Targeting Israel viewed as terrorism by Europol

Europol has published a paper which suggests that protesters against Israel’s weapons industry are extremists. (Via Twitter)

Europol is a law enforcement agency that constantly preaches against drugs. So why did reading one of its latest reports make me hallucinate?

Focused on the “terrorism situation and trend,” the new paper presents Israel as an innocent victim of aggression.

“Israel remains a regular target of left-wing extremist propaganda, especially in connection with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” the report says.

“This was illustrated,” Europol claims, by an incident in Belgium during August 2022.

A 31-year-old “with sympathies to the Palestinian cause” set fire to “two armored military vehicles” using Molotov cocktails. The vehicles, the report states, were “parked in front of” offices belonging to an “Israeli defense corporation.”

A message was found at the scene “indicating the Israeli corporation as the target of the attack,” the report adds.

The incident was the only known case of “left-wing terrorism” in Belgium last year, the report suggests.

I contacted Europol asking why it regarded robust criticism of Israel as extremist or terrorist, given that Israel routinely subjects Palestinians to extreme violence.

A spokesperson replied that in describing the Belgian incident “there is no assessment made about the situation.” The relevant section in the paper contained “factual reporting only,” according to the spokesperson.

The report was, to put it charitably, economical with the facts.

Relevant facts were omitted.

It was not mentioned that the “Israeli defense corporation” targeted was Elbit Systems, a maker of drones used during attacks against Gaza and, more recently, the West Bank.

Nor did the Europol paper spell out that nobody was hurt when the two armored vehicles were set on fire in Belgium. By contrast, Israel and its weapons manufacturers are directly responsible for killing and maiming Palestinians, many of them children.

Contempt for due process

The Europol report betrays a contempt for due process.

It was based on “evidence” provided before a court case had been completed.

The presumption of innocence is a basic human right. That principle is enshrined in the European Union’s Charter of Fundamental Rights.

Europol – an EU agency – has trampled on that right.

The new Europol paper is problematic in other ways.

It compares the Belgian incident to protests by Palestine Action in Britain.

The inference that Palestine Action practices terrorism is abhorrent. By smashing up equipment owned by Elbit Systems, Palestine Action is trying to prevent Israel’s state terrorism.

That makes it very different from Europol, which is actually facilitating such terrorism. Europol has long cooperated with Israel’s police – a force based in occupied East Jerusalem that frequently kills Palestinians and demolishes their homes.

Unlike some other EU documents, the Europol paper distinguishes between opposition to Israel’s state ideology Zionism and hostility towards Jews based on their ethnicity or religion. It nonetheless alleges – without providing firm evidence – that anti-Semitism is widespread among the hard left.

The Europol paper says: “While left-wing extremists mostly feature anti-Zionist positions in support of Palestinians, accusing the state of Israel of imperialism, colonization and repression, anti-Jewish sentiments are also frequently presented, e.g. in connection with anti-capitalist conspiracy theorists. Left-wing extremists regularly engage in hate speech against Israel in demonstrations, publications and online.”

The phrase “left-wing extremist” is not explicitly defined in the Europol paper.

Yet the paper hints that it is extreme to aspire toward a classless society – in other words, to believe in equality for all. Campaigns for the abolition of Frontex – an EU body that expels refugees – and disruptive protests which underscore the urgent need to address climate change are also depicted as extremist in the Europol paper.

Red carpet for real extremists

Despite how they get their undergarments in a twist over perceived extremists, it is unlikely that Europol staff will take action against those extremists favored by the ruling class.

Just this week, two prominent EU representatives – Margaritis Schinas and Katharina von Schnurbein – welcomed Simcha Rothman to Brussels. A member of Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, Rothman is a key proponent of the judicial “reforms” that are viewed as unpalatable even by Joe Biden, the US president.

Rothman is an ally of Bezalel Smotrich, the self-described “fascist homophobe” who effectively heads Israel’s occupation of the West Bank.

Before his election to the Knesset, Rothman formed a lobby group along with leading followers of the late Meir Kahane, the racist firebrand who advocated the expulsion of Palestinians. Some of Rothman’s Kahanist chums are alleged to have taken part in the 1985 murder of Palestinian American activist Alex Odeh.

None of that is likely to be included when Europol next publishes a paper on terrorism.

Rothman was in Brussels for a conference about anti-Semitism – as defined by Israel and its lobbying network. The unpleasant details about his background seem to have been brushed under the red carpet rolled out by his hosts.