Cut funding to groups that support Israel boycotts, European Parliament lawmakers urge EU

(JTA) – Sixty European Parliament lawmakers in a letter asked the European Union’s foreign affairs chief, Federica Mogherini, to cut funding for organizations that support boycotts against Israel.

In a letter sent earlier this week, the lawmakers from four political groups called on Mogherini to ensure “that no public funds go to organizations calling for a boycott of the State of Israel, and to instruct agencies not to engage with companies, organizations or other entities involved with the BDS movement,” an acronym for boycott, divestment and sanctions. [Read more…]


Israel advances plans for more West Bank housing

JERUSALEM (JTA) – An Israeli Defense Ministry committee advanced plans for more than 1,300 housing units in West Bank settlements, which the European Union called “detrimental” to efforts toward peace talks.

The 1,323 homes and apartments approved Wednesday by the Civil Administration’s High Planning Subcommittee, which oversees construction activity in the West Bank, are in various stages of development. On Tuesday, the panel gave the OK for 1,292 housing units there. [Read more…]


Netanyahu in private remarks calls EU ‘crazy’

BUDAPEST (JTA) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the European Union “crazy” at a private meeting with the leaders of four Central European countries, unaware that a microphone was transmitting his comments to reporters outside.

“The EU is the only association of countries in the world that conditions the relations with Israel, that produces technology and every area, on political conditions. The only ones! Nobody does it. It’s crazy. It’s actually crazy. There is no logic here,” Netanyahu said Wednesday in widely reported remarks. [Read more…]


Netherlands PM slams Israel’s dismantling of West Bank solar project his government funded

AMSTERDAM (JTA) – The prime minister of the Netherlands complained to his Israeli counterpart about Israel dismantling solar panels – paid for by the Dutch government – set up without permission in a Palestinian village in the West Bank.

Mark Rutte protested the move to Benjamin Netanyahu last week, Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders told the parliament on Tuesday, shortly after the solar panels were dismantled in Jubbet adh Dhib. The panels cost approximately $600,000. [Read more…]


EU lawmakers protest hosting in Brussels of Palestinian terrorists’ relatives

(JTA) – Lawmakers from 15 EU member countries, as well as the European Parliament’s president, protested the hosting at that institution of relatives of Palestinians who are in jail for murdering Israelis in terrorist attacks.

In a rare rebuke Thursday, European Parliament President Antonio Tajani admonished the chair of the Delegation for relations with Palestine, Neoklis Sylikiotis, for inviting relatives of Marwan Barghouti and Ahmad Sa’adat to an event in Brussels about Palestinian prisoners. [Read more…]


Case of EU official who shouted anti-Semitic hate speech lands in Brussels court

(JTA) – The case of a Maltese European Union official accused of shouting anti-Semitic hate speech at an EU employee and assaulting her has come to trial two years after the incident occurred.

EU administrator Stefan Grech in September 2015 allegedly beat a senior employee, an Italian woman, over the head with a plaque commemorating Italian dictator Benito Mussolini while calling her “a dirty Jew” and saying “Hitler should have finished off the Jews.” He also reportedly had made comments about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. [Read more…]


EU adopts anti-boycott stance in official commercial policy

(JTA) – In a reaction to attempts in Europe to boycott Israel, the European Union’s report on commercial competition for the first time included a rejection of such initiatives.

The reference to boycotts, which does not name Israel specifically, was introduced earlier this year into the draft of the Report on Competition Policy for 2016 by a pro-Israel European Parliament lawmaker from Italy Fulvio Martusciello, JTA learned Wednesday. [Read more…]


EU says Israel’s new settlements law leads to ‘one-state reality of unequal rights’

(JTA) – The European Union’s foreign policy chief said Israel’s new legislation on settlements was illegal and would “entrench a one-state reality of unequal rights.”

The statement Tuesday by Federica Mogherini, the high representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs, came a day after the Knesset passed the so-called outpost bill, which retroactively legalizes thousands of West Bank settlement homes built on land owned by Palestinians. [Read more…]