must
demonstrate that in this they have failed. This may not be via more public
demonstrations etc....We must follow the facts. What contacts are there
been officers, corporations with government support in each nation? ....
This is work to be done and it is often unpleasant and boring. It leads to
victory...if not tomorrow morning then in the long term. Otherwise we
will certainly be beaten with PR sweet talk!)

Peter Loeb, Boston, MA , USA

David Cronin

David Cronin's picture

David Cronin is an associate editor of The Electronic Intifada. His latest book is Corporate Europe: How Big Business Sets Policies on Food, Climate and War (Pluto, 2013). His earlier book is Europe’s Alliance With Israel: Aiding the Occupation (Pluto, 2011).