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July 7, 2016 6:40 am

Once a Colonialist, Always a Colonialist

avatar by Judith Bergman

Email a copy of "Once a Colonialist, Always a Colonialist" to a friend
The European Union headquarters in Brussels. Photo: Amio Cajander via Wikimedia Commons.

The European Union headquarters in Brussels. Photo: Amio Cajander via Wikimedia Commons.

You can take the Europeans out of the former colonies, but you cannot take the colonialism out of the Europeans. That much is clear, at least as far as the European Union is concerned. In an interview with Israeli journalist and TV anchor Eylon Aslan-Levy, EU Ambassador to Israel Lars Faaborg-Andersen was asked why the EU supports the French peace initiative when the Israeli prime minister has called for direct negotiations. “Why doesn’t the European Union simply pressure Abbas to take up Prime Minister Netanyahu’s invitation?” asked Aslan-Levy.

Faaborg-Andersen replied, “Because I think experience has shown that the parties are not capable on their own to reach a stage where they are able to sit down and negotiate. There is a need for a third-party involvement and I think that the Paris conference was a recognition of that fact [sic] that there was need for international focus on this issue that has been somewhat dormant for some time, I mean the peace process, and I think this was the motivating factor behind the French initiative coupled with the fact that we are seeing a constant deterioration of the situation on the ground bringing us further away from a two-state solution rather than closer to [sic].”

The Europe of the postnational European Union no longer invades other peoples’ countries in order to colonize them, but it still uses all its powers — limited and toothless as they are — to invade how other nations should think and feel about the world, and to impose its distinct European view of how the world should spin for the rest of us.

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We all know how hard it is to break an old habit, and the ideological parts of colonialism still come very naturally to the descendant of the old Europe — even if the EU mistakenly believes that being ostensibly riddled with post-colonial guilt and inviting half the world’s migrants into its own backyard somehow exculpates it from all its past and present sins.

For those still in doubt, Faaborg-Andersen’s reply that “the parties are not capable on their own” is clear evidence of the racism and cultural condescension — such characteristic parts of the colonialist project — still being a very potent factor in European policies, despite all assurances to the contrary for the past half century. The “natives,” i.e., the Jews and the Arabs, are incapable of solving anything on their own, which is why we ostensibly need the wisdom and superiority of the European Union to guide our ignorant and misguided steps in this world. Just who do the Europeans think that they are?

Even though the European Union is the Palestinian Authority’s best friend, and although the latter can do no wrong according to the former, let there be no doubt that the PA is merely a tool, a means to an end, in the hands of the European Union.

Had the PA’s enemy not been the Jews, but instead other Muslims, Christians or Yazidis, the European Union would have been out of there, taking its many billions of euros with it, faster than you can say “postcolonial guilt.” If you doubt this contention, take a hard look at all the internecine Muslim strife and the ongoing genocides against non-Muslims in the Middle East and Africa. The European Union is nowhere to be seen, its billions of euros entirely absent and its need to impose solutions completely gone missing.

In case you were wondering, European racism is still very much present even in the company of its best buddies in the PA. Only here it is the subtler racism of low expectations. Anything that the PA does, no matter how murderous, vile and inhumane, never elicits anything but the mildest form of vague condemnation, if any, from the EU.

In the interview with Aslan-Levy, the EU ambassador could not bring himself to condemn the standing ovation that the European Parliament gave Abbas for his blood-libel speech two weeks ago in Brussels, instead outrageously stating that there were probably also European parliamentarians who did not appreciate what Israeli President Reuven Rivlin had to say in his speech to the same body.

The moral narcissism of the European Union is no better than the moral narcissism of its colonialist European predecessors. It’s just a different century.

Judith Bergman is a writer and political analyst living in Israel. Twitter @judithbergman. This article was originally published by Israel Hayom. 

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