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Friday, April 04, 2008

Swiss foreign minister's 'active neutrality' targets Israel, Jews

Earlier this week, I noted that the United States is considering declaring Switzerland 'non-neutral' after the country signed a $20 billion natural gas deal with Iran in possible violation of US sanctions against the Ahmadinejad regime. The Wall Street Journal reports in Friday's editions that the gas deal is all part of an 'active neutrality' advocated by foreign minister Micheline Calmy-Rey, the nut job in the hijab in the picture at left. And one of her targets is Israel.
Ms. Calmy-Rey wants to turn Switzerland into a moral superpower. It is a morality, however, that is firmly anchored in the left-liberal mainstream that seems to have lost its moral compass. She shares the aversion of Europe's general public toward the U.S. and Israel. There is an emotional resentment of globalization and a belief against all evidence that, in the end, only broad-based development aid can improve the lives of the poor.

It was only logical then that Ms. Calmy-Rey would recommend the old socialist Jean Ziegler, of all people, as a human rights adviser to the United Nations. The controversial co-founder of the "Moammar Gadhafi Human Rights Prize" is a friend of Fidel Castro and an advocate of Hugo Chávez and naturally an unmerciful critic of "American imperialism" and Israel. Switzerland was also the only European country to vote in favor of last month's one-sided anti-Israel resolution at the U.N. Human Rights Council. Ms. Calmy-Rey has a natural talent for alienating Switzerland's most reliable partners.

It is a miracle that her most disastrous act so far went almost unnoticed. In December 2006, she received an Iranian delegation for talks on the nuclear program. To the horror of her closest colleagues, she came up with the idea of improving relations by holding a "seminar on differing perceptions of the Holocaust." One must understand the enormity of this: Ms. Calmy-Rey suggested a debate in Switzerland with Iranian Holocaust deniers on whether the murder of six million Jews actually happened. Fortunately, nothing came of this idea. It would not only have been outrageous, but also illegal, since genocide denial is a crime in Switzerland. She is isolated in the government, and her colleagues seem to grow more skeptical. But they do not speak out openly against her.

To avoid any misunderstanding, Ms. Calmy-Rey is no Holocaust denier, and is undoubtedly against Iran's nuclear weapons program. But the episode makes clear the carelessness with which the foreign minister risks her country's reputation for the sake of public appeal. Her "active neutrality" threatens to destroy neutrality through sheer, usually misguided, activism.

Most important, it's counterproductive. The point of the talks with Iran was to convince the mullahs to make their nuclear plans transparent. Instead, the regime in Tehran gained time and a positive image through the contact. The problem is that Ms. Calmy-Rey is forcing a foreign policy role on Switzerland that the small country cannot and should not play. This new, wrong-headed visibility harms Switzerland and causes international confusion. The very fact that Swiss foreign policy has become an issue at all is evidence enough that Ms. Calmy-Rey must be stopped.
On Friday, there will be a demonstration outside the Swiss embassy in Tel Aviv against the natural gas detail. I hope to have coverage for you.


At 1:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Little has changed from when they were Hitler's silent partners.


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