EU-Israel Relations: Netanyahu’s Legacy

Guy Harpaz*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


It is common to criticize the State of Israel for its lack of strategy. This is true with respect to its foreign relations, and with specific reference to her relations with the EU. This criticism was reinforced during the five terms of Benjamin Netanyahu’s premiership (1996–1999 and 2009–2021). Commentators expressed strong criticism of his leadership, blaming him for shaping and implementing Israel’s foreign relations in a non-strategic, incoherent, and inconsistent manner. This article provides an alternative perspective, arguing that during his five terms Netanyahu and his governments adopted and pursued a calculated and coherent policy towards the EU, which was aimed at mitigating EU intervention in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and at dismissing any manifestation of EU political criticism towards Israel. The article analyses his policy towards the EU and the main instruments adopted in order to promote it, through the prism of scholarship pertaining to speech-acts and Euroscepticism.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1-22
Number of pages22
JournalEuropean Foreign Affairs Review
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Kluwer Law International BV, The Netherlands [pre-publication]


  • Benjamin Netanyahu
  • EU-Israel relations
  • Euroscepticism
  • Foreign relations
  • Speech-acts


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