The Jerusalem Post: Despite Spain, Ireland, and Norway, most of Europe supports Israel at a record level

In a significant shift from most European countries’ foreign policies, Spain, Norway, and Ireland have recently announced their decision to recognize the Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital. This move, considered by many a political statement due to its impracticality, is seen by Israel’s critics as a huge victory, while Israel’s supporters see it as yet another regrettable diplomatic decision as the IDF expands operations around Rafah.

Daniel Shadmy, the spokesperson of the European Leadership Network (ELNET) in Israel, an NGO fostering Israeli-European ties, explained to The Media Line that these three countries’ decisions need to be contextualized in a larger perspective of Europe’s relations with Israel. “Israel’s relationship with Europe has been quite positive, especially since October 7, resulting in a high level of support of most countries that continues to this day.”

“In fact, while the US has been debating on withholding weapons meant for Israel,” Shadmy continued, “most European countries, led by Germany, continue to purchase Israeli defense technology to protect their own citizens in programs that cost billions of dollars.”

Shadmy also pointed out that despite the decision made by Spain, Ireland, and Norway, European support for Israel remains strong in government circles as well as among the population. “Since October 7, Europeans have shown unprecedented support for Israel, including the UK, Germany, France, and Italy. From rejecting the accusations by the ICJ and the ICC to the adoption of the definition of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance of anti-Semitism, most European countries are actively supporting Israel in the ways they can.”

According to the ELNET spokesman, a significant majority of people in Europe support Israel despite the appearance of protests in the streets of major capitals. “For instance, even in seemingly less serious contexts like Eurovision, the competition suddenly became very political. The public votes from countries such as Ireland, Spain, Belgium, Norway, the UK, and France gave Israel the largest number of points. This garnered comments even from political leaders, highlighting the widespread support, so that’s something that is noteworthy,” Shadmy added.

“Regarding the recognition of the Palestinian state, the decisions by Spain, Ireland, and Norway assume that the absence of a Palestinian state is the source of the conflict. However, in the view of most European countries, unilaterally recognizing the Palestinian state without a final peace agreement with Israel seems like a reward for terrorism,” he added.

”The countries that are recognizing the Palestinian state say they are doing this because they believe it will pressure Israel to stop the war, but they are doing this primarily as a political move to appeal to their voters. Regardless of why they are doing it, at the end of the day, their recognition of such a state doesn’t even meet the minimum criteria for statehood, so it’s sort of meaningless.”

Shadmy concluded his points by observing that some countries are publicly acknowledging this problem. “This week Denmark’s Parliament voted down the bill to recognize the Palestinian state after the Danish foreign minister himself said that the necessary preconditions for an independent country were lacking, so the fact to recognize the Palestinian state without being part of some sort of a process and negotiation with Israel isn’t going to lead to progress but is rather a PR stunt. However, it is a PR stunt that can have very bad consequences.”