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The EU’s Jerusalem Charm Offensive

Melanie Phillips

Israel Today, June 17, 2022 

“So does this mean the EU is now changing its attitude to Israel?”

People dining this week on the charming terrace at Jerusalem’s King David Hotel were surprised to find at the next table Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission.

Given the EU’s long-standing hostility towards Israel, it was a bit like spotting Amber Heard knocking back the tequila with Johnny Depp in a Los Angeles bar.

That may be unfair to von der Leyen herself, who was described later that day by Israel’s prime minister, Naftali Bennett, as “a great friend of the Jewish people and a great friend of Israel.”

She had certainly come to Israel on a charm offensive. In a speech at Ben-Gurion University, where she was awarded an honorary degree, she said: “I have put the fight against antisemitism and fostering Jewish life in Europe at the core of the European Commission’s agenda. Our democracy flourishes if Jewish life in Europe flourishes, too. Throughout the centuries, the Jewish people have been ‘a light unto the nations.’ And they shall be a light unto Europe for many centuries ahead.”

Melanie Phillips, a British journalist, broadcaster and author, writes a weekly column for JNS. Currently a columnist for “The Times of London,” her personal and political memoir, “Guardian Angel,” has been published by Bombardier, which also published her first novel, “The Legacy.” Go to melaniephillips.substack.com to access her work.

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