On February 8, 2016, a letter initiated by MEP Julie Ward (UK) and signed by 49 MEPs, addressed to members of the Israeli Knesset, was published, immediately prior to a preliminary vote on legislation pertaining to foreign funding of Israeli NGOs. The MEP letter urged Knesset members “to refrain from legislative measures,” asserting that the proposal “is framed in a manner that delegitimises and demonises NGOs who promote and defend human rights, as well as the European states and institutions that fund them.”
In sharp contrast to their stated concern for Israeli “organisations, artists, writers, and thinkers” and Israel’s “standing in the world,” several of the signatories have frequently participated in clear demonization, such as BDS and similar anti-Israel initiatives, including campaigns to suspend the EU-Israeli Association Agreement. The discriminatory BDS actions would prevent appearances and activities by the Israeli artists that this letter purports to protect.
- MEP Julie Ward (S&D UK) and David Martin (S&D UK) initiated a petition (2012) calling to suspend Israeli-EU trade agreements, in support of BDS campaigns against Israel (“takes its inspiration from the successful boycott campaign that helped bring the South African apartheid regime to an end.”). The text demonizes Israel and the EU, alleging that “Israel would not be able to carry out its brutal mass killings and maintain its repressive regime without the support of the EU and the United States.” Martin accuses Israel of “Apartheid” and “ethnic cleansing.” Participated in visit to Gaza in 2011 organized by the Hamas-linked CEPR.
- Thirty-five of the 49 signatories, including Ward, Ana Gomes (S&D Portugal), Barbara Spinelli (GUE Italy), Margrete Auken (Greens Denmark), Marisa Matias (GUE Portugal), Martina Anderson (GUE Ireland), Patrick Le Hyaric (GUE France) and Judith Sargentini (Greens Netherlans) signed a July 2015 open letter to HR/VP Mogherini and Director-General for Research and Innovation Robert Jan Smits, calling for the exclusion of Israeli company “Elbit” from participation in the Horizon 2020 EU R&D program of which Israel is a member. The letter is based on allegations made by the Palestinian NGO “Stop the Wall,” one of the leaders of international BDS campaigns. (See table below for full list of signatories.)
- Gabriele Zimmer (GUE Germany), Margrete Auken (Greens Denmark), Patrick Le Hyaric (GUE France), Judith Sargentini (Greens Netherlands) and Marisa Matias (GUE Portugal) signed on a December 2015 letter to Commission President Juncker calling for an end to all contracts with security company G4S, citing its Israel operations.
- Martina Anderson (GUE Ireland): In an EP plenary discussion after the 2014 Gaza conflict, accused Israel of “crimes against humanity,” the “South-Africanization of Palestine,” “apartheid,” and inflicting damage “comparable to WWII.” She insisted that the EU “must halt all relations with Israel and prohibit imports (sic) of its goods.”
- Ana Gomes (S&D Portugal). Joined initiatives to suspend Israel-EU Association Agreement and impose “restrictive measures” on Israeli businesses. Spearheaded efforts (2015) to prevent IDF spokesperson Yoav Mordechai from attending a European Parliament meeting.
- Margrete Auken (Greens Denmark): Reportedly alleged that Israel’s 2009 military operation, following rocket attacks from Gaza and targeting Hamas’ terror infrastructure, was “an attempt to smash Gaza’s future and the image of Palestinians as a civilized and educated people.”
- Marisa Matias (GUE Portugal) hosted an anti-Israel, “lawfare” event in 2014 in Brussels sponsored by the notorious Russell Tribunal on Palestine. According to a news report, she accused Israel of “crimes against humanity” in Gaza and lamented the inability to put Israeli officials on trial.
- Patrick Le Hyaric (GUE France) openly supports and promotes BDS campaigns.
- Barbara Spinelli (GUE Italy) has been accused of antisemitism, including an article in 2001 where she wrote, “Israel constitutes a scandal…for the way it has been established, for the sacrifices its birth has inflicted on the Palestinian citizens who had not taken part in the annihilation of the Jews in Europe. Last, but not least, for the way in which Moses’ religion inhabits our planet, validating rights which are often meta-historical rather than historical, linked to sacred texts more than to the regular becoming of the people and the time….there are those, in Israel itself, who suspect that the people of Israel, in order to regenerate itself, wish to attract new pain from future days, while dreaming of a sort of second holocaust.”
Petition initiated by MEP Ward (and MEP Martin) supporting BDS
Signatories who also supposed the campaign against the Israeli company Elbit
|Signatory to the Ward Letter||Signed "Elbit" Letter?||Signatory to the Ward Letter||Signed "Elbit" Letter?|
|Alyn Smith||Yes||Lynn Boylan||Yes|
|Ana Gomes||Yes||Margrete Auken||Yes|
|Anneliese Dodds||-||Marie Arena||Yes|
|Barbara Spinelli||Yes||Marisa Matias||Yes|
|Bart Staes||Yes||Marie-Christine Vergiat||Yes|
|Claude Turmes||Yes||Marita Ulvskog||-|
|David Martin||-||Martina Anderson||Yes|
|Dennis de Jong||Yes||Martina Michels||-|
|Dimitrios Papadimoulis||-||Matt Carthy||Yes|
|Eleonora Forenza||Yes||Michèle Rivasi||Yes|
|Ernest Maragall||-||Molly Scott Cato||Yes|
|Ernest Urtasun||Yes||Neoklis Sylikiotis||Yes|
|Eva Joly||Yes||Norbert Neuser||Yes|
|Fabio de Masi||Yes||Paloma Lopez Bermejo||Yes|
|Gabriele Zimmer||-||Pascal Durand||Yes|
|Ian Hudghton||-||Patrick Le Hyaric||Yes|
|Iris Hoffmann||-||Philippe Lamberts||Yes|
|Jean Lambert||Yes||Sargentini Judith||Yes|
|Jill Evans||Yes||Sergio Cofferati||Yes|
|Jordi Sebastià||Yes||Soraya Post||-|
|Josep-Maria Terricabras||Yes||Stefan Eck||-|
|Julie Ward||Yes||Tania Gonzalez Penas||Yes|
|Jude Kirton-Darling||-||Valero Bodil||Yes|
|Karima Delli||Yes||Yannick Jadot||-|
|Liadh Ni Radia||-|