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NEWS - News of B'nai B'rith

Concerns Remain About European Voting Record and Rhetoric on Mideast-Related Issues

(Washington, D.C., June 21, 2012)-In testimony before the European Parliament's Delegation for Relations with Israel, B'nai B'rith outlined the core principles for U.S.-E.U.-Israel cooperation on Middle East peace, including that the Palestinians must end their campaign for a unilateral declaration of independence, systematic incitement against Israel, and the demonization and delegitimization of the Jewish state.


Eric Fusfield, deputy director of the B'nai B'rith International Center for Human Rights and Public Policy, explained that despite frequent instances of the European Union criticizing Israel and voting in favor of one-sided resolutions that unfairly target the Jewish state for blame, "the United States and European Union, by uniting around several core principles, can facilitate a long-anticipated return to the negotiating table and a potential end to a decades-long conflict."

In his remarks, Fusfield said that the Palestinians' campaign for a unilateral declaration of independence at the United Nations demonstrates their leadership's attempt to have the world body give them something for nothing. "Unfortunately E.U. member states have fed the perception that such an outcome is possible by consistently voting for, or abstaining from, one-sided U.N. resolutions that castigate Israel without holding Palestinians accountable for their actions."

Fusfield pointed out that the issue of Israeli settlements is frequently used as a diversion from Palestinian incitement and the refusal of many Arab leaders to recognize Israel's right to exist. It is framed as the primary obstacle to Middle East peace, when in fact "construction in previously built-up areas should not reduce the chances of a peace agreement." Fusfield cited one example: "On May 14, E.U. foreign ministers issued a regrettably one-sided statement identifying Israeli settlements and settler incitement as threats to a two-state solution."

Fusfield emphasized the B'nai B'rith view that the uniting principles he outlined "are among the building blocks of an approach that can help restore trust, foster good will, and refocus the attention of the parties on the steps necessary to repair the peace process."

B'nai B'rith International, the Global Voice of the Jewish Community, is the oldest and most widely known Jewish humanitarian, human rights, and advocacy organization. For 168 years, BBI has worked for Jewish unity, security, continuity, and tolerance.