Liberal values under pressure in Europe and Israel

Image: PAX

July 12, 2022

Illiberal trends are seen all over the world, also within the EU and Israel. Even though the EU is often emphasizing the “shared democratic values” in relations with Israel, there is a lack of accountability and addressing democratic deficits. Today, PAX, launches a report analyzing the illiberal trends and democratic backsliding that can be seen in both Europe and Israel. The report is a result of a cooperation of PAX together with experts from Mitvim – The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies and Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (SWP, the German Institute for International and Security Affairs) as well as external experts. The authors offer highly relevant recommendations and insights for anyone interested in EU-Israel relations, eroding democratic trends and securitization policies. 

Lack of prospect

The report entiteld “Democratic Backsliding and Securitization: Challenges for Israel, the EU and Israel-Europe Relations” specifically highlights the relationship between the EU and Israel and how these have adapted in light of the illiberal trends. The report is also showing the impact and lack of prospect regarding Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking and advancement towards a resolution of the Palestinian struggle. The relevance of this report goes beyond the specific relations between the EU and Israel and also shows global tendencies. It shows the eroding democratic trend worldwide and its impact on liberal values. Therefore, this report is a call to action to counter this negative trend in order to protect the liberties we value.

External, international pressure never-suffcient

Besides the report, Noa Landau, the deputy editor-in-chief and journalist for the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz, reflects on (the lack of) international alliances with the Israeli left in a policy paper. She calls for increased cooperation between left-leaning Israeli and international players. “External, international pressure is never sufficient to end wars, as sadly proven these days. Critical voices from within are needed as well, and thus should be strengthened.”

Reinforce democratic values

It is important that security won’t dominate the ties between the EU and Israel. While the war in Ukraine is likely to foster security as a strong feature of Israeli-European cooperation, it should be done in a way that strengthens rather than compromises liberal democratic values.

PAX calls upon the Netherlands and the EU to in their relations with Israel emphasize the need for strengthening Israeli democracy rather than turning a blind eye to domestic developments. The interrelation between democracy, peacemaking and shared society is essential, as without a solution and the current inequality between Israel’s Jewish and Palestinian citizens, Israel will continue to suffer from a democratic deficit and won’t be the “pluriform democratic and constitutional state” minister Hoekstra calls it to be. 

Read the full report

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