A private meeting between Prime Minister Netanyahu and the leaders of Hungary, Slovakia, Poland and the Czech Republic was accidentally broadcast to reporters with the Israeli leader’s criticism of the European Union being picked up on the mic. After the meeting, Netanyahu stood by his words, and we have to say, Netanyahu is spot on.
“I think Europe has to decide if it wants to live and thrive or if it wants to shrivel and disappear,” he said in a closed-door meeting whose content was accidentally broadcast to journalists outside the room. “I am not very politically correct. I know that’s a shock to some of you. It’s a joke. But the truth is the truth — both about Europe’s security and Europe’s economic future. Both of these concerns mandate a different policy towards Israel.”
During the meeting, Netanyahu also urged the leaders present — Hungary’s Viktor Orban, the Czech Republic’s Bohuslav Sobotka, Poland’s Beata Szydlo and Slovakia’s Robert Fico — to close their borders to refugees from Africa and the Arab world, and praised the administration of US President Donald Trump for its “stronger” position on Iran and Syria.
“The European Union is the only association of countries in the world that conditions the relations with Israel, that produces technology in every area, on political conditions. The only ones! Nobody does it.”
“It’s crazy. It’s actually crazy,” he said, before referring to the EU-Israel Association Agreement, which has not been renewed since 2000. He urged the prime ministers who were present to work toward convincing Brussels to advance talks about renewing the agreement without reference to progress in the peace process.
“Please help us, and help Europe, in the expediting this association agreement,” Netanyahu said. “It’s not about my interests, Israel’s interest. I’m talking about Europe’s interest.”
“So stop attacking Israel. Start supporting Israel… Start supporting European economies by doing what the Americans, the Chinese and the Indians are doing,” he said.
“There is no logic here. Europe is undermining its security by undermining Israel. Europe is undermining its progress by undermining the connection with Israeli innovation because of a crazy attempt to create conditions,” he added.
Officials realised the meeting was accidentally being broadcast to reporters and cut the line off.
At the press conference after the meeting Netanyahu stood by his remarks and made no attempt to hide them, and joked that his comments would be short as the press had already received an extensive briefing.
“We believe it’s in the objective interest of Europe to cooperate with Israel in the fight against terrorism, and technology for the future,” Netanyahu said at the press conference.
“There’s an anomaly. I don’t hide it. We’re often criticized by Western Europe, often more than any other place in the world,” he continued. The Jewish state is the one democracy in the Middle East, a “beacon of tolerance.”
Even many Arab countries understand that Israel serves their interests, he added. “So it’s time to have a reassessment in Europe about their relations with Israel. We have much to offer each other. We have much to offer in the realm of security, much to offer in the realm of technology.”
Source: Times of Israel