Visegrad
Netanyahu Invites Visegrad Eastern Europeans to Summit Next Year in Jerusalem
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July 20, 2017, 08:38 PM
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Back in early 2014, I predicted that liberal Jews around the world would increasingly turn toward their old home culture of Germany for leadership, while nationalist Jews would look toward better ties with Eastern Europe. That’s more or less working out, although more with Israel aligning with rightwing Hungary and Poland than with Russia.

From the Times of Israel on Netanyahu’s meeting in Budapest with the Visegrad Alliance (Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia):

“I think Europe has to decide if it wants to live and thrive or if it wants to shrivel and disappear,” he said in a closed-door meeting whose content was accidentally broadcast to journalists outside the room. “I am not very politically correct. I know that’s a shock to some of you. It’s a joke. But the truth is the truth — both about Europe’s security and Europe’s economic future. Both of these concerns mandate a different policy towards Israel.”

During the meeting, Netanyahu also urged the leaders of Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Poland to close their borders to refugees from Africa and the Arab world, and praised the administration of US President Donald Trump for its “stronger” position on Iran and Syria. …

“If I can suggest that what comes out of this meeting is your ability, perhaps, to communicate to your colleagues in other parts of Europe: Help Europe… Don’t undermine the one Western country that defends European values and European interests and prevents another mass migration to Europe.”

The prime minister has often claimed that Israel is a bulwark preventing Europe from being flooded with refugees and migrants from Africa and the Middle East. …

Earlier, during the closed meeting, Netanyahu also expressed clear backing for the so-called Visegrad Group’s support of border fences to guard Europe from another wave of refugees from the Middle East. …

He said he believes in the free flow of goods and ideas — “but not people… Secure your borders. Secure your borders,” he urged the Eastern European leaders.

From Reuters:

EU eastern states say bloc must show more support for Israel

Marton Dunai and Jeffrey Heller, July 19, 2017.

BUDAPEST/JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Europe should better appreciate Israel’s key role in Middle Eastern stability, leaders of four central European nations said on Wednesday in a joint attack with Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu on Brussels’ current policy toward the state.

The comments were the latest example of divergence between west and east Europe, where questions of national sovereignty, migration and civic freedoms have also stirred friction. U.S. President Donald Trump lent support this month to Poland, target of criticism by the EU he has disdained, with a visit to Warsaw.

Netanyahu met the Visegrad Four leaders of Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, who backed Israel and called for an improvement in the EU’s relations with the state.

“I think Europe has to decide whether it wants to live and thrive or it wants to shrivel and disappear,” Netanyahu told the leaders of the eastern EU states behind closed doors in Budapest.

In an audio recording of the remarks obtained by Reuters, Netanyahu goes on to say: “It’s a joke. But the truth is the truth, both about Europe’s security and Europe’s economic future. And both of these concerns mandate a different policy toward Israel.”

Israel has often been criticized in Western Europe on matters such as its settlement policy. The recent closeness of Netanyahu with leaders like Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has been viewed with suspicion in the European Union.

“We’re part of European civilization. You look at the Middle East – Europe stops in Israel. That’s it.”…

The group will meet in 2018 in Jerusalem at Netanyahu’s invitation.

“The Visegrad Four shares the Israeli view that external border defense is key,” Orban told a press briefing. “Free movement of people without controls raises the risk of terror.”

Orban has been criticized in the EU for erecting a razor wire border fence and refusing to accept migrants under EU agreements, preferring “ethnic homogeneity”.

[Comment at Unz.com]