Liberty, democracy, brutality
Posted by musliminsuffer on January 30, 2008
In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful
=== News Update ===
Liberty, democracy, brutality
Many EU politicians treat Israel as a state that holds the highest European ideals dear. But this is hogwash
By David Cronin
29/01/08 “The Guardian” – -Diplomatic pressure from the European Union has been credited as being partly responsible for how Israel allowed some deliveries of food, medicine and fuel to Gaza over the past few days. But you would never guess that senior EU officials had been flexing their metaphorical muscles if you saw one particular document distributed to the Brussels press corps.
This was a transcript of a speech given by the European commission’s vice-president, Franco Frattini, during a visit to Israel.
In a week when the UN berated Israel for violating international law by blockading Gaza, it seems extraordinary that Frattini should indulge in some flagrant fawning towards his hosts.
According to his prepared script for a conference entitled Israel at 60: test of endurance, Frattini did not allude once to the blockade imposed on Gaza, even though the UN considers it to be an illegal act of “collective punishment”.
Instead, he insinuated that opponents of Israel in Europe were guilty of antisemitism. “This prejudice, this stance against Israel and Jews, has no place in today’s Europe,” he said.
Read those words again: “This stance against Israel and Jews”.
How can opposition to a country’s government be equated with hostility towards adherents of a religion?
When Frattini was serving as Italy’s foreign minister, there was no shortage of people appalled at the buffoonery of his boss, Silvio Berlusconi. Nobody, though, could seriously have suggested that taking issue with Italy’s then premier was synonymous with an antipathy towards Catholics.
Of course, genuine bias against Jews – or people of any other faith – is deplorable. But European policymakers are not helping to promote tolerance when they accept facile reasoning from the Israeli government.
Depressingly, we have been down this road before.
In 2003, an EU-financed opinion poll found that Europeans regarded Israel as the number one threat to world peace. Rather than examining why that was the case, a number of European politicians made it plain they were embarrassed by the findings.
Also during his visit, Frattini told the Jerusalem Post that Europe “cannot leave Israel alone” in its efforts to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear bomb.
He omitted to mention that if Iran was hoping to join the nuclear club, it would be emulating Israel, which finally confessed in December 2006 to having weapons of mass destruction.
Never shying away from some self-congratulation, Frattini took credit for how Hamas was placed on the EU’s list of proscribed organisations when he chaired the union’s council of foreign ministers in 2003. He claimed, too, that Hamas had provoked “Israel’s armed response” in the Palestinian territories and that “Israel lives and exists according to the same traditions and values as European citizens”.
Whatever one thinks of Hamas, this is clearly hogwash. Anybody who looks seriously at the Middle East conflict would conclude that Palestinian violence is a reaction to the relentless brutality and provocation of Israeli forces. That doesn’t excuse for a second the horrific consequences of suicide bombing. But it does help explain them.
As for the argument about “European values”, I assume these refer to the principles on which the EU is nominally based: “liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and the rule of law”.
But the Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem has calculated that of the 810 Palestinians killed by the occupying forces in Gaza in 2006 and 2007, just 360 belonged to an armed organisation.
By what logic – other than a very twisted one – can Israel’s state-approved slaughter of civilians be considered as proof that it upholds values we are supposed to cherish?
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