The European Union’s aid to the Palestinian Authority ends up funding terror attacks against Israelis.
And there’s nothing you can do to get the EU to care about it.
That was the gist of a talk given recently at Israel’s Ben-Gurion University by Ilka Schroeder, a 25-year-old member of the European Parliament and former member of the German Green Party.
Schroeder and French European Parliament member Francois Zimeray—despite pressure from their colleagues and over the strong objection of EU Commissioner for External Affairs Chris Patten—were able to muster 170 members of the 626-member Parliament to demand an inquiry into the problem of EU money going to Palestinian terror. Last February 3, the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) announced that it was opening an investigation into “allegations of misuse of funds donated by the European Union in the context of EU budgetary support to the Palestinian Authority.” OLAF’s most recent statement, in mid-November, was a denial that European funds have gone to finance Yasser Arafat’s Al-Aksa Martyrs Brigades.
Yet Rachel Ehrenfeld, director of the American Center for Democracy and author of Narcoterrorism, Evil Money, and most recently Funding Evil, a study of the financing of international terror, wrote in EUobserver that “volumes of the Palestinian Authority’s own documents, including many graced by Yasser Arafat’s own signature, order the Palestinian Ministry of Finance—recipient of hundreds of millions of dollars in EU budgetary aid . . . to pay members of the al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade for killing Israeli citizens or to pay for the procurement of explosives and illegal weapons.”
Why can’t the EU come clean? “The Europeans,” Ilka Schroeder said at Ben-Gurion University, “supported the Palestinian Authority with the aim of becoming its main sponsor, and through this, challenge the U.S. and present themselves as the future global power. Therefore, the Al-Aksa Intifada should be understood as a proxy war between Europe and the United States.”
In an earlier address in New York, she said it is “an open secret within the European Parliament that EU aid to the Palestinian Authority has not been spent correctly. The European Parliament does not intend to verify whether European taxpayers’ money could have been used to finance anti-Semitic murderous attacks.”
Schroeder, in other words, is not optimistic. She feels her efforts to expose Europe’s complicity in the murder of Israelis have come to naught—and that the biggest obstacle is on the Left. Asked by the Jerusalem Post last week how the European Left greeted her role in initiating the OLAF inquiry, she replied: “They thought I was absolutely crazy and they couldn’t understand why anybody would stand up for Israel. It has been hardest to make my point among the Left because they are the most into anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism. For me it’s disappointing, because I believe the more left-wing people are the more they should be interested in some kind of liberation and emancipation. For me, the vast majority of Palestine is very much against those aims and is very much regressive. I can’t understand why [the Left] is blind to this, and why they are so blind to the history of Israel and the Jews and anti-Semitism.”
It sounds as if Schroeder, a 25-year-old who has already shed her Green illusions, is in the grip of a laudable idealism that’s still mixed with baffled naivete. She needs to ask herself why the same Left that couldn’t care less about concentration camps in North Korea or mass murder and torture in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, that sees no human rights problem in Cuba and instead swoons before its bearded despot, the same Left that sees all evil as emanating from the Free World and primarily the United States and Israel, would do anything but applaud the murder of “imperialist” Israelis by “oppressed” heroes like the Palestinians.
As for her notion of the Al-Aksa Intifada as a proxy war between Europe and the United States, it’s both compelling and questionable—more compelling in regard to countries like France and Germany, less so in regard to countries like Britain and Spain. It’s easy to adduce other reasons for the EU’s overall willingness to fund anti-Israeli terror, from traditional anti-Semitism (which Schroeder acknowledges as a factor), to the desire to deflect terror from Europe itself and keep it safely to the south, to the desire to appease local European Muslim voting blocs, to the desire to stay in the good graces of oil-rich Arab regimes. What’s clear is that, one way or another, Europe is addicted to Jew-killing; if today, amid its high-flown human rights rhetoric, it no longer engages in it directly, it’s able to do so by proxy, and it’s not about to stop.
Europeans like Ilka Schroeder and Francois Zimeray, who swim against the current and refuse to accept their status as underwriters of murder, have their work cut out for them. It’s good to know that there’s any light at all coming from a Dark Continent that spawned Nazism and communism and now not only grovels at the feet of Islamofascism, but aids and abets it.