The strong possibility of Israel joining the European Union is a two edged sword that may be counterproductive to the country’s standing as a sovereign Middle East nation.
Just as Israel is making inroads into acceptance by other Arab nations, it now sees a chance to fill a gap in the EU that will be created by Britain’s departure from the union. The irony here is that the UK voted to leave the union for the same reason Israel denounces and ignores the UN’s interference in its actions…having dictates made from abroad that not only override a nation’s sovereignty, but also may affect its very existence as a nation.
But money talks. There’s little doubt that the upside of EU membership would be economic with greater access to European markets. The downside would be EU pressure and even laws regarding West Bank settlements and Gaza.
Given past EU hostility towards Israel’s settlements and actions against Gaza, its not much of a stretch to see massive pressure being exerted to pull out of the settlements and stop future projects.
On the other hand, EU membership might be a catalyst to get peace talks started with the Palestinian Authority.
But the bottom line of any referendum on EU membership has one key question too be answered: Does Israel want to be seen as a Middle East nation of Semitic people at peace with its other Semitic neighbours, or as a western colonial outpost at odds with it neighbours?
Much western criticism of Israel isn’t just anti-Semitism. It is based on Israel being seen as a highly developed western nation with western values. Unlike many underdeveloped Arab tribal nations, it can be held accountable for its actions, actions that while tame by Middle East standards, may run contrary to western values.
The more Israel attempts further integration into the West, the more it will be expected to act in accordance to western norms…norms which may be impede its own domestic civil and security agenda.
An example is the annual Eurovision Song Contest which Israel has won three times. This year it will be held in Tel Aviv and there has been a movement among a collection of morons and anti-Semites to have the BBC cancel its broadcast of the event. If this isn’t bad enough, the obvious question comes to my mind: Why does Israel compete in this non-Semitic European contest? Which sums up the idea of its possible EU membership.
Israel continues to have an identity crises between East and West. It’s one thing gave a good relations with western nations and another in trying to be one of them, when you’re not.