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Monday, July 22, 2013

Anti-Semitism by another name

Michael Curtis blasts the European Union for being more interested in sabotaging Israel than in helping the 'Palestinians.'
For more than thirty years the European Union (EU) has issued statements critical of Israel, and been supportive of the Palestinian cause. The EU Venice Declaration of 1980, the first statement it issued on foreign policy, while understandably supporting the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, asserted, however, the unacceptability of any unilateral initiative to alter the status of Jerusalem, proclaimed the need for Israel to end its control over those lands since 1967, and declared that Israeli settlements were an obstacle to peace.
What was not stated was that the only reason these lands became "occupied" in the first place was that in 1967, for the third time in twenty years, entire coalitions of Israel's neighbors – including Egypt, Jordan and Syria -- initiated wars against Israel (they initiated the earlier wars in 1947 and 1956); that under Jordanian rule, which lasted from 1948 until 1967, many parts of Jerusalem was not only prohibited to Jews, but, for example, Jordanians took gravestones from the holy Mount of Olives cemetery and used them as the floors for their latrines, and Jewish holy sites were desecrated.
What was also not stated was that since 1967, Israel has constantly sued for negotiations and peace, but as of the "Three Nos" of the Khartoum Conference of 1967 {No peace, no negotiations and no recognition), the Arab countries are the ones who have rejected all proposals, or else inserted the "poison pill" precondition of "right of return" -- a way of demographically overwhelming Israel with millions of Arabs, and therefore an assured deal-breaker. Finally, not stated is that according to the official Charters of both the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, all of Israel is one big settlement -- to be destroyed and displaced by themselves, possibly in "stages." Maps currently show "Palestine" supplanting all of Israel, with the border running, as the Palestinians vow, "from the [Jordan] River to the [Mediterranean] Sea."
The EU has been critical of many of the activities of Israel, including the alleged treatment of the Arab minority and of the Bedouins, but particularly and unrelentingly of the Israeli settlements, built upon land they think should be given to the Palestinians for a future Palestinian state, but on about 2% of which Israelis have started to live. Again, there has been no known discussion in the EU even of the reasonableness of expecting Israel to hold these disputed lands in perpetuity for people who not only reject every peace offer, but who are officially committed to destroying Israel.


With an economy accounting for 20% of world trade and with a number of liberal democracies among its members, the EU could be a major player in the Middle East. How is it that that Iran's nuclear proliferation, the rise of Islamism, and the increased role of al-Qaeda in regional conflicts visibly concerns the EU less than a few dunams of disputed land? The EU might truly serve the Palestinians by helping to develop the Palestinian economy and the introduction of the rule of law, equal justice under law, a free press, and transparent and accountable governance. Designating Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, while pressing for human rights, democracy, and stability in the Arab world, might be of primary concern to the EU, as well. Sadly, however, it is hard not to come to the conclusion that the EU is not actually interested in helping the Palestinians so much as in helping them sabotage Jews.
Insisting that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the main security problem in the Middle East provides a convenient narrative, but conveniently overlooks the turmoil produced in Syria, Egypt, Lebanon and imminently by Iran, and the rising prominence al-Qaeda and its affiliates in the Middle East over the past years. It especially overlooks damage being caused by the countries promoting and funding this turmoil -- primarily Saudi Arabia, Iran and Qatar.
Still, all considerations of priority aside, is the EU's decision to sanction Israeli products produced beyond the 1949 ceasefire line at all productive? It is one thing to propose two states as the only feasible solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It is quite another to attempt unilaterally to resolve the conflict by putting direct economic and political pressure on Israel.
What Curtis is describing might be described as an obsession with Israel and particularly with Jews. Former Industry and Trade Minister and Russian Prisoner of Conscience, and current Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky has promoted a '3-D test' for determining whether anti-Semitism is motivating someone's behavior. The three D's are demonization, double standards and delegitimization. Here's how Sharansky describes double standards:

The second “D” is the test of double standards. From discriminatory laws many nations enacted against Jews to the tendency to judge their behavior by a different yardstick, this differential treatment of Jews was always a clear sign of antisemitism. Similarly, today we must ask whether criticism of Israel is being applied selectively. In other words, do similar policies pursued by other governments produce similar criticism?

It is antisemitic discrimination, for instance, when Israel is singled out for condemnation by the United Nations for perceived human rights abuses while proven obliterators of human rights on a massive scale — like China, Iran, Cuba, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Syria, to name just a few — are not even mentioned. Likewise, it is antisemitism when Israel’s Magen David Adom, alone among the world’s ambulance services, is denied admission to the International Red Cross.
I submit that Europe's obsession with Israel and its incessant focus on Israel's behavior is nothing but a double standard in another costume. Would Europe expect any other country to turn around and give away land that it conquered in a defensive war? Would Europe prod any other country to give strategic assets to enemies that are determined to destroy it? Is there anywhere else in the world where Europe focuses on a 'few dunams of disputed land' when there are massacres going on all around?

Europe's behavior is anti-Semitism by another name. Things haven't changed much in the last 70 years, have they:?

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