Syriza’s U-turn on Israel is Now Complete

Syriza was a popular leftist political party which was swept to power in Greek elections on its promise to end years of IMF-and EU-imposed austerity.

By now, though, the party’s leadership has sold out its principles, implementing the very same austerity it was elected to oppose, even after a massive “No” vote in a summer referendum on a new bailout that came with further severe austerity conditions.

This led to the departure of Yanis Varifakis, the finance minister, and a big split, with many leaving to form a breakaway party. Tsipras did manage to come back to power in new elections though, albeit on a reduced mandate.

As I have written before, in power the Syriza-led government has reneged on other promises too, such as those of its once anti-militarist foreign policy. Their electoral manifestos once included the promise of “abolition of military cooperation with Israel.” In power, their government in fact continued the joint military exercises with Israel that began under the conservative government in 2009.

During a visit to Israel in July, Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias even said that Greeks needed to “learn to love Israel” and disgracefully called Israel part of a “line of stability” in the region – something that will some as news to the friends and relatives of those 551 Palestinian children murdered by Israeli during its summer 2014 war against the civilian population of the Gaza Strip.

This was a climb-down by the Syriza-led government on previously decent Syriza policy, much as it has made fundamental reversals of policy in domestic economic matters.

But Syriza as a leftist movement put some distance between itself and its government’s contacts with Israel: Defence Minister Panos Kammenos was from the Independent Greeks (a right-wing coalition partner) and Kotzias is an independent.

Or it did put such distance until this week. As of now, the Syriza U-turn on Israel is complete..

– Read more: Syriza’s U-turn on Israel is Now Complete – Asa Winstanley, MEMO

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