Ellen,EllenS wrote: ↑Sat Aug 29, 2020 2:04 am1. You keep mentioning how "useful" Israeli brains and treasure would be to the EU, so whats in it for Israel they don't already have?
2. What would Israel gain by giving up its sovereignty to the EU? More important to Israelis is what might it lose?
This is a very interesting question that should be a thread unto itself. Feelings in Israel as to whether it should be interested in joining the EU have evolved significantly since the mid-1990's when over 70% of Israeli citizens supported joining the EU and much of the political leadership did as well.
Today, only about 35% support entering the EU, and that number has steadily been declining. Arab citizens strongly support this, while Jewish citizens strongly oppose it. What is even more interesting is that even among Ashkenazi Jews - the group that used to enthusiastically endorse closer ties to Europe, there is now strong opposition to the EU. This mostly has to do with the changing culture and identity of the Jewish state, and the travails of Jewish history as they are still manifested today, and not economics. Economically speaking, Israel has no interest in tying itself to a demographically and economically declining Europe. India, China, and the rest of Asia, as well as Israel's greatest ally the US, are all much more auspicious economic partners for the future.
But, it is the emotional and cultural identity issues that have been most responsible for changing the views of the Jewish citizens, in my view. Israel today is not ruled by a secular Ashkenazi elite that views itself as European and craves approval from its former persecuters. Many of the culture and political activists today are Mizrachi (middle eastern) and even Ethiopian. The current Ashkenazi leadership comes also from former Soviet citizens and former Americans. None of these people identify with Europe.
Who identifies with Europe? The discredited leftist Ashkenazim who gave us the murderous Oslo "peace" process. And the nonZionist Arab Muslim citizens who applaud the anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic basis for much of the European attitude toward Israel. We all know, both Arabs and Jews, what Europeans think about the Jewish People, its culture, its tragic history in Europe, and its perilous condition in the Middle East. EU spokesmen never fail to remind us how much they despise us and our success. Every utterance that comes out of the EU foreign policy leadership reconfirms this view. Does anyone really think that binding Israel to this collection of people with their never changing contempt for Jews could possibly be good for Israel? The minute the Palestinians declare another intifada or participate in another war with one of our neighbors, the EU will threaten Israel with an economic boycott if it dares to defend itself.
Also, the EU is an opponent of US influence in the world. If Israel has to take a side, obviously and correctly, it would support the US over the EU. So, clearly, it cannot join the EU with that set of priorities and preferences.
Hence, Israel will never join the EU. In my view, it should join an Asian economic and defense group, because that is the continent it actually belongs to. Perhaps when Bibi retires, he can start a new pan-Asian organization that won't be throttled by Arab blackmail, and that could serve as a useful place for international cooperation of states that want progress for their citizens, not endless war and hatred. The Arabs have their Arab League to promote war and hatred, and the Iranians have their Shiite axis for the same purpose. And soon, Erdogan will have his neo-Ottoman group of colonies and sycophants. Israel belongs to the rising and optimistic nations of Asia that want progress.
I do sympathize with your views and I'm afraid most Israelis see it that way. But one thing are Europe's rulers, another are the various European peoples.
Coming from Portugal, where 25% of the population has Jewish ancestors and where a law was passed a few years ago recognizing Portuguese citizenship to all descendants of the Sephardic Jews who were expelled in the 15th century from Portugal, and who wish to obtain our nationality, I may not be representative of the European public opinion. I can only say that there is no antisemitism whatsoever in Portugal, and that having Israel joining the EU would be welcome by most of us.
But even in countries where antisemitism is still visible, like France, I have no doubts that the overwhelming majority of people are not antisemitic, even if they may not agree with current Israeli policies. Most people would welcome Israel in the EU if the so-called "Palestinian problem" was solved. Muslim terrorism has, I'm sure, somewhat changed our view of that "problem", so I wouldn't be surprised if an increasing number of people in Europe were ready to accept the one state solution, provided Palestinians living in the West Bank were given Israeli citizenship and equality of rights with the Jewish Israelis.
Having the US as allies, would Israel need Europe? I think it would, because the US is not only generally detested everywhere in the world, but because it is highly unreliable. Any friends of the US will also be the targets of all that hatred, and American decadence will make any dependence on the US a very risky business in the future. A diplomatic solution for the Israeli-Arab conflict is a lot easier with Europe as an intermediary, than with the help of the US which is not seen as an honest power broker. The US is only useful - for the time being - because of its military might. But the Israeli-Arab conflict cannot be for ever solved by military means alone. Besides, I am not even sure that the US will be able to impose its will by force in the ME for much longer.