Vox’s ‘Viva 24’ event at the Palacio Vistalegre in Madrid, on May 19, 2024

A. PEREZ MECA/EUROPA PRESS VIA GETTY IMAGES

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Communists, Antisemites Lose Big in European Parliamentary Elections

On the other side of the aisle, Israel’s supporters make gains

by
Itxu Díaz
June 18, 2024
Vox’s ‘Viva 24’ event at the Palacio Vistalegre in Madrid, on May 19, 2024

A. PEREZ MECA/EUROPA PRESS VIA GETTY IMAGES

Three of the most antisemitic parties in Europe, according to a ranking prepared last year by the European Coalition for Israel, are, much to my regret, Spanish: Sumar, Izquierda Unida, and Podemos. All three are extreme leftists, more specifically, communists. Since 2018, all three have had cabinet ministers in the government of socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez. And all three were dealt a strong blow at the polls in the European Parliament elections that took place on June 9. I will shed no tears for them. I have seen them call for pro-Palestinian and antisemitic demonstrations in Spain three or four days after the Oct. 7 attack, indifferent to the terrible images of the atrocities, the rapes, and the kidnappings.

The three parties had dedicated a good part of their European election campaign to showing support for Hamas and attacking Israel, even though neither issue topped the agenda of the debate on the future of the EU. In fact, with the exception of the nationalist Vox party, whose leader, Santiago Abascal, met with Benjamin Netanyahu at the end of May to express his explicit support, none of the main Spanish parties made Israel a feature of their electoral campaigns.

So severe was the blow to the leftist parties, that the leader of Sumar and second deputy prime minister, Yolanda Díaz, stepped down from her position as general coordinator of her party, though not from her government post. (It’s probably no coincidence that she quit only the unpaid position.)

But the poor results of the Spanish communists are not an exception in Europe. Almost all of the most antisemitic parties in the EU, who dwell at the bottom of the European Coalition for Israel’s rankings, have received a slap in the face at the polls.

Let’s take a look: The Portuguese Communist Party (PCP) and Bloco de Esquerda (Left Bloc) have lost half of their representatives in the European Parliament. The day after the Oct. 7 attacks, the PCP published a scandalous communiqué: “The events that are unfolding in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are the result of decades of occupation and systematic disregard by Israel of the right of the Palestinian people to a sovereign and independent state, of permanent violation of all UN resolutions and international agreements on the Palestinian issue.” For its part, Bloco de Esquerda maintained during its electoral campaign that Israel was committing “genocide” in Gaza.

Other losers include Slovenia’s Europeo Socialni demokrati (Social Democrats), whose leader pushed for recognition of the Palestinian state by the Slovenian government; Belgium’s Ecolo, which claimed Israel’s response to the attack was “disproportionate”; and Open VLD, the party of Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, who became embroiled in several anti-Israel controversies after saying that Israel “must prove it is not using famine as a weapon of war.” De Croo finally resigned on June 10 following his party’s poor results in the European elections.

In France, Europe Écologie (the Greens), which accused Israel of “flagrantly violating international law and human rights,” became irrelevant, losing five MEPs out of the 10 it had. In Spain, the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE), the party of Prime Minister Sanchez, which has approved the recognition of the Palestinian state (against the majority opinion of Spaniards) and which includes in its government several ministers defending Hamas, has lost seats as have all its communist partners.

In Croatia, Vihreä Iiitto (Green League), which accused Israel of exercising “collective revenge against an entire civilian population,” has also lost votes and seats, as have Bulgaria’s Bulgarian Socialist Party, the progressive Piráti in the Czech Republic, the green party (Grüne) in Austria, and the Labour Party (Partit Laburista) in Malta, among others.

It is worth noting that some of the parties that are ranked as antisemitic, such as the German Die Linke, and traditionally opposed to Israel, have shifted their position away from the Palestinian cause following the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks.

On the other the side of the aisle, among Israel’s major supporters, Viktor Orban’s party Fidesz won the European elections in Hungary, and Spain’s Vox doubled its presence in parliament with six seats, Sweden’s right-wing Sweden Democrats kept their three seats in the European Parliament, and the Netherlands’ conservative Reformed Political Party (SGP) held on to its seat as well.

Members of the European Parliament sit in seven political groups, and the various parties that ran in the elections did so as part of one of these groups. According to the average scores of the European Coalition for Israel, the two groups with more than 85% support for Israel improved their results in the European elections. The European Conservatives and Reformists Group, led by Italy’s Giorgia Meloni, gained four seats and now has the fourth-largest bloc in the EU Parliament, while the Identity and Democracy Group, led by France’s Marine Le Pen, has gained nine seats and is already the fifth-largest bloc. Meanwhile, the largest bloc, the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats), a group with more than 60% support for Israel, has gained 10 seats, so they haven’t done badly either.

Although Israel was not the main issue in the European elections, it is certainly a fundamental one, because on a day-to-day basis the European Parliament has to take a stance on it, particularly with regard to its foreign policy. Up to this point, three currents coexisted within the EU: the moderate support for Israel of the European People’s Party conservatives, the unwavering support of Giorgia Meloni, Orban, and other leaders, and the support for the Palestinians, and thus for Hamas, of the communist blocs, the Greens, and a growing part of the left.

In fact, one of the people who stirred up a hornet’s nest in the European Parliament so as to challenge support for Israel is the Spanish Socialist Josep Borrell, the European Union’s high representative for foreign policy. In one of his most controversial statements, Borrell accused Israel of deliberately starving the Palestinians: “Hunger is being used as a weapon of war, yes, we can say it like that, yes. It is not a question of lack of supplies.”

Borrell belongs to the party of Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, who went from supporting Israel to recognizing a Palestinian state. Sanchez’s shift has swayed other socialists, starting with Borrell himself. In turn, Sanchez’s change of heart was brought about by pressure from his communist vice president, Yolanda Díaz, who has now received a serious shellacking in the elections.

The new EU parliamentary picture after these elections does not change substantially, because Ursula von der Leyen, after the victory of the European People’s Party, has offered the Party of European Socialists an alliance “against the extremes,” as she refers to the new emerging right parties, in order to keep her position as president of the European Commission.

However, although it may seem that once this foreseeable agreement is reached everything will remain the same, in reality, everything will be different, because dozens of new MEPs from the new right-wing blocs (what some media call “extreme right wing,” even though it is a vague, confusing, and inaccurate label in most cases) will have more of a voice than ever before in the history of the EU, and will also have the ability to block laws and votes.

In this context, the determined backing for Israel from the majority of conservative parties might make it possible to improve foreign relations and perhaps increase diplomatic support for Israel and the joint fight against Hamas terrorism, which is not very different from the jihadism that still strikes at the heart of Europe every few days. This common threat is causing an insecurity that is closely tied to the change of political direction we are experiencing, especially in countries where Islamist immigration has caused serious security problems, as is the case in France and Germany, where the so-called “new right” is growing the most.

Even more important than this remarkable increase in pro-Israeli parties in the European Parliament is the historic loss of voters suffered by the communist and environmentalist parties, which up until now have been the two main voices allied with Hamas terrorism in Brussels. With fewer noisy MEPs capable of sowing confusion around what is happening in Gaza, and too often using their European seats to spout antisemitic slogans, debates on EU foreign policy toward Israel will be calmer, more honest, and probably better for the common Western cause of ending terrorism, containing Islamism, and strengthening our democracies by keeping them safe from those who seek to destroy our way of life, our values, and our peace and security.

Itxu Díaz is a Spanish journalist, political satirist, author, and columnist at several Spanish magazines and newspapers. His latest book, I Will Not Eat Crickets: An Angry Satirist Declares War on the Globalist Elite, was recently released in the U.S.

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