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Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
Strategic Alliances for a Secure, Connected, and Prosperous Region

Europe’s Consistent Anti-Israeli Bias at the United Nations

Filed under: Anti-Semitism, Europe and Israel
Publication: Post-Holocaust and Anti-Semitism

  • Europe’s voting record at the United Nations shows a longstanding anti-Israeli bias. Every year the UN General Assembly passes between 18 and 22 anti-Israeli resolutions. The Europeans abstain in some cases, but mainly support these resolutions.

  • These anti-Israeli resolutions often contain language that prejudges the outcome of final state negotiations between Israel and the Arabs. Israel’s rights to secure boundaries have been eroded over the years in the UN, with direct European assistance.

  • The European Union can influence thirty or forty votes in the General Assembly, making the EU its superpower. Therefore, EU participation in Israel’s demonization at the UN becomes a much broader global problem.

  • France plays a particularly negative role in the formation of an anti-Israeli European position at the UN.


“Europe’s voting record at the United Nations shows a longstanding anti-Israeli bias,” says Dore Gold, president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and former Israeli ambassador to the United Nations. Many member states in the UN system dismiss the significance for Israel of nonbinding resolutions in the General Assembly or the Human Rights Commission.

“Every year the UN General Assembly passes between 18 and 22 anti-Israeli resolutions. Only Israel, the United States, Micronesia, and perhaps a few other Pacific Island states vote against these resolutions. In the past, Costa Rica did also. The Europeans abstain in some cases, but mainly support these resolutions together with the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).”


Prejudging Final State Negotiations

“The anti-Israeli resolutions often contain language that prejudges the outcome of final state negotiations between Israel and the Arabs. The basis of the peace process from its inception was UN Security Council Resolution 242. Its language indicated that it did not envision Israel’s full withdrawal from the territories it captured in the June 1967 Six Day War. It foresaw Israel withdrawing from territories, but not the territories, to secure and recognized boundaries. Indeed, George Brown, Britain’s Foreign Secretary in 1967, remarked several years later: ‘the proposal said ‘Israel will withdraw from territories that were occupied,’ not from ‘the territories’ which means that Israel will not withdraw from all the territories.

“The argument made sometimes by European diplomats that because the French text states des territoires, a full withdrawal is required by Israel does not hold water. For Resolution 242 was drafted by the British ambassador to the UN, Lord Caradon; the negotiation over its language was conducted in English. And many times in idiomatic translation of English into French, what is indefinite is rendered definite with no change of meaning. Yet this European interpretation of Israel’s withdrawal obligations under Resolution 242 has persisted. As late as October 2004, Javier Solana, the European Union’s High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy, argued in an interview in Der Spiegel that he peace process must ‘lead to a withdrawal from all occupied territories.’

“In contrast, back in 1967 the UN Security Council recognized that Israel had territorial claims, and not just the Arab parties to the conflict. This made the West Bank and Gaza Strip disputed territories, as Israel had claims to part of them for secure and recognized boundaries. The Arab side, represented by Jordan until 1988 and afterward by the Palestinians, has a claim for sovereignty as well.

“Israel’s rights to secure boundaries have been eroded over the years in the UN, with direct European assistance. The Palestinians have effectively used General Assembly resolutions to define the disputed West Bank and Gaza Strip as ‘occupied Palestinian territory.’ The Europeans never objected to that and voted automatically on texts that contained that language, even though it assigned disputed territory to one of the parties in advance of negotiations.”


Eroding Israel’s Claim to Jerusalem

Gold observes: “European diplomacy has also sought to erode Israel’s claims in Jerusalem. On 15 February 1998, the Israeli government received information that the Palestinian Authority (PA) planned to invite the entire diplomatic corps to the Orient House in Jerusalem for political briefings. Given that the Oslo Agreements (Article I, Paragraph 7) gave Israel exclusive jurisdiction in Jerusalem for the interim period, the Israeli government notified the diplomatic corps to refrain from attending the proposed PA briefings.

“Two weeks later, however, on 1 March 1998, Germany responded to the Israeli note, in the name of the entire European Union, that Jerusalem had been designated in the past as a corpus separatum (a separate entity) from the Jewish state, according to UN General Assembly Resolution 181 (which the Arab states rejected in 1947). After the UN failed to defend this international entity from the invading armies of Arab states, Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, declared that the UN’s Jerusalem proposal was ‘null and void,’ yet the Europeans revived it fifty-one years later. As a consequence, the European Union was adopting a position that violated the Oslo Accords, called into question Israeli rights in East Jerusalem, and even undermined Israel’s standing in the western part of Jerusalem, as well!

“Indeed, Aba ‘Ala, the speaker of the Palestinian parliament, concluded on 13 March 1998: ‘the [EU’s] letter asserts that Jerusalem in both its parts – the Western and Eastern – is a land under occupation.’ European diplomacy had managed to revive a moribund UN resolution, undermine vital Israeli interests, and introduce totally unrealistic goals into the Palestinian political discourse.”


Abusing the Geneva Convention and International Humanitarian Law

“A similar European attitude was manifested in the Emergency Special Sessions of the General Assembly. These are convened when approximately ninety UN member states call for them. Such a session can take place at any time of year, not just when the General Assembly is sitting from September to December. The concept of an Emergency Special Session was initiated by U.S. Secretary of State Dean Acheson in 1950, when the U.S. wanted to circumvent the Security Council and discuss the Korean War in a more friendly body where the Soviet Union had no veto.

“The UN is frequently unable to take any measures with respect to genocides taking place; for instance, in Rwanda, or more recently in Darfur in the Sudan. They do not succeed in convening either Emergency Special Sessions or the Security Council. Yet such sessions are used, with European support, to discuss issues of infinitely less gravity for international peace and security that involve Israel.

“For instance, in July 1997 the Arab states successfully convened an Emergency Special Session of the General Assembly, dealing with Israeli building practices in East Jerusalem at Har Homa, a barren hill. The use of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague with respect to the separation fence was also through such an Emergency Special Session.

“In the entire UN history, perhaps nine or ten Emergency Special Sessions have been convened. Sometimes the same session was reconvened a number of times. Almost all dealt with the Middle East and Israel. I was ambassador at the UN in 1997, when the aforementioned Emergency Special Session convened to discuss Israeli building at Har Homa. It recommended that the High Contracting Parties of the Fourth Geneva Convention, that is, the signatories of the 1949 Convention that deals with the protection of civilians in times of war, be convened to take measures addressing Israeli violations of it.

“In order to prepare myself, I asked my colleagues in the Israeli Foreign Ministry over which issues the High Contracting Parties of the Fourth Geneva Convention had convened before to discuss so-called violations. I inquired whether it met when the Soviets invaded Afghanistan or Czechoslovakia? When Vietnam invaded Cambodia, Turkey invaded Cyprus, India invaded Pakistani territory, or Morocco invaded the Western Sahara?

“The reply was that in none of these cases were Emergency Special Sessions of the General Assembly convened. It turned out that in about fifty years of the Fourth Geneva Convention’s existence the international community had never recommended the convening of its High Contracting Parties concerning any conflict. This despite many major cases violating international peace and security. The only case that remains until today is the building of condominiums on a Jerusalem hill. This was done with full European support. This assault additionally leads to the politicization of international humanitarian law, and the undermining of international conventions.”


No Changes after Oslo

“In the Security Council the five permanent members, the United States, Russia, the UK, France, and China, have veto power. Therefore, Israel’s American friends can protect it. In the General Assembly, however, or in any other UN bodies, no such protection exists.

“When I canvassed diplomats, I would ask the ambassadors of, for instance, Argentina, Japan, or even the Russian Federation how they were going to vote at the Emergency Special Session. They frequently answered: ‘It depends on what the European Union does.’ The impact of the EU goes well beyond the borders of this collective body. It can influence thirty or forty votes in the General Assembly, making the EU its superpower. Therefore, EU participation in Israel’s demonization at the UN becomes a much broader global problem.

“The PLO is reluctant to get the UN to adopt resolutions on the basis of NAM majorities only. Its observer Nasser al Kidwe can automatically mobilize at the UN 114 votes out of 194 from the NAM countries. These are the states, mainly African and Asian, that originally met at Bandung in 1955. The PLO, however, prefers a quality majority defined as one including the EU. Here, too, the EU has an impact far beyond its numbers as it can affect the calculus of the anti-Israeli resolutions initiated by the PLO and the Arab-countries group.

“Many people have been under the illusion that Israel’s relations with the United Nations – and therefore also European voting patterns therein – actually improved in the 1990s during the period when the Oslo Agreements were implemented. One of the first things I did when I arrived in New York for my job in 1997 was to take out the thick books of voting patterns to see how the various UN members voted on critical issues relating to Israel.

“The findings were completely contrary to this myth of a wonderful Israeli romance with the UN during the 1990s. The first Oslo Agreement was signed on 13 September 1993. Within three months and one day from that signing on 14 December 1993, the UN General Assembly began to adopt its usual series of anti-Israeli resolutions.”


France’s Negative Role

“In July 2004 the General Assembly adopted a resolution supporting the advisory opinion of the ICJ on the separation fence Israel is building. One might have expected that the EU would abstain in this vote. Originally the Emergency Special Session of the General Assembly sought the ICJ advisory opinion without European support. Subsequently many European states sent letters to the Court objecting to the effort made by the Arab states at the General Assembly to create jurisdiction on this issue, which in the past would only be created by the agreement of two parties in a dispute.

“The European countries had expressed their view that the ICJ’s jurisdiction was questionable. Once the ICJ ruled against Israel they should thus have abstained or voted against a resolution calling on Israel to adhere to the ICJ’s nonbinding advisory opinion. Instead, under French leadership, the European Union voted for this resolution.

“The European collective is frequently neutral on issues at the UN. Then often in meetings of the EU diplomats the French ambassador tries to break the consensus and move the entire group in an anti-Israeli direction. Rather than pressure France, the Europeans tend to be dragged along with its position. Therefore, France plays a particularly negative role in the formation of an anti-Israeli European position at the UN.”


Going Light on Genocidal Acts in the Arab States

“The UN Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) is another distorted body, which devotes 25-30 percent of its resolutions to Israel. It also often ignores human rights violations in countries such as China and Syria.

“In April 2002, the UNHRC affirmed in one of its many resolutions the legitimate right of the Palestinian people to ‘resist Israeli occupation.’ It is not atypical for the UNHRC to adopt such resolutions, but this vote occurred after a Hamas suicide bomber had killed thirty Israelis and wounded 140 in the Park Hotel on 27 March 2002. This led to Israel launching Operation Defensive Shield.

“The UNHRC resolution condemned that operation. It affirmed a previous UN General Assembly resolution from 1982 that recognized ‘the legitimacy of the struggle of peoples from colonial and foreign domination by all available means, including armed struggle.’ For the UNHRC to support this ‘armed struggle’ at that moment was nothing short of support of suicide bombers.

“Not all EU members sit on the UNHRC. Of the ones that do, Britain and Germany voted against the resolution in Geneva. But Austria, Belgium, and France – three main European countries – voted for the resolution. An Israeli who looks at that historical sequence – the bombing in Netanya, the condemning of Israeli military operations, and some reference to an old UN resolution about the legitimacy of armed operations – must wonder what value structure is affecting the voting patterns of these three European countries.”


Sudan and the UNHRC

“Recently, Sudan became a member of the UNHRC at the same time that its Arab militias have been massacring black African Muslim tribes in the Darfur area. According to UN sources, some fifty thousand people have been killed and there are approximately 1.2 million refugees. The UNHRC cannot handle this growing problem, which is becoming increasingly similar to the Rwanda type of genocide against an African people.

“The Europeans have only very belatedly begun to take a position against Sudanese behavior in Darfur, looking for a remedy in the UN Security Council. This is almost a year and a half after the crisis broke out, and many people have died already. Yet I have not seen any evidence that the Europeans are aware of a double standard in how they deal with Israel on the one hand and the Arab world on the other.

“The Europeans generally want to close their eyes. They may initiate very limited diplomatic activity on Sudanese human rights violations. However, it is in their interest to keep the pressure on Israel and to go light on radical Arab or Islamic states.”



Another problematic UN body is the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). Gold comments: “This refugee organization was probably born in sin. The treatment of refugees throughout the world in various wars was usually handled by the UN High Commission of Refugees (UNHCR). Two exceptions were made in the conflicts involving Israel and Korea, where specialized refugee organizations were created. The UNHCR has usually sought the settlement of refugees in the countries where they are located. UNRWA instead seems to have helped perpetuate the refugee status of the Palestinian refugees.

“The eminent Middle East historian Bernard Lewis wrote in the Wall Street Journal that after the first Indian-Pakistani war there were twelve million refugees. The UN, however, was completely uninvolved. The refugees were accommodated by both sides even though the conflict was not completely resolved. In the case of the first Arab-Israeli conflict in 1948, which occurred at the same time, the UN was heavily involved in establishing UN agencies to take care of the Palestinian refugees. The problem has persisted to this very day.

“What has made UNRWA even more problematic is that it hires local Palestinians into its ranks without filtering out those who may have links with terrorist organizations. The various UNRWA unions are dominated by organizations such as Hamas. UNRWA may argue that their role is only to supply humanitarian aid and they do not operate the refugee camps. But by incorporating into their ranks members of terrorist organizations, by acquiescing to Palestinian textbooks in UNRWA schools that demonize Israel and the Jewish people, UNRWA has become a full-fledged partner in the continuing Palestinian militancy toward the conflict.”


Europe’s Role in Demonizing Israel

Gold stresses the possible consequences of the demonization of Israel at the UN. “Let us assume that a person who has no understanding of international history looks at UN behavior. He may read the resolutions of the General Assembly in recommending actions to the ICJ or the convening of the High Contracting Parties of the Fourth Geneva Convention. He would notice the amount of time devoted to Israeli issues at the UNHRC. He would have to conclude that Israel must be one of the worst countries in the world in terms of its human rights and international behavior.

“He could only think that Israel’s behavior is much worse than that of Burma, the Central African Republic, Zimbabwe, and others among the most flagrant violators of human rights. The continued imbalance in these resolutions, in the minds of people who do not know the truth, assists the demonizing of Israel.

“Somebody with little knowledge of history, who did not know about the Holocaust and who attacked whom in 1948 in the Middle East, could easily reach dangerous conclusions. For instance, that because, according to the UN, Israel acts in a demonic way, this is related to something more fundamental in the Israeli population. From Israel’s distorted record at the UN to demonizing the entire Jewish people is then a short step. This process binds anti-Zionism, the attack on the legitimate rights of Jewish people, with anti-Semitism. The basis of this perception has been laid with the support of the EU.”


Lack of Proportionality

Gold clarifies: “Everybody has the right to disagree with Israeli policy, criticize it, and claim that it is not in line with international norms. The proportional diplomatic response to that would be a statement of a Foreign Ministry by a low-level official, not an action of convening the Emergency Special Session of the General Assembly.

“In military affairs one talks about proportionality. If a terrorist from a neighboring state comes to attack civilians, the attacked state can respond, for instance, by destroying the terrorist camp. It should not, however, bomb the neighboring country’s capital into oblivion. No code of proportionality exists when it comes to the diplomatic response to Israel. The UN’s attitude toward Israel is as toward one of the worst offenders in international history.

“Simultaneously, UN organizations are infamous for shifting blame away from themselves. If the UN was ineffective in preventing the major genocide in Rwanda, the UN spokesman will say this was because of the member states of the Security Council. To sum it up more popularly: the UN says that it is a catering hall, which is not responsible for the poisoned food provided there.”


Moral Bankruptcy

“The European position at the UN on the fence conflict is not only an important indicator of European political unfairness toward Israel but also of moral bankruptcy. The fence emanated from the total failure of the Palestinian Authority (PA) to implement its responsibilities under the Oslo Agreements to police the area under its jurisdiction. The PA not only failed to prevent terrorism by Hamas or Islamic Jihad and uproot their infrastructure. It also engaged in terrorist acts through its Tanzim militia including suicide bomb”As long as the issue of terrorism coming from areas under Palestinian jurisdiction is not addressed, anyone who opposes the fence wishes to leave Israelis defenseless, thus condoning, indirectly, their elimination. I am, however, not sure that the European opponents of the fence have understood the full implications of what they are proclaiming.

“The Europeans never present Israel with a remedy for its security situation. They claim that if Israel uses targeted killings against the Hamas leadership, that is unacceptable. They complain about Israeli roadblocks to inspect whether a Palestinian ambulance carries a suicide bomber. They charge Israel with human rights violations if it imposes closures. That is followed up by saying Israel cannot build the security fence to protect itself. In other words, Israel should leave itself open to further terrorist attacks.”


Embracing Arafat, Paymaster of Suicide Bombers

“At the same time, Europe and particularly France embraced Yasser Arafat. In June 2004, French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier came to visit him in Ramallah, which is almost unexplainable. It has been proven and documented, in a way exceptional in the history of international relations, that Arafat has personally supported terrorism. A few years ago, Arafat connected himself through his financial adviser Fuad Shubaki to Iran and the supply of terrorist weapons to the PA on the Karin-A weapons ship.

“How could Barnier treat Arafat respectfully when Israel has irrefutable evidence that the latter paid Tanzim operatives involved in suicide attacks? Israel has a list of the terrorist operatives Arafat financed, and the request for payment from Marwan Barghouti, then head of Fatah in the West Bank. Arafat’s signature is on the page with the amounts paid to the murderers.

“Intelligence organizations always have problems coming up with proof that countries such as Iran and Iraq or organizations such as Al Qaeda have committed specific crimes. In the case of Arafat and the PA, Israel has fully documented proof to show his involvement in suicide bombings. It is rare in international history that such detailed documentation exists.”


Theology and Politics

As for the difference between the Christian demonology of the Jews and the new one of Israel, Gold remarks, “The ancient anti-Semitism is based on theological arguments. The new anti-Semitism rests on political argumentation. Both are based on false charges against the Jewish people.”

Asked whether the Europeans are aware of the similarity in their actions to the classic demonology of the Jews and what the latter has led to, Gold replies, “In the past Israeli diplomacy has not confronted the Europeans with this direct charge. In the last three to four years we have seen an explosion of anti-Semitism around the world. That makes it far more relevant to discuss with Europeans this very dangerous trend.

“Often in politics people have a fundamental belief that if two parties can sit at a table and if only good food and wine is served, they can reach a reasonable solution. Europeans think that resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is like resolving a small territorial dispute in Europe somewhere during the post-World War II period.

“As the European Union consolidates itself and European states give up state sovereignty to a regional body, perhaps many expect Israel to follow the more conciliatory rules of this ‘post-nation-state era’ – but Israel is defending itself against ultranationalist and fundamentalist entities, a fact that European critics somehow ignore. This reflects naïveté about the real, difficult political situation in the Middle East.”


Intellectual Weakness

“In the meantime new diplomatic problems are developing for Israel with Europe, which might be the result of 9/11. Americans have correctly concluded what were the sources of the hatred that drove the nineteen Arab hijackers to seize aircrafts and attack the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. The 9/11 Commission, which in July 2004 released its report on the sources of the attack, rightly ascribes the blame to a militant strain of Islam that has grown in parts of the world over the past several years.

“Many Europeans, however, have a different view. They try to explain Islamic militancy’s hatred toward the West in terms of the latter’s support for Israel’s existence. The classic demonization in the UN is now combined with a European desire to pressure Israel into solving what they claim is their primary security problem. The Europeans simply believe that further Israeli concessions to the Palestinians will reduce the level of hostility of militant Islam toward them.

“This is an intellectually false argument. The sources of the hatred toward the West come from such organizations as the Muslim Brotherhood, established in Egypt in 1928, or the Wahhabi movement in Saudi Arabia, which dates from 1744. The combined efforts of these two movements are called Salafism. They are the prime source of the contemporary radicalization of Muslim communities. These movements grew well before the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948. They are first and foremost anti-Western – viewing Christians and Jews as infidels regardless of Israel.

“It was during the decade of the 1990s, when Israel made its greatest concessions to the Palestinians through the Oslo Agreements, that al-Qaeda actually grew! In short, contrary to European assumptions, there is no correlation between the extent of Israeli concessions and the reduction of militant Muslim rage at the West.

“It is hard to understand the source of this European intellectual weakness. One always wonders whether it is out of political convenience, or do they truly believe this? Either way it is an extremely dangerous assumption. It leads Europe to distance itself from the Jewish state rather than try to work together to create a more stable and eventually more peaceful Middle East.”


Differences between EU Countries

Are there differences in individual European countries’ attitudes toward Israel? Gold says that when he was ambassador at the UN he used to think that any country in the range of the Libyan missile force was hostile. This meant that Northern Europe was friendly and Southern Europe was unfriendly to Israel. That was a very simplistic notion.

“Many things have changed since I left the UN in 1999. The rise of Silvio Berlusconi and his party in Italy has created a policy far more open to Israel and far more suspicious of the extremist forces in the Arab world. In contrast, Israel’s problems with Sweden and Denmark have increased. There is only one constant in all this, and that is France’s anti-Israeli bias.

“An important negative development for Israel in the last five years is that the European countries are attempting to develop a common foreign and security policy. They see their voting in the UN as an important tool for a unified stand. In July 1997, Germany broke the consensus with the EU and refused to go along with the Emergency Special Session vote on Israeli condominium construction in Jerusalem at Har Homa. Since then, that kind of behavior has become more and more rare.”

Is it by chance that France, which leads Europe in political anti-Israeli bias, is also the country where anti-Semitism is the greatest problem? Gold says, “It is theoretically conceivable that a European country takes a strong anti-Israeli position, yet seeks to protect the rights of its own Jewish citizens. The question is what are the sources of French policy? It is difficult to determine that precisely.

“It seems that the outbreak of anti-Semitism, which has not been adequately addressed, is also influenced by radical elements that dominate the Muslim community in France. Muslims do not have to have an adversarial relationship with Jews. In France, however, there has been a rise of the combined radical Islamic ideology coming from the Saudi Wahhabis and the militant Shi’ite leadership in Iran. It has been affected sometimes by the Muslim Brotherhood as well. The considerations of a large Muslim minority may influence French foreign policy. If so, some sources of domestic policy toward the Jews and foreign policy toward Israel are complementary.”


The Europeans’ Problematic Behavior

While the Europeans continually teach Israel lessons of morality, their own behavior is problematic. Says Gold: “The lessons the Europeans learned from Yugoslavia – and again in particular the French – are not good ones. There was no resolution of the Yugoslav problem as long as the UN and NATO were partners and the UN thus held one key to it. Only when American airpower became fully engaged in Bosnia in 1995 could the Bosnian problem begin to be resolved.

“The lessons of both Bosnia and Kosovo for the Europeans are not that their moral dedication to solving conflicts is inadequate. It is, rather, that Europe is too dependent on the United States. The Americans helped the Europeans out in Kosovo. Yet the Europeans do not acknowledge that they cannot solve their problems alone. Being self-critical is very difficult. Thus it is easier to resent the Big Brother across the Atlantic whose help was critical in reaching some sort of decisive outcome.

“Had the U.S. stayed out of the conflict, I believe the process of ethnic cleansing, of all parts of Bosnia, would have continued. Mostly with respect to those who opposed the Serbs, like the Muslims. It would also have advanced further with respect to other groups in Croatia and also concerning the Serb and Gypsy minorities in Kosovo. I have never heard an explanation from the Europeans about the ethnic cleansing on their continent of the Krajina Serbs, which lasts till today.

“We are also facing a very ironic situation with European countries and the threats emanating from the Middle Eastern region. Europe is closer geographically to the Middle East, and therefore more vulnerable to developments in ballistic missile technology and weapons of mass destruction than distant America. Yet it is the U.S. that is more concerned with the national security implications of missile proliferation, and of weapons of mass destruction.

“The Iraq War exposed Europe’s internal divisions. The message of French and German policy during the war was that it was better to leave Saddam Hussein in power. In contrast, the United Kingdom and also other European countries, including Spain and Italy, allied themselves with the U.S. in his removal. This is a further indicator that the struggle for Europe’s soul is still an open one. This has huge implications for the world’s stability and in particular for Israel’s security.”


What Should Israel Do?

“Israelis should not throw up their hands, but rather ask how we remedy the situation. We have to expose and hold up a mirror to our European adversaries and point out the full implications of the policies they advocate.

“Europe wants to have a role in the Middle East. It struggled very hard with the Bush administration to become a member of the diplomatic Quartet. European diplomats often say to Israel that Europe wants to be helpful in the peace process. At the same time, other European diplomats at the UN prejudge the outcome of what that peace process is supposed to look like, which validates Israel’s suspicious attitude toward the European contribution to diplomacy. Israel cannot allow Europe a role when it will not even grant Israel the most minimal right under Article 51 of the UN Charter, which calls for the right of self-defense. The European states have now embraced the determination by the ICJ advisory opinion on the security fence that Israel does not have that right in the case of internal terrorism emanating from the West Bank or the Gaza Strip. Nevertheless, Israel itself has a responsibility to build bridges, where it can, with Europe.

“Israel has to build islands of goodwill around those Europeans who are supportive of it. We should begin to create a coalition of like-minded individuals and countries that can advocate a course of action that will lead to a strengthening of Western resolve on the war on terrorism, which is our primary threat.

“Through coordinated action one should also support the forces in the Muslim and Arab worlds that want a more pluralistic and tolerant form of leadership, government, and religious values in their own countries. Those people will, however, never be encouraged if the bottom line of European policy is just to cozy up to the dictators and to ignore the call for Middle Eastern democracy.”

Interviewed by Manfred Gerstenfeld

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Dr. Dore Gold is president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. Previously, he served as Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations (1997-1999). He earned his Ph.D in international relations and Middle East studies from Columbia University. He is the author of the best-selling Hatred’s Kingdom (Washington D.C: Regnery Publishing, 2004) and Tower of Babble (New York: Crown Forum, 2004).