Can the Relationship Between Israel and Europe Change?

Experts from the Jerusalem Center and visitors from Europe at the conference

Can Israeli-European relations change? Experts from the Jerusalem Center and visitors from Europe at the conference

Due to the strains in European-Israeli relations, the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs has launched an initiative to find solutions to these differences and improve this relationship.

On March 19, 2018, a special conference took place at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs with several senior officials from various European countries on the subject of relations with Israel, attitudes toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, financing terror, conflict with Iran with regard to the nuclear deal, and the BDS issue.

The aim of the conference, titled “Israel-Europe Relations: A New Paradigm,” was to establish a new Israeli-European framework to face new challenges along the way and to develop potential new solutions to strengthen the mutual institutional and diplomatic relations between Europe and Israel.

Fiamma Nirenstein, the conference organizer, a researcher at the Center, and a former member of the Italian parliament, explained the reason why it was held.

“We invited several senior EU officials to the Center in order to try to devise a shared strategy for Israel and the other countries,” Ms. Nirenstein said. “It’s apparent that the European approach toward Israel is often disappointing and biased right from the beginning. In my opinion, Israel and the European countries have a lot in common, and it’s necessary to work together against the dangers of extremism, terror, economic problems, and the lack of democracy in the Middle East.”

Various researchers from the Jerusalem Center attended the event and also participated in the panel. These included the Center’s president Dr. Dore Gold, former ambassador Freddy Eytan, Dan Diker, Brig. Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser, former ambassador Alan Baker, former ambassador Zvi Mazel, Col. (ret.) Dr. Jacques Neriah, Dr. Shimon Shapira, and Pinhas Inbari.

Emanuel Giaufret

EU Ambassador Emanuele Giaufret

The sessions, which were closed to media coverage, aroused much interest. The various positions of the different countries in Europe toward Israel and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict were apparent, as was Europe’s approach as a whole. Guests from Italy, Belgium, Germany, Finland, France, and England also took part. EU Ambassador to Israel Emanuele Giaufret addressed the members of the panel, dealing with some difficult issues raised by the participants. A dinner with Energy Minister Professor Yuval Steinitz at the King David Hotel concluded the conference.

A List of Participants at the Conference

Participants from Europe

  1. Saad Amrani, Chief Commissioner of the Belgian Federal Police
  2. Volker Beck, Human right activist, Former German MP, Green Party, Head of the German-Israeli parliamentary friendship association in the former German Parliament
  3. Giulio Terzi di Sant’Agata, Former Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs
  4. François Heisbourg, Chair of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) Council
  5. Ignacio Cosidó, Spanish Senator, former Director of the Spanish Police
  6. Marco Carrai, Cyber-security entrepreneur, Advisor to former PM Renzi, Italy (via Skype)
  7. Tomas Sandell, European Coalition for Israel, Finland / European Parliament
  8. William Shawcross, Writer and commentator, former Chairman of the Charity Commission for England and Wales
  9. Daniel Schwammenthal, Director, AJC Transatlantic Institute, Brussels
  10. Benjamin Weinthal, Jerusalem PostColumnist, Research fellow, Foundation for Defense of Democracies

Jerusalem Center Participants

  1. Amb. Dore Gold, President of the Jerusalem Center, former Ambassador to the UN and former Director General of the Ministry on Foreign Affairs
  2. Fiamma Nirenstein, Director of the JCPA European Project, former Vice-president of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Italian Chamber of Deputies
  3. Gen. Yossi Kuperwasser, former Director General of the Ministry of Strategic Affairs
  4. Dan Diker, Director of the Political Warfare Project, expert on BDS
  5. Amb. Freddy Eytan, former Foreign Ministry senior advisor, Israel-Europe Project, director of Le Cape, the Jerusalem Center website in French
  6. Amb. Alan Baker, Director of the Institute for Contemporary Affairs and head of the Global Law Forum
  7. Pinchas Inbari, Senior expert on Palestinian Affairs
  8. Chaya Herskovic, Director General of the Jerusalem Center
  9. Dr. Jacques Neriah, expert on Arab world. Former Foreign Policy Advisor to Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Deputy Head for Assessment of Israeli Military Intelligence
  10. Amb. Zvi Mazel, former Israel’s Ambassador to Sweden, Romania, and Egypt
  11. Dr. Shimon Shapira, Former Military-Secretary to the Prime Minister and Israel Foreign Ministry chief of staff
  12. Lenny Ben David, Director of Publications of the Jerusalem Center
  13. Jennifer Roskies, Senior Advisor to Amb. Dore Gold
  14. Yoni Ben Menachem, Former Director General and Chief Editor of the Israel Broadcasting Authority, JCPA Senior Middle East analyst