(February 26, 2019 / JNS) When the British decided almost three years ago to leave the European Union, many Israelis rejoiced.
Why? Because “the E.U.’s attitude towards Israel reflects the lowest common denominator in Europe,” in the words of one Israeli ambassador. Therefore, when such an important European power quits the E.U., or in other words weakens the irritating institutions in Brussels, it isn’t surprising that Israelis feel a sense of relief.
Ever since that decision, we’ve seen continuous improvement in Britain’s approach to Israel. The Palestinian obsession has waned, along with the customary condemnations. Meanwhile, commerce and cooperation are soaring, and another important benchmark was reached on Monday: Great Britain will label Hezbollah, both its diplomatic and military wings, a terrorist organization.
The incessant refusal of Germany, France, Italy, and of course, the E.U. itself to define the murderous organization accurately is the height of folly. Because the Europeans haven’t only failed to call Hezbollah by its name—a terrorist organization—but have sought to whitewash their collective conscience by concocting the flimsy distinction between its “military wing,” which they have outlawed, and “diplomatic wing,” which they maintain is legitimate.
This distinction doesn’t exist; Hezbollah itself rejects it. Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah has never separated the two. The same evil guides both.
The Europeans know all this, but as usual, they are playing make-believe. For years, Israel has inundated them with information and explanations about the nature of Hezbollah, but when has discussing facts with the Europeans ever been possible?
Were it not for their expected exit from the E.U., we can assume that the British, too, would still be playing pretend. These are the rules of the E.U., which imposes uniform foreign policy on all its members. The Brexit climate, therefore, is now allowing London to diverge from Brussel’s path.
Thank heavens, indeed, for allowing us to reach this day. A few years ago, it was revealed that in the 1970s, Europe embraced Yasser Arafat because it feared that the PLO would carry out terrorist attacks on its soil. It isn’t a stretch to assume that today, too, the E.U.’s untruthful position is guided by dread over potential Hezbollah attacks.
Some fears can only be cured by Brexit.
Ariel Kahana is a diplomatic correspondent for Israel Hayom.