(JTA) — The Anti-Defamation League accused European countries of “capitulating to Arab intimidation” in voting to recognize Palestine as a non-member state at the United Nations.
“They have acted without courage and capitulated to Arab intimidation and pressure,” ADL National Director Abraham H. Foxman said in a statement.
The Czech Republic was the only member of the European Union that on Thursday that voted against recognizing the Palestinian Authority as a non-member state observer at the U.N. General Assembly. Only eight other nations voted ‘no,’ including Israel, the U.S., Canada and Panama.
Among the nations that voted yes were Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Ireland, Belgium, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, and Greece. Other E.U. nations abstained.
The ADL statement singling out Europe was separate from another statement from the group, expressing regret at the vote. A wide array of U.S. Jewish groups condemned the vote, although several praised it, including Americans for Peace Now.
Previously, the Palestine Liberation Organization had the status of non-member observer entity.
“They were intimidated at a cost, and they have lost the credibility to play a serious role in bringing the Israelis and Palestinians together,” Foxman said.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Thursday criticized the General Assembly’s vote as "unfortunate and counterproductive."
Alon Liel, a former director-general of Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, called the European vote “a sucker-punch” to the policies of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, according to Ynet, the Israeli news site.
He was among several hundred activists who celebrated the vote at a rally in Tel Aviv, the news site reported.
Thousands of flag-waving Palestinians set off fireworks and danced in the streets on Thursday to celebrate the vote, Reuters reported.