Brexit means that we at EIPA lose the measured and rational voice that is the United Kingdom when it comes to discussing Israel in the EU. It also means that we lose prodigious talent like our MEP of the month Geoffrey Van Orden.
A former senior British army officer, who did a stint at NATO headquarters, Geoffrey is a consummate professional who understands international diplomacy and politics better than most.
With a clear eye for detail and the political minutae, the Conservative Party MEP and key founder of the ECR group in the European Parliament gets Israel, but won’t hesitate to wrap us over the knuckles if he disagrees with a government position.
As one of our go to experts on Foreign Affairs, and a frequent attender of our Ambassadorial briefings, EIPA is proud to regard Mr Van Orden as a friend and trusted confidante. Mazel Tov Geoffrey!
A Northern Irish politician renowned as an expert on Agricultural policy is maybe not who you would think of as a champion of Israel, but then Jim Nicholson MEP is not your ordinary politician.
He has been a member of the British Parliament during the height of the IRA’s terror attacks in Northern Ireland, and was targeted for assassination many times, even having his car sprayed with bullets. Remarkably he survived and went on to become Northern Ireland’s longest serving MEP.
He has been to Israel and marveled at its hi-tech approach to agriculture, advocating that the EU takes a leaf out of the State’s book. He also defends Israel in the chamber and outside of it too and this week he took the time to come to our exhibition and listen to the artist, Mr Bob.
Jim, the whole team at EIPA thanks you and wishes you continued success. Mazal Tov!
MEP of the Month: Meszerics Tamás (Greens, Hungary)
When we think of a really good friend, we think of them knowing us well enough to tell us if we are doing something wrong and not just heap praises and sycophancy upon us. Great friends are our levelers, our mirrors to the world. And Tamas Maszerics is such a friend for Israel and for us here at EIPA.
Yes, a Hungarian Green is not who one would immediately think of, and yes the Greens as a whole are not renowned for their love of the State of Israel, but Tamas has been a rational and valued voice for us in the European Parliament, giving praise where praise is due, but also being firm and reasoned when he disagrees with our analysis. Just this week he took time out of his busy schedule as the Green co-ordinator for Foreign Affairs to meet with a group of PHD students from Ben Gurion University and give them his thoughts. Not all agreed with his analysis, but all were unanimous in their gratitude to have a straight talking, no nonsense friend of Israel such as him. Thanks Tamas and Mazal Tov from all of here at EIPA!
Ok, ok so we are a tiny bit biased here at EIPA about Fulvio. As Chairman of the the European Parliament’s delegation for Relations with Israel and as a member of our EIPA political advisory committee, he’s one of our most valued and important contacts in the European Parliament.
The Forza Italia MEP continues to defend Israel at every and any opportunity. This month, he along with Bastian Belder (a previous winner of MEP of the month), lambasted Martina Anderson – the former convicted IRA bomber, Sinn Fein MEP and Chair for Parliament relations with Palestine – when she compared Israelis and pro-Israel advocates in the European Parliament to a rash. Ever the charmer is Mrs Anderson.
Martusciello immediately wrote to the President to complain about such unparliamentary language with clear anti-semitic undertones and was in the media too.
Grazie Mille Mr Martusciello, and Mazal Tov!
An arch Eurosceptic might at first seem an odd choice for an Israeli advocacy organisation based in Brussels, where liaising directly with the European Institutions is our bread and butter, but few people are more friendly to Israel’s cause than Daniel Hannan.
In a recent TV debate with EIPA’s director, he stated his opposition to the EU, through deciding what territory Israel should and shouldn’t have, of predetermining final borders ahead of any negotiations.
And that’s not all: Mr Hannan came up with such a succinct summary of Israel and its detractors that we wish we had his eloquence.
“Israel’s story is by no means unblemished; but it is uplifting. It’s a story of how freedom can take root in even the most unpromising conditions. Such a story appeals to optimistic types, but repels the envious, the eternally aggrieved, the gloomsters who see free markets as some kind of racket — the same people, indeed, who tend also to be anti-British and anti-American, whether they be Left Bank intellectuals or Putinite nationalists or Bolivarian revolutionaries.”
Mazal Tov Daniel and thank you!
For the only MEP elected to the European Parliament from Germany’s Family Party, Mr Gericke packs quite a punch. An outspoken critic of the erosion of family values, when he speaks in the European Parliament, people listen. But it is his unashamed support for the State of Israel, his love of the country and its democratic values, and his willingness to step up to the plate in defence of it that sets him apart for us here in EIPA.
As a member of EIPA’s advisory committee and a newly signed up member of a Parliamentary working group looking into accountability and conditionality of EU Aid as a whole, Mr Gericke is often seen speaking up on Israel’s behalf, either late into the night during Parliamentary debates in Strasbourg or first thing in the morning at briefings and events.
An articulate drafter of Parliamentary questions and also questions to the European Commission too, Arne Gericke has a knack of getting straight to the matter, leaving little wriggle room for opponents to try and untangle themselves. For these reasons and for being a great friend of EIPA’s as well as Israel’s, Mr Gericke you are our MEP of the month. Mazal Tov!