More than 26,000 people have so far signed a petition launched by MERA25 Germany—the political party of pan-European movement DiEM25—demanding the immediate resignation of Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, over her disregard of the EU’s legal framework and basic moral decency in her unqualified support for the Israeli government’s collective punishment of the civilian population of Gaza.
”While condemning attacks on civilians in Israel, von der Leyen has supported the sealing off of civilians in Gaza from water, food and electricity and the bombing of the people of Gaza under the guise of “defence”. This unilateral action disregards both international law and the limits of her own mandate—given that the EU’s foreign policy is not her responsibility—and has sparked condemnation from diplomats around the world, and even officials both in Brussels and elsewhere in the EU,” writes a statement by DiEM25.
“Mrs. von der Leyen, incompetence we can tolerate. But flying to a warzone to cheerlead, on behalf of Europeans, war crimes and crimes against humanity: that we shall not tolerate. You are a disgrace and a liability. It is time for you to resign,” said Yanis Varoufakis, DiEM25 co-founder:
A footage of von der Leyen condemning the Russian siege and bombardment of Ukraine, together with another video, of her supporting Israel’s massacre of Palestinians as ”Isreal’s right to defend itself” have been circulating online, underlining her hypocritical stance. A year ago, von der Leyen said: ”Russia's attacks against civilian infrastructure, especially electricity, are war crimes.
Cutting off men, women, children of electricity and heating with winter coming- these are acts of pure terror. And we have to call it as such.”
As for Isreal, von der Leyen stated that "Today, Hamas terrorists have struck at the heart of "Israel" capturing and killing innocent women and children. "Israel" has the right to defend itself - today and in the days to come. The European Union stands with "Israel"," von der Leyen tweeted on X on Saturday.
To which European Parliamentary Member Clare Daly tweeted: ”Who do you think you are? You're unelected and have no authority to determine EU foreign policy, which is set by the EU Council. Europe does NOT "stand with Israel." We stand for peace. You do not speak for us. If you've nothing constructive to say, and you clearly don't - shut up,"
Clare Daly Irish MEP has been criticising EU’s lack of push for piece in Ukraine and now in case of Isreal’s bombardment of Gaza.
”A historic crime is unfolding in Gaza and the EU is in it up to its neck.” She wrote in her TikTok channel. ”MEPs sit and watch the slaughter and cannot even find it within themselves to condemn it, calling it a "humanitarian crisis," as if it was caused by the weather. Who has caused this humanitarian crisis? Do we not know?
No calls for a ceasefire! Nothing about collective punishment! Voting down calls to end the blockade! Just mealy-mouthed complacency, "right to defend," and the abandonment of victims, most of them children.
The European Parliament has shown its colours. The EU will never live down the shame of today's resolution.”
Ursula von der Leyen is a German politician who currently serves as the President of the European Commission. She previously served as the Minister of Defence in Germany from 2013 to 2019.
During her tenure as the Federal Minister of Defence, von der Leyen also made a controversial trip to Afghanistan. The trip drew criticism due to its high cost and the large size of the delegation that accompanied von der Leyen. Some saw the trip as an attempt to burnish her credentials on foreign policy and defence issues, which would be important for a potential leadership bid.
In 2019, von der Leyen faced criticism for plagiarism in her doctoral thesis. She was accused of copying sections of her thesis without proper attribution, which led to calls for her resignation as Defence Minister.
The allegations were later investigated by the university, and in October 2019, it was announced that von der Leyen's thesis contained "clear indications of plagiarism." The university stated that she had failed to cite sources properly in multiple passages of her thesis.
As the President of the European Commission, von der Leyen has emphasised the importance of a strong and cooperative relationship between Europe and Israel. In a speech at the American Jewish Committee Global Forum in June 2021, she stated that "Europe will always stand with Israel and the Jewish community", and emphasised the need to combat anti-Semitism and to support Israel's security.
At the same time, however, von der Leyen has also expressed concerns about Israel's settlement policy in the West Bank and its impact on the prospects for peace in the region. In a statement following Israel's announcement of plans to build new settlements in the West Bank in 2020, she stated that "settlements are illegal under international law, and their expansion undermines the viability of the two-state solution and the prospects for a lasting peace."