EU President’s Pro-Israel Speech Fuels Anger, Walkouts by Israeli Hawks

Pledges EU Loyalty to Israel, as Israeli MPs Storm Out

European Union Parliamentary President Martin Schulz says he was surprised today when his extremely pro-Israel speech at the Israeli Knesset fueled furious outrage from Israeli hawks, with many of them storming out in the middle of the speech.

Schulz pledged EU loyalty to Israel, saying the Arab Spring had led to “crises” that the EU and Israel could tackle together. He then stated his support for a peace deal with the Palestinians, and an end to the Gaza blockade.

At which point Jewish Home’s entire parliamentary contingent got up and made a very public show of walking out. Some Likud MPs refused to attend in the first place because Schulz made the speech in German.

That’s because Schulz, a long-time EU parliamentarian, is German. He speaks some other languages, but Hebrew is not one of them, and that was in and of itself a source of “outrage” for some.

Jewish Home leader and Economics Minister Naftali Bennett insisted the characterization of the Gaza situation as a “blockade” was also offensive and a “lie,” even though Israeli officials regularly characterize it the exact same way, just with a more positive attitude toward it.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.