The European Commission President is criticized by Palestinians for using a “racist trope” in a video greeting to Israel
Palestinians have attacked European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen for adopting a “anti-Palestinian, racist trope” in her support for Israeli democracy during her remarks to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Israel’s birth.
Von der Leyen, who visited Israel and Palestine last year, praised Israel as “a vibrant democracy in the heart of the Middle East” in a video that the EU mission in the nation uploaded on Twitter.
“We have more in common than geography would suggest; our shared culture, our values, and hundreds of thousands of dual Israeli-EU citizens have created a deep connection,” she said, adding, “Your freedom is our freedom.”
She also gave the EU-Israel cooperation high marks, although the Palestinian Foreign Ministry vehemently disapproved of her remark that Israel was responsible for “the desert blooming.” Israelis frequently use this statement to highlight what they see to be the successful growth of their nation since its founding in 1948.
“The State of Palestine rejects the inappropriate, false, and discriminatory remarks by the President of the European Commission, particularly the anti-Palestinian, racist trope of make the desert bloom’ in relation to Israel’s 75-year colonial project,” the ministry stated.
It charged von der Leyen with using “propagandist discourse” that “undermines the standing of the European Union and raises serious questions about its declared commitment to international law and human rights.”
A representative for the European Commission told the BBC on Thursday that it was “unpleasantly surprised” by the “inappropriate statement” made by the Palestinian Foreign Ministry “accusing the president of the European Commission of racism.”
The commission was “requesting clarification” regarding what it called a “unacceptable reaction” to the video, according to the spokeswoman.