Perceptions of the European Union in Israel

Geçeci, Esra
Outsiders’ perceptions on the European Union (EU) as a research area is relatively new, bridging together the EU actions and capabilities in the foreign policy, and the EU’s identity by putting the receivers of the EU message at the center of analysis. The EU has portrayed itself as a normative, civilian, and responsible power, acting as a force for good and leading by example in promoting liberal and democratic values. Israeli context, however, poses significant challenges to the EU’s identity. By studying EU perceptions in Israel, thesis aims to give a comprehensible answer to the questions on what the main constituents of the EU perceptions in Israel are and whether the Israelis perceive the EU as a coherent, legitimate, and credible actor. Based on the lexicometric analysis, the thesis demonstrates that Israeli perceptions of the EU are determined by a number of variables, namely; Holocaust, anti- Semitism, Iran and related security concerns, migration, and the issue of Jerusalem dominantly. However, shared values, cooperation, and prosperity have a marginal place, indicating that observing identity characteristics that the EU attributes itself is not possible in Israel. Thesis also argues that the EU image in Israel is characterized by the EU’s lack of cohesion among the members, as well as decreased credibility and legitimacy. It is evident that historical narratives run even today in perceptions of the EU in Israel. However, high level of bilateral economic relations and the EU’s efforts to have a common foreign policy are not reflected as a positive perception.


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Citation Formats
E. Geçeci, “Perceptions of the European Union in Israel,” M.S. - Master of Science, Middle East Technical University, 2022.