World Jewish News
Italian MEP Martusciello: 70 years after the establishment of the State of Israel, Jews are still victims of displays of anti-Se
70 years after the establishment of the State of Israel, Jews are still victims of displays of anti-Semitism around the world, an Italian Member of the European Parliament deplored during an interparliamentary meeting with members of the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, in Jerusalem.
Fulvio Martusciello, who headed this week a delegation of eight members of the European Parliament, mentioned that during a recent judo competition in Abu Dhabi, the Israeli anthem was not played and the Israeli flag was not waved.
Martusciello, who chairs the European Parliament delegation for relations with Israel and is a member of the European People’s Party group (EPP), also accused Knesset Member Hanin Zoabi from the Joint Arab List of encouraging the anti-Semitic discourse against Israel by making false claims that are detached from reality. ”It is scandalous in my eyes that a Member of Knesset fuels the hatred towards the country she represents as a parliamentarian,” he said.
Yaakov Perry, who headed the Knesset`s delegation, said the Israeli parliament attaches great importance to the discussions with the European Parliament ”as a platform for inter-parliamentary discourse between friends.”
MK Perry wished to thank former EP President Martin Schulz for his call last year to return Jewish property that was looted during the Holocaust and to raise awareness of the issue.
He thanked the MEPs for approving last July a resolution calling on the EU countries and its institutions to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance`s working definition of anti-Semitism.
Perry, a former Shin Bet chief, also said the time has come for the EU to label the entire Hezbollah organization, and not just its military wing, as a terrorist group.
The EU currently only lists Hezbollah’s paramilitary wing as a terrorist group and not its ‘’political wng’’. Hezbollah is represented in both the Lebanese parliament and government.
Perry said Iran`s involvement in the northern region is becoming intense, despite Israel`s repeated requests that the international community work to reduce Iran`s involvement.
He further stressed that the State of Israel is opposed to the EU`s and United States` nuclear deal with Iran, saying it is a ”terrible agreement.” He denounces Iran’s funding of terror and argued that the EU`s policy on the Iranian issue should be more resolute.
The Speaker of th Knesset Yuli Edelstein, who aso attended the meeting, said he attaches great importance to the relations between Israel and the European Parliament. ”Terror attacks, which up until a few years ago were foreign to many in Europe, are now known to everyone,” he said, while noting the cooperation in the fight against global terror.
Elie Elalouf, a member of the Kulanu party, urged the MEPs to report what they saw in Israel and stop the criticism, which he said stems from ignorance. He added that in his opinion, at this stage Europe cannot influence the advancement of a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
His colleague Zouheir Bahloul from the Zionist Camp disagreed and stressed the importance of Europe`s role in settling the conflict, which he said was to be attentive to the needs of both sides. ”After 50 years, the time has come to end the occupation, leave the territories and give the Palestinians their freedom,” he said.
The fact that the Palestinians did not accept the Partition Plan ”does not annul their right forever,” MK Bahloul told the MEPs.
In response, Yaakov Perry, a member of the Yesh Atid party, said Israel has tried to reach an agreement with the Palestinians for the past 30 years. Israel, he said, cannot be accused of not wanting to reach a peace agreement. ”But it is true that a peace agreement has not been high on the list of priorities of Israel`s governments over the past decade,” MK Perry stated.
During the discussion, Martina Michels from Germany said her country is dealing with anti-Semites occupying key positions, but stressed that this does not reflect the general policy. ”We are not working against the State of Israel, and it is important to clarify this,” she said.
MEP Miltiadis Kyrkos from Greece, a member of the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D) expressed his gratitude for Israel`s cooperation with Greece and Cyprus on energy and said he hoped Turkey would join the negotiations with the rest of the Middle Eastern countries.
MEP Iveta Grigule-Peterse from Latvia, a member o the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (ALDE) said that as someone who represents another small country that is surrounded by unfriendly neighbors, she is impressed by Israel`s ability to survive in such an environment. She also expressed her support for Israel.
MEP Bastiaan Belder, from The Netherlands and a member of the Group Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) said the EU objects to the repeated threats to annihilate the State of Israel, adding that for him this is an ethical issue – how is it possible to work with a country that denies the history and rights of another country?