I have a piece in the Forward this week about the kinds of friends Israel does not need. It has already generated some heated responses:
Israel needs friends in Europe, but there are some friends that it could do without.
In June, the English Defence League, a thuggish anti-Muslim group known for its raucous (and sometimes violent) street protests, launched a Jewish division, attracting at least a handful of Jews among the 500 fans on its “Jewish Division” Facebook page. The EDL had previously brandished Israeli flags at demonstrations to taunt its Muslim opponents, and even announced its intent to join a pro-Israel rally organized by Britain’s Zionist Federation following the recent Gaza flotilla crisis. (The rally’s organizers distanced themselves from the EDL, which has been condemned by mainstream Jewish communal groups; ultimately, EDL members weren’t much in evidence at the rally.)
While the EDL may be a fringe group, its embrace of Israel activism is part of a growing trend. Over the past few years, a string of politicians and factions on Europe’s far right, particularly those with anti-Muslim agendas, have taken to expressing strong support for the Jewish state.
Read the rest, and please come back here to comment.