Foreign Minister on Tuesday rebuked Europe for ‘once again ignoring calls to destroy the state of Israel’; Livni: Israel’s policies must change.
Opposition leader and Hatnuah Chairwoman Tzipi Livni on Wednesday blasted Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman for comparing the European Union’s policy toward Israel on the Palestinian issue to the behavior of European countries toward the Jews during the period of the Holocaust.
“Comparing Israel’s situation today to the Holocaust is contempt for the Holocaust,” Livni said during a conference organized by the Jerusalem Post in Herzliya. “It’s an incorrect comparison, and incomprehensible. There is absolutely no similarity between the situation of Israeli citizens today to that of European Jews then. Not everybody is against us, and not everyone is anti-Semitic.”
The fact that the international community criticizes the policies of the current government does not mean that the world does not accept Israel as a state, Livni added.
“I think this policy must change,” said Livni, “not as a favor to the world, but because it is in Israel’s basic interest.”
“Renewing negotiations with the Palestinians won’t just maintain Israel’s value as a Jewish and democratic state, but will also stop the erosion, and will give Israel back the legitimacy for military action when necessary, and for preserving its security interests,” added Livni.
In an interview to Israel Radio on Tuesday, Lieberman was asked to react to the EU foreign ministers’ decision on Monday to condemn Israel for advancing the plan to build in E-1.
Interviewer Aryeh Golan also mentioned the report in Newsweek magazine to the effect that United States President Barack Obama intends to let Europe apply pressure to Israel on the issue of the peace process with the Palestinians. “Are you satisfied with this?” Golan asked Lieberman.
In reply, the foreign minister launched into a fierce, and perhaps, unprecedented attack on the EU. “I can tell you what I am not satisfied with,” said Lieberman. “I am not satisfied with the position of Europe, which once again in history is ignoring calls to destroy the state of Israel … Europe is keeping silent. The call yesterday [Monday], what we saw, is not a condemnation of Hamas statements but rather a call to the heads of Hamas to refrain from incitement. We have already been through this with Europe at the end of the 1930s and in the 1940s.”
In his remarks Lieberman related to the speeches by Hamas political bureau head Khaled Meshal this weekend in Gaza, during the course of which he called for annihilating Israel. Contrary to Lieberman’s statement, along with the condemnation of Israel the European foreign ministers did in fact condemn Meshal’s remarks. “The EU finds inflammatory statements by Hamas leaders that deny Israel’s right to exist unacceptable,” they declared.
The radio interviewer asked Lieberman whether he is accusing the EU of anti-Semitism. “It isn’t an anti-Semitic motive but rather it’s a narrow motive of interests,” replied Lieberman. “They [the EU] are sacrificing all values in favor of interests. Then too, back in the 1940s. They already knew by the start of the 1940s exactly what was happening in the concentration camps, what was happening with the Jews and didn’t exactly act. Today they admit that even in the 1930s they prevented Jews for coming to the land of Israel.”