For those who are home, and for those who are on the way. For those who support the historic and just return of the land of Israel to its people, forever loyal to their inheritance, and its restoration.
Seth Frantzman Terra Incognita/JPost 23 February '10
The EU, realizing it cannot get Israel to change its laws through diplomatic means, has resorted to creating an internal lobby - through lavish funding of NGOs - to get Israel to bend.
Ever since the publication of John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt's The Israel Lobby there has been much talk of the "lobby." In England mainstream and respectable Channel 4 aired an entire program entitled Inside Britain's Israel Lobby which claimed the "lobby" "owns" the Conservative Party. Amidst all the talk of an Israel lobby in the West, people have ignored the growth of a lobby located in the Holy Land itself, the European lobby in Israel.
The European Parliament adopted the European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) in 1994. This was part of the European Union's broader belief that "democracy and human rights are universal values that should be vigorously promoted around the world." The initiative was supposed to promote democratization through the promotion of "fair and free" elections and mainstreaming "democratic values" through "accountability, transparency and equality."
In 2007, a subtle change in the name of the EIDHR was made. The word "initiative" was changed to "instrument." This seemingly banal change may be a result of semantic arguments among EU staffers but it puts in words the increasingly meddlesome way the EU has chosen to work within Israel.
The EU may have realized during the second intifada that its concerns were not being listened to. Perhaps they heeded the increasingly alarmist statements of Israelis themselves, such as former Haaretz editor David Landau who in 2007 told US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice that the US needed to "rape" Israel into a settlement with the Palestinians. Regardless of the exact cause, in 2002 the European Union began lavishly funding non-governmental organizations in Israel. It claimed that it was doing this because of "the vital contribution made by NGOs to the promotion and protection of the principles of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and the rule of law."
I visited Hevron in November 2000 after the outbreak of the Rosh Hashanah War to see what could be done to assist in the face of the growing daily attacks on the community. After returning to work for the community in the summer of 2001, a bond and a love was forged that grows to this day. My wife Melody and I merited to be married at Ma'arat HaMachpela and now host visitors from throughout the world every Shabbat as well as during the week. Our goal, "Time to come Home!"