By Darko Lazar
During a July 2017 meeting with leaders from the Visegrad nations, also known as the V-4 group, “Israel’s” prime minister sent a stern warning to Brussels.
“I think Europe has to decide if it wants to live and thrive or if it wants to shrivel and disappear," Benjamin Netanyahu said at a closed-door gathering in Budapest.
Moments earlier, he had supposedly forgotten to turn off his microphone and the conversation was picked up by journalists who had conveniently just been handed earphones.
“The EU is the only international organization that predicates its relations with ‘Israel’ – which provides it with technology – on political considerations,” Netanyahu could be heard saying.
He then instructed his V-4 partners – Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia – to pass on a message to their European colleagues that when they undermine “Israel”, they undermine their own security.
Since then, Netanyahu has made sure that his words are not dismissed merely as empty threats but have a chilling effect on policy makers in Brussels.
In February of this year, he succeeded in bringing together three of the V-4 group leaders in the occupied city of al-Quds (Jerusalem), which the Trump White House unilaterally declared as the capital of “Israel” in December 2017.
Following bilateral talks with Netanyahu, Hungary’s Viktor Orban announced the opening of a trade office with “diplomatic status” in al-Quds, while Slovakia’s Peter Pellegrini followed suit with a similar move.
Although both stopped short of relocating their embassies from Tel Aviv, the maneuver contradicts the established position of the European Union on the issue of occupied Palestine.
At the end of 2017, Europe’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini greeted Netanyahu in Brussels with a message of "full EU unity" on al-Quds becoming the capital of both a future Palestinian state and “Israel”.
However, Netanyahu’s expanding alliance with the V-4 group, the Baltic states, Greece, Cyprus and even candidate EU states in the Balkans, has successfully eroded any consensus in Brussels on Palestine, as well as the Iran-led Resistance axis.
Observers agree that a united foreign policy stance on all matters pertaining to “Israel”, which requires the consensus of all 28 EU nations, is no longer possible.
The revival of European nationalism
Netanyahu’s efforts to “disappear” a disobedient EU are centered on exploiting deepening rifts on the European continent over the waves of migration and the expansion of global terrorism.
Far-right governments like that of Orban blame the policies and ‘values’ of liberal elites in both Brussels and Washington for the decline of Western civilization. With Netanyahu’s help, they have placed themselves squarely in the pro-Trump camp, which is working on a facelift for the Western political establishment.
One of the chief architects of this plan is the self-professed “Christian Zionist” and Donald Trump’s former chief strategist, Steve Bannon.
Since leaving the Trump administration, Bannon has taken his populist mission across the world, and now has the 2019 EU parliamentary elections in his crosshairs.
He has spent months circling European cities with speeches about the revival of nationalism. And although running a European political campaign has proven far more challenging than managing one in the US, Bannon still believes that the rightist bloc and Eurosceptic parties will triumph come May.
Speaking to the UK’s Guardian newspaper last year, Bannon described Brussels as the “beating heart of the globalist project.”
“If I drive the stake through the vampire, the whole thing will start to dissipate,” he added.
But a speech delivered by Bannon at the Zionist Organization of America one year earlier suggests that Brussels is not the only vampire he hopes to eliminate with his populist silver bullet.
“There are so many games being played by the establishment,” Bannon told the gathering of Zionists in November 2017. “You get double-dealt all the time.”
“That’s how you get the Iran Deal,” he added. “We have a long, dark valley to go through, folks. Iran, Turkey, Hezbollah, Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood. The Middle East right now is on a knife’s edge. It’s going to take strong leadership.”
Meanwhile, recently leaked e-mails revealed that Bannon also had a hand in aiding the proponents of the UK’s exit from the EU.
And although the British government has publicly sided with Brussels over its continued adherence to the Iran nuclear deal, London’s decision to designate Hezbollah’s political wing as a "terrorist organization" in February demonstrates that this charade can easily be overturned.
Just days before plans for Hezbollah’s "terror designation" were unveiled, the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, which recently struck a £9 million deal to advise the Saudi monarchy, hosted an event in the British parliament.
The participants were all Zionist politicians and lobbyists who pushed for the blacklisting of the Lebanese resistance movement.
Interestingly, the former British premier, Tony Blair, appears to be growing more sympathetic to Bannon’s views, declaring last September that there was a need to “build bridges” with the far-right strategist.
A common enemy
It is important to remember that this very diverse array of political currents, from Washington to London, and from Budapest to Tel Aviv, are not being unified by their shared hostility toward Iran and its allies.
Aside from Brussels’ “beating heart”, their common enemy is the pillar of the leftist establishment – Jewish-American billionaire George Soros, who is accused of utilizing his vast fortune to interfere in the internal affairs of countless states.
Hungary’s Orban even passed legislative and constitutional amendments bearing the name "Stop Soros," which forced the billionaire to relocate his European headquarters from Budapest to Berlin.
For his part, Donald Trump has accused “Soros and others” of bankrolling protests in the US, while Netanyahu regularly attacks him in his fight against left-wing NGOs.
Whatever the truth is about Soros’ influence, his opponents are up to their necks in legal battles, which, in the case of Netanyahu and Trump, is threatening to oust them from office sooner than they would like.
Netanyahu is up for reelection in April, when he will face off against “Israel’s” newfound liberal darling, Kahol Lavan – a party that sprung out of the blue in recent months, led by three former “Israeli” generals.
If he is triumphant both at home and abroad, Europe’s foreign policy agenda is certain to become more geared toward Netanyahu’s vision of tomorrow and naturally more hostile towards Tehran.
At the same time, the incumbent’s now very open and public political struggles against liberals at home, in Europe and the US have clearly gained him some friends in the Kremlin.
Netanyahu is a frequent guest of President Vladimir Putin, who grants him an audience regardless of how many Russian servicemen the “Israelis” kill in Syria.
For Putin, this relationship underscores the opportunities on offer by the political polarization in the West, and the hope that a divided kingdom cannot stand for long.
But with Netanyahu and Trump’s political futures looking increasingly shaky, the question remains who would pick up the pieces and take the reins with such zeal. Would their dethronement stall Steve Bannon’s global populist project or serve as a rallying call to its advocates?
With the “Israeli” elections just around the corner, the first piece of that puzzle will soon get its answer – and there’s a lot riding on it.