Saturday, September 03, 2011

How Anti-Semitism Prevents Peace

From the Middle East Quarterly, Summer 2011, pp. 73-83 (view PDF version) by David Patterson*:

Where are the moral leaders of our time?

From Fox News, 2 Sept 2011, by Anne Bayefsky:
Today, Germany became the latest country to pull-out of a UN “anti-racism” conference scheduled for New York on September 22, 2011.

Dubbed “Durban III” after the global hatefest which took place in South Africa in 2001 and ended three days before 9/11, the U.N. gambit is headed for a showdown.

While the U.N. deliberately planned their meeting to “commemorate” the Durban fiasco for September, hoping it would attract the hundreds of world leaders already in New York for the annual opening of the General Assembly, nine states have now cried foul and bowed out, including the U.S. and Israel.

...Organizers are planning to coral participating countries into signing a declaration that would celebrate the Durban Declaration and turn it into the centerpiece of UN “anti-racism” efforts.

The Durban Declaration charges only Israel among 192 nations with racism and declares that the Palestinians are “victims of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.” In effect, Durban and its progeny are part of a decades-long campaign by Israel’s enemies to cast the Jewish state as akin to racist South Africa, paint Zionism as racism, and isolate and defeat Israel on the political battlefield.

Thursday, negotiators discussed the latest U.N. draft which begins “We, heads of State and Government…reaffirm that the aim of this commemoration is to mobilize political will…for the full and effective implementation of the Durban Declaration...”

Leading the charge in the negotiations was Benin who spoke for the approximately 130 states belonging to the “Group of 77,” the developing bloc of nations that include 56 Islamic states. From the western side, playing ball by UN rules favoring the non-democratic majority, are Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Belgium, and Ireland. Two states objected to the idea of “reaffirming” the Durban Declaration – France and New Zealand. But it remains to be seen if they were merely posturing or they really intend to pull out of a summit specifically designed to “commemorate” an event unworthy of anything but the dustbin of history. No negotiations at this point are going to avoid that inevitable conclusion.

Furthermore, the text is littered with poison pills, neutral only on the surface – such as emphasizing four times in a page and a half the “victims of racism” – which the Durban Declaration describes as Palestinians “suffering” from Israeli racism. There are also numerous attempts to sideline the 1965 racism treaty, which emphasizes the voluntary assumption of duties by states.

The stakes are especially high because, as Argentina said in defense of this “celebration,” the final declaration will be a presidential statement that will be made by heads of state and government. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation – the prime movers behind Durban III – may succeed in building a majority of states prepared to celebrate modern anti-semitism and dress it up as human rights.

But thanks to Canada, Israel, United States, Czech Republic, Italy, The Netherlands, Australia, Austria, and now Germany, it will be a pyrrhic victory. There is no fence-sitting on this one.

Where are the rest of the moral leaders of our time?

In the midst of the Arab Spring, the PA mocks democracy - Baroness Ashton is speechless

From an article published 2 Sept 2011, by Emanuele Ottolenghi*:

Baroness Catherine Ashton, the European Union's high representative for foreign affairs, is not afraid to speak out. In August alone, she issued no fewer than 36 statements and speeches on a wide range of foreign policy issues; in July it was 56. 


...But on August 22, the Palestinian Authority postponed local elections indefinitely, and Ashton had nothing to say. 
The last time Palestinians voted freely was in January 2006. Given that their president is supposed to serve a four-year mandate, which expired in January 2009 without new elections; that the Palestinian parliament is similarly supposed to serve a four-year mandate, which expired in January 2010, again, without new elections; and that local councils were similarly elected for a four-year term between January and December 2005 - no Palestinian institution currently enjoys any democratic legitimacy.

Ashton was in Ramallah this week and had a wonderful opportunity to remind the PA that democratic legitimacy requires holding, not postponing, elections. After all, it is hard to fathom how expired terms and electoral delays square well with the Europeans' declared commitment to a democratic Palestinian state. 

Yet, she uttered not a word about the fact that the [Palestinian] authority, a tireless recipient of Europe's financial largesse, is yet again shunning its duty to build and sustain democratic institutions. 

Middle East peace remains Europe's top priority, and it is a European axiom that Israeli settlements stand in the way of that vision. Ashton thus expressed "profound disappointment" at the Israeli government's announcement last month that it would permit the building of 900 new housing units in East Jerusalem. In the following weeks, she expressed deep regret over the same state of affairs, noting that "This is the third time since the beginning of August that the Israeli government has approved settlement expansion in the West Bank, including in East Jerusalem." 

The Israeli government made three announcements beforehand - and Ashton, her eye on the ball, responded with three pointed and timely statements to publicly register the EU's public disapproval of Israel's conduct. 

Her timely loquaciousness, then, has one exception: when it requires Europe to criticize the Palestinians. 
Baroness Ashton began her journey as EU high representative when she spoke at the headquarters of the Arab League in Cairo, on March 15, 2010 - barely nine months before the Arab Spring began. 

 Ashton playing nice with her friends in the Arab League
(Associated Press)

Addressing an audience of autocrats, Ashton never spoke of democracy in the Arab world. She only mentioned the word "freedom" once - with regard to Palestinian freedom from Israeli occupation, not human freedom from repression, a topic that, no doubt, would have resonated with ordinary Arabs, but might have infuriated her hosts. 

Eighteen months and several Arab revolutions later, Europe's top diplomat is waxing lyrical about democracy in the Arab world, as if she, or Europe, had always championed it. Yet, the basic tenets of her first flawed speech, designed to ingratiate Europe to Arab dictators, did not change. Israel building a few hundred more houses in the West Bank is a threat to peace, which solicits disappointment, concern and regret. But this is not the case when, in the midst of the Arab Spring, the PA makes once more a mockery of democracy. Ashton might have expressed disappointment, concern or regret at this development. 

Instead, the consolidation of another corrupt and autocratic Arab regime in the West Bank does not even merit a gentle nudge. 

*Emanuele Ottolenghi is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the author of "The Pasdaran: Inside Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards' Corps," to be published by FDD Press this month.