Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s apparent re-election has irked the European mainstream media. Many leading European media outlets decried the Israeli leader’s “right-wing” policies that mobilized Israeli voters ahead of Tuesday’s vote.

German newspaper Frankfurter Rundschau described Netanyahu’s victory using anti-Semitic terminology with the headline: “The Eternal Netanyahu,” a reference to the 1940 anti-Semitic Nazi propaganda film, The Eternal Jew.

“Benjamin Netanyahu will remain Israel’s Prime Minister,” the Frankfurter Rundschau complained, “This isn’t going to end well. His right-wing coalition could annex West Bank.”

Explaining its hostility towards Israeli Prime Minister the newspaper wrote:

One must expect that Trump’s ominous ‘peace plan’ will be highly accommodating towards the Israelis and drain the economic aid going to the Palestinians. European protests won’t help much in that case. [Translation by the author]

German state broadcaster ARD wasn’t far behind. “The reelection of Netanyahu mainly rests on the right-wing base united by angst. He fomented a lot fear,” ARD’s Israel correspondent Tim Assman wrote. “Israeli society is indeed divided and politicians like Netanyahu have actively contributed to this.”

“As Israel’s right wing triumphs, Palestine loses,” was the headline in Germany’s state-run DW News. “Trump announced he would reveal a comprehensive plan for peace in the Middle East shortly after the elections,” DW’s chief Arabic correspondent Rainer Sollich wrote. “[Palestinians] hardly have any say over their own future, and when it comes to many Arab states, they cannot really count on any real support,” he claimed.

“Netanyahu-led Right engaged in populist and identity [politics],”  France’s Le Monde accused.

“Netanyahu’s victory means life is about to get worse for Palestinians,” British newspaper The Guardian whined. The tone got even darker, with one Guardian commentator lamenting that “there is no more able sorcerer when it comes to playing on the prejudices and fears of his base.”

Another Guardian commentator decried the alleged “embrace between rightwing counterparts in the United States and Israel,” further adding that “Trump’s disregard for Palestinian interests is yet another reaffirmation for many that Trump’s America is racist.”

“Rather like the Trumpites in America, many Israelis seem to admire Mr Netanyahu and his uncompromising strongman routine,” UK’s Independent said. “They evidently feel Bibi is what they need in troubled times; someone who will be tough on the terrorists and Israel’s enemies abroad, of whom there is no shortage.

The European political establishment wasn’t thrilled about the election result either. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Franch President Emmanuel Macron were yet to respond to the outcome of the Israeli elections.

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz was perhaps the first head of state to congratulate prime minister Netanyahu:

Vice President Mike Pence also called the Israeli leader on Wednesday evening to congratulate him on the stunning victory.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro were among other world leaders to congratulate Netanyahu following Tuesday’s outcome.

The mainstream media coverage in Europe is very much in line with the stance taken by the European Union and European political establishment. The EU, steered by Germany and France, has opposed major policy initiative backed by US President Trump in the Middle East.

Last month, the EU rejected Israel’s sovereignty over Golan Heights after Trump recognized Israel’s right over the region. “European Union does not recognise Israeli sovereignty over the occupied Golan Heights,” European Council’s statement said.

The EU is equally hostile to the Trump administration’s measures to fight Palestinian terrorism. France and Germany boosted Palestinian funding after the U.S. suspended financial aid to terror-linked United Nations agency UNRWA.

When Trump formally recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in late 2017, Chancellor Merkel led a diplomatic campaign to pressure smaller European countries not to follow suit.

Ahead of the EU elections set for May, Netanyahu’s election victory is a fresh reminder that the Liberal establishment is being rejected by voters across the Western world. If opinion polls suggesting strong support for the Nationalist and anti-EU parties are any indication, the European political class may soon have greater things to worry about than electoral preferences of Israeli voters.

[Cover image via YouTube]


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