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…]

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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…]

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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…]

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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…]

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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…]

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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…]

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EU must adopt definition for anti-Semitism, European Jewish Congress head says

(JTA) – The absence of a European Union (EU) definition for anti-Semitism is an “absurd” situation that needs correcting, which also would honour Holocaust victims, the president of the European Jewish Congress (EJC) told European lawmakers.

During his address Wednesday at the European Parliament ahead of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, EJC President Moshe Kantor referenced the 2013 removal from the website of the EU’s anti-racism agency of a “working definition” of anti-Semitism. Pro-Palestinian activists opposed it because it also mentioned the demonization of Israel as an example of the phenomenon. [Read more…]

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Britain prevents EU council’s adoption of Paris peace conference statement

(JTA) – Britain prevented the European Union Foreign Affairs Council from adopting the closing statement from the Paris peace conference.

Britain’s action, reported by Haaretz citing European and Israeli diplomats, comes a day after Britain refused to sign the closing statement at the peace conference in Paris. Britain had sent a low-level diplomat to the conference as an observer to indicate its displeasure with the proceedings. [Read more…]

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