Sunday, July 23, 2017

As If It Weren't Obvious

In private remarks to the leaders of Hungary, the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia that were accidentally broadcast to members of the Israeli media outside the room, Netanyahu was overheard calling it “crazy” for the E.U. to insist that Israel honor Article 2 of an association agreement signed in 1995 which makes trade with the bloc conditional on Israel’s “respect for human rights and democratic principles.”


“I think Europe has to decide if it wants to live and thrive or if it wants to shrivel and disappear,” Netanyahu said. “I am not very politically correct — I know that’s a shock to some of you. It’s a joke: but the truth is the truth.”

“We are part of the European culture,” Netanyahu added. “Europe ends in Israel. East of Israel, there is no more Europe.”


“The European Union is the only association of countries in the world that conditions the relations with Israel,” Netanyahu said, “on political conditions — the only one!”

“We have a special relationship with China, and they don’t care,” he added. “I mean, they don’t care about the political issues.”

“It’s absolutely — may I say — I think it’s crazy. I think it’s actually crazy,” Netanyahu said.

  The Intercept
I bet he didn't care. He'd say it out loud and for the record, wouldn't he?
After Netanyahu’s complaints were made public, the European Union’s delegation to Israel responded with a statement that it still expects his government to show “respect for international humanitarian law” and make progress towards a two-state solution.
Yeah, well THEY HAD TO. Wonder what they said in the meeting. Because look what he reminded them:
“Don’t undermine that one European, Western country that defends European values and European interests and prevents another mass migration to Europe,” Netanyahu told the leaders, who have resisted the resettlement of refugees in their countries on the grounds that Muslim migrants could dilute their national character.
Although I don't know how Israel is preventing any migrations. Unless it's by locking the Palestinians in the country.
[Historian] Tony Judt, in an interview published in The London Review of Books shortly after his death in 2010 [was] asked by Kristina Boži?, “Is there anything Europe can do to exert pressure on Israel?” Judt’s reply is worth quoting at length:
Israel wants two things more than anything else in the world. The first is American aid. This it has. As long as it continues to get American aid without conditions it can do stupid things for a very long time, damaging Palestinians and damaging Israel without running any risk.

However, the second thing Israel wants is an economic relationship with Europe as a way to escape from the Middle East. [...] They don’t want to be there economically, culturally or politically – they don’t feel part of it and don’t want to be part of it. They want to be part of Europe and therefore it is here that the EU has enormous leverage.


Why do Europeans not do it? Here, the problem of blackmail is significant. And it is not even active blackmail but self-blackmail. When I talk about these things in Holland or in Germany, people say to me: ‘We couldn’t do that. Don’t forget, we are in Europe. Think of what we did to the Jews. We can’t use economic leverage against Israel. We can’t be a critic of Israel, we can’t use our strength as a huge economic actor to pressure the Jewish state. Why? Because of Auschwitz.’ I understand this argument very well. Many of my family were killed in Auschwitz. However, this is ridiculous. Europe can’t live indefinitely on the credit of someone else’s crimes to justify a state that creates and commits its own crimes.


Israel should not be special because it is Jewish. Jews are to have a state just like everyone else has a state. It should have no more rights than Slovenia and no fewer. Therefore, it also has to behave like a state. It has to declare its frontiers, recognise international law, sign international treaties and agreements. Furthermore, other countries have to behave towards it the way they would towards any other state that broke those laws.


Otherwise we are acknowledging that a Jewish state is an unusual thing – a weird, different thing that is not to be treated like every other state. It is the European bad conscience that is part of the problem.

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