There are days, (OK, most days) when it seems the whole world feels entitled to condemn, warn, chide and generally boss Israel around on its security situation. We Israelis ahve become used to this, and generally try to ignore it, or if that is not possible, we try to “go along to get along”, making vague mumbly promises just to get those interfering ill-willed do-gooders off our backs. But there are occasions when it all becomes just a bit too much.
This week has been one of those weeks. Actually it started already last week. It started with the Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom embarking on a modern-day blood libel of Israel when she accused Israel of extra-judicial executions.
Wallstrom’s comments were made during a 45-minute debate in the Swedish parliament, in which she replied to questions from parliamentarians on Sweden’s foreign policy. One of the issues that came up for discussion was the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and three MPs asked Wallstrom why the Swedish government had adopted an unbalanced position which prefers the Palestinian position over the Israeli position. Wallstrom was asked why she did not condemn terrorist attacks against Israelis, to which she replied that she does indeed condemn attacks against Israelis, but then went on to level harsh accusations at Israel. “I reject and condemn the stabbing attacks. I think it’s terrible and must not happen, and Israel has the right to defend itself and ensure its security,” she said, according to Israel’s Channel 10 News. “At the same time,” Wallstrom continued, “Israel’s response cannot be – and I say this in other cases as well – one of extrajudicial executions or a disproportionate response that brings to a number of deaths on the other side that is much greater than the original number of casualties.”
Isaac Bachman, the Israeli Ambassador to Sweden furiously responded:
“Israel’s moral standards in the war on terror are at least as high as those of other Western nations which deal with the same threat,” Bachman said in a statement. “Israel manages to avoid civilian casualties much more than other Western countries. The focus on the way terror victims protect themselves diverts attention from the real horrors of terrorism. Instead, terrorists and inciters must be condemned and then acts of self-defense will not be required,” the Ambassador added.
Binyamin Netanyahu too thoroughly denounced Wallstrom’s disgraceful words:
“This is the second time she has said things with regards to Israel that are not acceptable to us and are not true,” Netanyahu told Loefven, and also denounced the double standards in the Swedish Foreign Minister’s remarks. “I did not see her saying that last week in San Bernardino, or the attack in Paris when police killed the terrorists, that those were executions as she had said about Israel,” added Netanyahu.
This caused the Swedish Foreign Ministry to backtrack somewhat:
clarifying that “the foreign minister did not say that Israel conducts ‘extrajudicial executions.’ The Foreign Minister made a general statement about international law and the right to self-defense and the importance of proportionality and distinction. What she stated applies to all parties.”
but this sounds too mealy-mouthed and in any case is too little too late.
Moving to the US, last week America suffered a horrendous terrorist attack in San Bernardino., where a husband-and-wife team of Islamic terrorists opened fire on their co-workers’ Christmas party, killing 14 people and injuring dozens more. The police gave chase to the terrorists, eventually killing them in a gun battle. I didn’t notice anyone chiding the Americans for killing the terrorists, let alone accusing them of “extra-judicial executions” or a “disproportionate response”. Of course, this is as it should be, but have any of you ever counted how many times Israel is on the receiving end of such accusations and warnings?
On Saturday night Britain too rejoined the ranks of Islamic terror targets as a knife-wielding terrorist slashed the throat of a man and injured 3 others in Leytonstone Underground station in London, shouting “This is for Syria!”.
The terrorist was subdued by police armed with tasers without any further commentary or calls for restraint.
Meanwhile the stupid dumb buffoon who masquerades as the American Secretary of State, aka John Kerry, has warned Israel yet again. that “violence, demolitions and settlements are imperilling the two-state solution”. The fact that the violence is all one-sided, emanating from the Palestinians against Israelis and not vice-versa (except in the most extreme individual cases); that house demolitions are but one form of deterrent punishment to prevent further violence; and that settlements have never been the issue as we have seen from the disastrous Gaza experiment, and from the fact that every peace offer from Israel has been rejected by the Palestinians, does not seem to impinge on Kerry’s closed blinkered mind. Netanyahu rebuffed Kerry’s remarks, (much too mildly for my tastes), saying:
Israel will not be a binational state,” Netanyahu said emphatically at the opening of the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem. “But in order for there to be peace, the other side must decide that they also want peace, and unfortunately that is not what we are seeing.” Netanyahu reiterated previous claims that the Palestinian Authority has been inciting the current wave of violence, citing a visit Saturday by PA chief negotiator Saeb Ereket to the home of the family of a man who had carried out a shooting attack last week and was killed in the course of the attack. “Not only does he not condemn the attacker; he offers condolences to the family and therefore gives support and encouragement to acts of terror,” he said.
Kerry also mentioned another favourite talking point of Israel’s chiding do-gooders. He said that the “lack of hope” is what is leading Palestinians to violence. In truth, it is hope itself, rather than the lack of it, which is leading them to violence – hope that they can destroy us, as Abu Yehuda writes in “Hope is the enemy“:
The Left and our pretend-allies-but-really-enemies abroad keep trying to ‘make sense’ of it, usually by picking on something that we are doing that is causing them to be so ‘frustrated’. They are losing hope, we are told. If we would give them their hope back they would stop killing us – as if concessions ever had any effect except encouraging more terrorism! … Hope is the enemy, as Jabotinsky pointed out. The more they hope they can get rid of us, the harder they will try. If we want to live with them, we must take away their hope of driving us out. Or, to paraphrase Kahane, screw living with them: drive them out first. In other words, the Left’s proposals are exactly the opposite of what is needed if we are to survive in our homeland. This is the explanation of the ‘paradoxical’ fact that the more concessions we make, the more terrorism we get. It isn’t paradoxical at all. We don’t need a ‘process’ to give them hope, we need to destroy their hope. We don’t need to try to calm the waters with restraint, we need to meet their terrorism with the strongest possible hand. Demolish the houses of terrorists, build in Judea and Samaria, kick the inciters out of the Knesset, and shoot the stabbers. Loosen rules of engagement for soldiers and police. Take back the Temple Mount. Disproportionate force and collective punishment are good. Negotiations are bad, until we are in a position to dictate terms of surrender.
The fact that the US sees fit to reproach Israel when they are amongst the group of allies bombing ISIS in Syria – though not Bashar Assad’s forces, thus leaving Iran and Russia strengthened – should give pause for thought before they offer words of warning to Israel.
Similarly, Britain finally voted to join the Americans and allies in bombing ISIS. This is a victory for PM David Cameron whose wish to bomb Assad’s regime in Syria earlier in the year was defeated in the House of Commons. As noted above however, this bombing will not necessarily solve the problems or bring peace to the Middle East since wiping out ISIS, commendable as that aim is, will leave Iran strengthened and emboldened, with an easier playing field, and Russia cheering on from the sidelines and joining in when it suits them.
One of the more startling displays of rhetoric took place from the benches of the Opposition in the parliamentary debate last week. Labour Shadow Foreign Secretary Hilary Benn delivered a corker of a speech calling for his party to join with the Conservative government in voting to bomb ISIS in Syria to wipe out “the fascists”. There wasn’t a single thing I could disagree with and was highly impressed.
Impressed that is, until the blogger Edgar Davidson pointedly reminded us that just a year ago, that same hypocritical Hillary Benn launched a disgusting attack on Israel as it defended itself from thousands of Hamas missiles launched from Gaza (emphases added):
Well, apparently while he demands the UK bomb Islamic terrorists in a country over 2000 miles away in order to avoid hypothetical future attacks, he does not believe a certain other country has a right to defend itself from Islamic terrorists on its border – even while those terrorists are launching hundreds of rockets that are reaching 50% of that country’s civilian population. Indeed this would be the very same Hilary Benn who delivered the most vicious condemnation of Israel last summer when Israel finally responded to defend itself from multiple unprovoked Hamas rocket attacks. Here is what he said (it is difficult to imagine a more sided, anti-Israel statement and all the claims in the first paragraph were subsequently proven to be lies – the schools and power station were hit by Hamas rockets misfiring – with no mention at all of the millions of Israeli civilians having to live in shelters for 4 weeks ):
The scenes we have witnessed have been appalling. The ground invasion of Gaza by Israeli troops was wrong and has only led to even more suffering. 1,800 people there have been killed, 450,000 people have been forced to leave their homes, the fuel supply for the power station has been bombed and the UN has warned that the health service is on the point of collapse. The citizens of Gaza did not know where it was safe to go, and the shelling of the UN-run schools where people were sheltering on 30 July and 3 August was an outrage. The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called these attacks reprehensible, unjustifiable and criminal. I agree, and there must now be a full investigation so that those responsible can be held to account.
Edgar provides us with a couple of his very useful infographics, one of which shows that there is not one difference in practice between ISIS (permissible to bomb) and Palestinian terrorists (cough, oops, I’m sorry, militants); and a second (here below) which serves to emphasize that for the world, self-defence is for me (the world), but not for thee (Israel).