A senior Israeli lawmaker told a delegation of visiting EU officials Tuesday that the Jewish state and Europe are in the same boat when confronting radical Islamist terrorism.
“I want to make sure that we all understand,” Avi Dichter, chairman of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, told the EU delegates. “The saying that we all are very well-trained to say — ‘The enemy of my enemy is my friend’ — works in English, works I believe in French, works in Hebrew, [but] doesn’t work in Arabic.
“In Arabic they say… Me and my brother against our cousin, and me and my cousin against the strangers,” he went on. Israel and the Western world would do well to remember, he asserted, that “by those enemies-amongst-themselves we are always defined as ‘strangers.'”
The EU delegation included nine members of the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs, as well as EU Ambassador to Israel Lars Faaborg-Andersen. They were in the Knesset to attend a special joint session with the FADC.
Elmar Brok, Chairman of the EU’s Foreign Affairs Committee, said Israel and Europe could both benefit from cooperation and discussion on counterterrorism, and Europe could stand to learn from Israel’s experience in the matter.
The face of terrorism has changed, Broke said. No longer characterized by country-specific, geographically contained groups, the threat had morphed into a global one.
Attacks in Turkey, in Egypt, in Paris and in Berlin were in many respects “of the same origin,” he noted. “We can see that nobody can escape that.”
And though terrorism’s global strategy had led to international cooperation against the threat, he noted, the world was still adjusting to the new reality.
“Some [European] member countries believe they can solve it nationally — but it’s a joke. It is not doable nationally anymore,” he said.