Netanyahu Rebukes ‘Hostile’ E.U. Ahead of Bulgaria Trip

Likud Party leader Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at a meeting with the heads of local regional councils, in Tel Aviv, Israel, Thursday, Feb. 5, 2009. General elections in Israel are scheduled for Feb. 10 and pre-election polls show Netanyahu with a lead over Foreign Minister and Kadima Party leader Tzipi Livni.(AP …
AP/Ariel Schalit

The European Union’s “hypocritical and hostile attitude” towards Israel was called out by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday as he left for talks with four eastern European leaders in Bulgaria.

This is not the first time Mr. Netanyahu has taken the E.U. to task for its failure to back Israel as the only true democracy in the Middle East. He has also been critical of its enthusiastic support of Iran, who he called the “most potent force of militant Islam” in the world and pinpointed as a country sworn to the destruction of the Jewish state.

To counter such criticism, Mr. Netanyahu has worked with sympathetic E.U. countries including Hungary, whose independent stance on fighting illegal immigration has been a thorn in Brussels’ side.

Notably, he was the first foreign leader to call Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban to congratulate him in April for his decisive victory in Hungary’s parliamentary elections.

“I leave now to a summit of countries, and I will meet with my friends, the prime ministers of Bulgaria, Greece, Romania and the Serbian president,” Netanyahu said before his departure. “This is not just a meeting of friends,” he added. “It is also a bloc of countries with whom I want to promote my policy, to change the hypocritical and hostile attitude of the EU.”

Netanyahu made similar comments before leaving for a Baltic summit in August.

Israel has recently revealed a number of Iranian plots to carry out attacks on European soil, and Mr. Netanyahu said Israel and Europe “stand together” in the face of such attacks.

Israeli officials said Wednesday that the Mossad intelligence service had provided its Danish counterpart with information concerning an alleged Iranian plot to assassinate opposition activists living in the Scandinavian country.

Mr. Netanyahu used this as an example of how Israel can work with Europe to fight the modern scourge of Islamic terrorism.

“We are part of the same civilization, a civilization that values liberty, peace and progress, and today this civilization is under attack, most notably by the forces of militant Islam. Militant Islam attacks all of us. It attacks Arabs. It attacks Europeans. It attacks Israelis. It attacks everyone,” he said.

Mr. Netanyahu arrived in Bulgaria’s Black Sea city of Varna early Friday for the meeting of the Craiova Forum, which includes the prime ministers of Bulgaria, Greece and Romania, as well as the president of Serbia.

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