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Posted at 2:16 PM ET, 02/ 8/2011

What's wrong with Europe?

By Jennifer Rubin

Here at Herzilya the chasm between Europe and Israel was highlighted. Thankfully, for those who support a safe and secure Israel, also evident was the degree to which Britain's mindset differs from that of its European allies. From the perspective of the German journalist and moderator, Josef Joffe, the problems started in 1967 and because of the "wars waged by Israel." Nary a mention was made of the anti-Semitism epidemic in Europe. And no hint of criticism of Israel's neighbors was voiced. There was zero recognition that the Muslim countries and groups dedicated to Israel's destruction might be at the root of the problem.

The vice prime minister of Israel, Silvan Shalom, was hearing none of this. He began with a compelling analysis of the prospects of democracy in the Middle East. Citing the Palestinian election in 2006 and the Bush administration's disastrous decision (opposed by many within the administration) to force Israel to include Hamas, Shalom made the argument that democracy is more than elections. Whether in Israel or Lebanon or Egypt, the acceptance of parties that do not accept democratic principles and do not renounce violence is a grave error. The challenge therefore is for Western democracies that share values and culture with Israel to work on the problem of Muslim countries that do not share their values. Shalom pointed out that Europe might be a more acceptable interlocutor in the Palestinian conflict if the Europeans did not reflexively take the Palestinians' position. And he implored the Europeans to focus on the real problem: their mutual threat from an aggressive Islamic regime in Iran.

The extent of the problem was then on full display. Uri Rosenthal, the foreign minister of the Netherlands, renounced Israel delegitimization efforts. However, he then began to lecture the Israelis, as a friend -- mind you -- that the Jewish state needed to be more "forthcoming" in negotiations and that, after all, Israel needs to understand that the settlements are illegal. Once again, the critiques flowed only one way. The rationale was perverse: Unless Israel starts coughing up concessions, enlightened fellows such as Rosenthal will be shouted down by Israel's critics back home. In sum, he proved Shalom's point: Europe is estranged from Israel in large part because Europe's approach to Israel has become cool if not adversarial. And by the way, he was mum on the news, revealed by NGO monitor, that his government provided a huge six-figure sum to Electronic Intifada, the website that spreads Islamic propaganda.

But, thank goodness Britain is not as bad as its continental brethren. Britain's shadow defense minister, Michael Dugher, was up next, arguing that the relationship, especially economically, is "strong." He argued that, more important, there are shared values between Britain and Israel. He made a compelling argument that with regard to Israel, there really isn't any difference among British political parties with regard to Israel. He nevertheless was candid enough to admit to anti-Israel sentiment on college universities and in the trade union movement. He denied that Palestinian groups in Britain have influence beyond a narrow segment of the country. And then, unlike the continental representatives, he took head-on the scourge of anti-Semitism in Britain, which he declared must be fought on "all levels." Even better, he chided the media for lack of balance, and indeed, its perpetual framing of a negative portrayal of Israel. He was candid enough to recognize the noxious role of fundamentalist Islamic groups in Britain that pose a direct threat to Israel.

Another German official (the equivalent of a governor) made a single positive contribution to the discussion: Israel is the Jewish state, and the Muslim countries must recognize it as such.

Well, the panel certainly highlighted that even among "friendly" European powers, Israel must struggle to combat the pro-Muslim perspective that, with the exception of Britain, is so pervasive that its proponents fail to recognize their own bias. Even more troubling is the degree to which continental European countries are blind to or are in denial about their indigenous anti-Semitism and the degree to which their own countries have been influence by Muslim populations and radicalized leftists who are profoundly anti-Israel.

By Jennifer Rubin  | February 8, 2011; 2:16 PM ET
 
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Comments

I think this is a #s game more than an issue of hatred of Jews/Israel.
Simply put,a billion muslims just have more influence/more everything than 10 million Jews. In addition to their numerical advantage,the Muslims have oil and trillions of American dollars to buy influence.
All that Israel has to keep the game interesting is a lot of Nuclear weapons,a powerful military,and US support. And we wondering why Israel is under the gun.

Posted by: rcaruth | February 8, 2011 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Jen, Israel is not the center of the universe.

Posted by: jckdoors | February 8, 2011 3:31 PM | Report abuse

The discontinuation of settlements shouldn't be a bargaining chip, it should be a given. It is immoral and a violation of international law to just grab land from another country. That era passed in the early 1900's. Unless Israel is willing to accept responsibility for Palestinians as Israeli citizens, they have no right to settle in Palestinian territories.

How would it look if we started setting up American settlements in Iraq or other occupied territories? Not too good.

Posted by: billyvw | February 8, 2011 3:36 PM | Report abuse

@jckdoors: We've all been here long enough to realize Ms. Rubin has a fairly limited repertoire. Her category list notwithstanding, she's not really that versatile a blogger.

And Israel tops that short list. That and her hatred of the all things related to the O-word.

Posted by: MsJS | February 8, 2011 3:47 PM | Report abuse

I think it's very fair to compare Taiwan with Israel in terms of importance as allies. The ascendance of Red China economically eclipsed the importance of Taiwan who at one time was the centerpiece of our East Asian foreign policy. The same process is happening to Israel,the centerpiece of our ME FP. As the Muslimworld ascends in terms of Economic Status,Israel will decline as did Formosa,how can it be otherwise.
Does anyone believe if Red China went nuts and atacked Taiwan,that we would go to war over that?

Posted by: rcaruth | February 8, 2011 4:00 PM | Report abuse

rcaruth, a big difference in my mind between Taiwan and Israel in your analogy is that Israel has nukes.

Posted by: MsJS | February 8, 2011 4:07 PM | Report abuse

"Citing the Palestinian election in 2006 and the Bush administration's disastrous decision (opposed by many within the administration) to force Israel to include Hamas,"

I believe that in other posts Jennifer you have triumphantly called that the "Bush Freedom Agenda".

Posted by: johnmarshall5446 | February 8, 2011 4:30 PM | Report abuse


BTW,Taiwan has a policy of ambiguity very similiar to Israel's. Taiwan is also a much larger nation,with a larger GDP.
http://www.airliners.net/aviation-forums/military/read.main/40893/
The point is that not long ago it would have been unthinkable not to defend Taiwan,today,we would do a lot of thinking before we would war with PRC over ROC

Posted by: rcaruth | February 8, 2011 4:44 PM | Report abuse

"Another German official (the equivalent of a governor) made a single positive contribution to the discussion: Israel is the Jewish state, and the Muslim countries must recognize it as such."

This is actually problematic not positive Jennifer. If you can say that about Israel, then why can't Egypt say they want to be a Muslim state and recognized as such?

Posted by: johnmarshall5446 | February 8, 2011 4:45 PM | Report abuse

rcaruth, a big difference in my mind between Taiwan and Israel in your analogy is that Israel has nukes.
Posted by: MsJS |

BTW,Taiwan has a policy of ambiguity very similiar to Israel's. Taiwan is also a much larger nation,with a larger GDP.
http://www.airliners.net/aviation-forums/military/read.main/40893/
The point is that not long ago it would have been unthinkable not to defend Taiwan,today,we would do a lot of thinking before we would war with PRC over ROC
Posted by: rcaruth | February 8, 2011 4:44 PM

Posted by: rcaruth | February 8, 2011 4:47 PM | Report abuse

"Shalom made the argument that democracy is more than elections. Whether in Israel or Lebanon or Egypt, the acceptance of parties that do not accept democratic principles and do not renounce violence is a grave error"

Most democracies in the world have been born out of the violent overthrow of some other regime, and have needed the threat of violence to stay in power at one time or another (witness our own civil war). Shalom is a poor sutdent of history.

Posted by: johnmarshall5446 | February 8, 2011 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: rcaruth | February 8, 2011 3:01 PM

"In addition to their numerical advantage,the Muslims have oil and trillions of American dollars to buy influence."

Yes they have the trillions alright, but very little influence. After all, what greater influence can one get that the 4th most powerful military care of the US taxpayer?

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Posted by: Shingo1 | February 8, 2011 5:21 PM | Report abuse

“There was zero recognition that the Muslim countries and groups dedicated to Israel's destruction might be at the root of the problem.”

Probably because there are zero Muslim countries dedicated to Israel's destruction.

I had to laugh at the absurdity of this statement:

“Shalom pointed out that Europe might be a more acceptable interlocutor in the Palestinian conflict if the Europeans did not reflexively take the Palestinians' position.”

And what would being a more acceptable interlocutor achieve, one may ask? The US has openly and reflexively take the Israeli position and what has it achieved?

Nada.

“And he implored the Europeans to focus on the real problem: their mutual threat from an aggressive Islamic regime in Iran.”

Iran doesn't threaten Israel.

“In sum, he proved Shalom's point: Europe is estranged from Israel in large part because Europe's approach to Israel has become cool if not adversarial.”

How typical that Jennifer should frame this argument in such a way that 300 million people are estranged (ie. subordinate) to 6 million. Shouldn't it be that Israel is the arty that is estranged?

“He made a compelling argument that with regard to Israel, there really isn't any difference among British political parties with regard to Israel.”

It's hardly compelling Jennifer, it just happens to be identical to the situation in Washington, where devotion to Israel is a pre requisite to holding office.

“He was candid enough to recognize the noxious role of fundamentalist Islamic groups in Britain that pose a direct threat to Israel.”

And how do fundamentalist Islamic groups in Britain directly threaten Israel? By hurting Israel's feelings with nasty rhetoric?

Posted by: Shingo1 | February 8, 2011 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: rcaruth | February 8, 2011 4:00 PM

"The same process is happening to Israel,the centerpiece of our ME FP. As the Muslimworld ascends in terms of Economic Status,Israel will decline as did Formosa,how can it be otherwise."

Excellent point.

Trita Parsi documented this aspect very well in a book which covered how Natenyhau's position on Iran changed throughout the 90's.

Netenyahu was originally very hawkish on Iran, but under advice from intelligence advisers, toned down the rhetoric until 1996. At that point, Netenyahu feared that rapprochement with Iran would thaw relations between Tehran and Washington and lead to a improved relations between the two at Israel's expense.

This is why the Israelis are so manic about Iran.


Posted by: Shingo1 | February 8, 2011 5:39 PM | Report abuse

billyvw:
It is immoral and a violation of international law to just grab land from another country. That era passed in the early 1900's.

In year 1975 (see billyvw, it was 1975, not 1900) in Helsinki all the European countries plus USA and Canada all agreed to declare that huge land grabs (and ethnic cleansing) by Russia from Germany, Poland, Finland were perfectly with International Law. Carter signed the Act. America says all the time that two British occupations by "illegal" settlers of Malvinas Islands and Spanish Gibraltar are also legal. How do Spaniards and Argentinians like you condoning the occupation of their lands? They did not attack the English. The British came and took their land. How high your morality jumps when people talk about occupied Gibraltar or Polish cities?

If America says that bloody Russian aggression (and then ethnic cleansing and genocide) against peaceful Poland was legal, and Obama agrees that Russians can keep the territories, why on Earth Israel has no right to hold the land previously illegally occupied by genocidal bandits?

How "moral" was land grab from Poland with your moral permission and your illegal discrimination of Israel, billyvw? Maybe you hold Russians as superior race entitled to do whatever they want? And maybe Israelis are inferior race?

Posted by: boroda | February 9, 2011 1:55 AM | Report abuse

Did the international community sign those treaties for concessions from the beneficieries, or because they think land grabs are legitimate? If Israel wants to emulate Soviet Russia, America should not be their friend.
In addition, are the British treating the natives in their colonies like animals? If not, perhaps Israel could learn something from them. I'm pretty sure Britain granted citizenship to large numbers of colonized peoples. Is Israel prepared to do that?
If Israel would treat the Palestinians humanely, they would be a much more legitimate colonial power? Leaving an entire nation in limbo is indeed immoral.

Posted by: billyvw | February 9, 2011 6:44 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: boroda | February 9, 2011 1:55 AM | Report abuse

"In year 1975 (see billyvw, it was 1975, not 1900) in Helsinki all the European countries plus USA and Canada all agreed to declare that huge land grabs (and ethnic cleansing) by Russia from Germany, Poland, Finland were perfectly with International Law."

if you;re going to bluff, you might want to check your facts first. There was no such artilce included in the Helsinki Agreement.

Such an act would make the Geneva Conventions redundant and obsolete.

"America says all the time that two British occupations by "illegal" settlers of Malvinas Islands and Spanish Gibraltar are also legal."

False. No such recognition of legality was ever passed.

"How do Spaniards and Argentinians like you condoning the occupation of their lands?"

Predates the Geneva Conventions and both as still disputed. And yes, the Argintinians did atatck the British in the Falklands War.

"If America says that bloody Russian aggression (and then ethnic cleansing and genocide) against peaceful Poland was legal, and Obama agrees that Russians can keep the territories, why on Earth Israel has no right to hold the land previously illegally occupied by genocidal bandits?"

Russia is no longer occupying Poland.

It helps to get a perspective when you're not making stuff up.

Posted by: Shingo1 | February 9, 2011 7:10 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: billyvw | February 9, 2011 6:44 AM

"Did the international community sign those treaties for concessions from the beneficieries, or because they think land grabs are legitimate?"

No reference to land grabs appears anywhere in that agreement.

"I'm pretty sure Britain granted citizenship to large numbers of colonized peoples. Is Israel prepared to do that?"

No they are not, because that would endanger Israe's ethnocetric makeup. In any case, colonization is illegal and annexation is no longer recognized as legal either.

Posted by: Shingo1 | February 9, 2011 7:13 AM | Report abuse

boroda: In which event did the west celebrate: Russia conquering Poland and the other Warsaw Pact countries, or the liberation of the Warsaw Pact countries? Liberty for all is the goal of western democracy. Israel is badly out of step with that policy.

Posted by: billyvw | February 9, 2011 7:49 AM | Report abuse

racruth reveals more than perhaps intended in writing:

"Does anyone believe if Red China went nuts and atacked Taiwan,that we would go to war over that?"

Deterrence depends on this being false. Of course it is in the deep national interest of the United States to maintain the post WWII international order which it has created, and for this to survive it is probably vital that China be unsure if the Americans would tolerate an invasion of Taiwan without going to war.

As Sun Tzu observes, the most successful general is the one who wins without going to war, and the cold war policy of deterrence carried this out. For this policy to have any hope of success, the adversary must regard it as at least probable that the US WILL do what racruth assumes no one any longer believes it would.

racaruth is probably right about this claim at the momemnt. As long as BHO is president, no amercian adversary will take seriously a threat that the US will go to war over any transgression. BHO's strictures are aimed only at traditional american allies, the UK, Israel, Korea, Columbia and its new friends in Eastern Europe: Poland, the Baltics, Georgia, while his outreach is to authoritarian regimes historically hostile to the US: Russia, Chavez's Venezuela, Cuba, China, and Iran

Its worth recalling that the Korean war occured when N Korea concluded the US would not respond to an invasion of S Korea.

So lets reconsider racruth's statement:

"Does anyone believe if Red China went nuts and atacked Taiwan,that we would go to war over that?"

If the answer is no, and as racruth suggests, remains no if we substitute "Israel" for Taiwan, what about the following substitutions:

Japan? (i.e. from China)
South Korea? (from N Korea)
Columbia (from Venezuela)
Latvia, Estonia or Lithuania (from Russia)
Texas (from Mexico)

If the answer is so obviously no for Taiwan, who can say for sure what these answers are, and if any of them are NO, then it suggests US deterrence under BHO is in shambles, and the post WWII international order is seriously at risk. If this is true, then we should expect the world to become much more dangerous and much less prosperous.

Posted by: mikem23 | February 9, 2011 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Mikem23/You misread my point in order to make your point.
What I meant to say was how time changes a powerful nations sense of priorities. There is no doubt if in 1955 PRC had attacked ROC,there would have been WW3. Which is why we should be cautious about war over Israel. In 1955,neither PROC or ROC were economically important to the US,but ROC was symbolically significant because of cold war dynamics. As PROC eclipsed ROC over decades,it became ridiculous to maintain the same military committment to ROC. Israel has no "Actual" importance to us in terms of foreign policy but like Formosa,it has huge symbolic importance. But time and economics is wearing down that importance. In twenty years,Iran-Iraq,may be our major energy supplier replacing SA and Israel as the centerpiece of our ME policy.
As for your other examples:TODAY
We won't fight China over Japan
We won't fight NK over SK
We wont fight Venezuela
We wont fight Russia
Mexico will regain Texas via Demographics
None of these fantasy wars will ever occur under any administration esp. if Congress ever retakes the responsability of declaration of war.

Posted by: rcaruth | February 9, 2011 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Why is this in an American newspaper? Israel and its troubles with its neighbors are not my problem.

Posted by: jiji1 | February 9, 2011 10:47 AM | Report abuse

JIJI1,
When we are reading the opinions of a NeoCon in the school of JR,America and Israel are blended into one entity,just like Florida and America are inseperable. In JR's mind,we are Israel.they are us COME TOGETHER RIGHT NOW
Israel is an ally,but to me Holland England Japan France Germany Italy etc are more important allies. I will admit that Israel is the most dangerous of our allies due to their weird Nuke policy.

Posted by: rcaruth | February 9, 2011 11:17 AM | Report abuse

The discontinuation of settlements shouldn't be a bargaining chip, it should be a given. It is immoral and a violation of international law to just grab land from another country. ...

Posted by: billyvw | February 8, 2011 3:36 PM | Report abuse
----
And of course stopping terrorist attacks and recognizing Israel's right to exist is NOT a given, right?

Pray tell, what country Israel grabbed that land from? Last time a country had that land it was Jordan. But it does not want it back after Palestinians tried to overthrow King Hussein government after he gave them asylum.

Posted by: pihto999 | February 9, 2011 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: mikem23 | February 9, 2011 9:36 AM

"As long as BHO is president, no amercian adversary will take seriously a threat that the US will go to war over any transgression."

_________________________________

That was already the case in 2008, when Bush was caught flat footed over the Georgian conflict. All Washington was able to do was huff and puff, but Putin called Washington's buff and revealed the limits of American power.

Posted by: Shingo1 | February 9, 2011 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: pihto999 | February 9, 2011 5:35 PM

“And of course stopping terrorist attacks and recognizing Israel's right to exist is NOT a given, right?”

Israel doesn't require anyone's recogniton to exist. Israel has never given any credence to what Palestinians think, so they surely don't need to be told they have a right to exist.
The PLO recognized Israel in 1988 and it achieved nothing but getting Arafat killed.

And don;t wine about terrorists. Israel elected 2 of them to the office of Prime Minister, so it clearly doesn't have a problem with terrorism.
“Pray tell, what country Israel grabbed that land from?”

The land is owned by private owners who own title to the land, You know, property rights? The basis of any democracy?

Posted by: Shingo1 | February 9, 2011 5:56 PM | Report abuse

Potato, potahto. One can take the statement about intransigent Europeans and tweak it a bit:

America might be a more acceptable interlocutor in the Palestinian conflict if the Americans did not reflexively take the Israeli position.

I think the US is closer to Israel than Europe is to the Pals. At least European pols aren't terrified of offending Mr. Abbas and his friends.

A few more points:

1. Settlements are unacceptable. Period. You don't start eating the pie before you've shared it.

2. Democracy guarantees bugger all. Did Jeffersonian democracy in America save its aboriginal neighbours from obliteration?

Posted by: galb | February 9, 2011 6:10 PM | Report abuse

pihto99 said: "Pray tell, what country Israel grabbed that land from? Last time a country had that land it was Jordan. But it does not want it back after Palestinians tried to overthrow King Hussein government after he gave them asylum"
---------------------------
If the Palestinians are an independent people, they are grabbing it from them.
Protection of ones citizens is one thing, but Israel has moved into oppression and ethnic cleansing. How does colonizing Palestinian land protect Israelis?

Posted by: billyvw | February 9, 2011 8:33 PM | Report abuse

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