Judge, jury, and executioner

From the Times of Israel:

Many Israelis have long felt that the European Union is biased against them. Two legal scholars – a former Israeli ambassador and an American Jewish international law professor — think they’ve found the perfect case to prove the claim: A new fishing deal, signed between the Europeans and Morocco, which applies beyond Morocco’s internationally recognized borders, taking in the territory of Western Sahara, which Morocco invaded in 1975 and has occupied ever since.

And they are challenging EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton to explain why the agreement, which doesn’t exclude Morocco’s occupied territory, doesn’t show that the body holds Israel to a double standard.

The EU insists that any agreement will explicitly exclude the settlements in the “occupied” West Bank, the scholars noted in a letter sent last month to Ashton’s Brussels office. So why don’t the same constraints apply in the case of Morocco? This blatant inconsistency shows “an official double-standard practiced by the EU,” Professor Eugene Kontorovich of Northwestern University and Israeli ex-ambassador to Canada Alan Baker charged.

Last week, the EU responded to the letter, saying, essentially, that Israel’s occupation is different, but we’re not telling you how and why.

Yes, you did read that correctly. Israel’s ‘occupation’ is different, according to the EU. How is it different? They’re not saying. Why is it different? They are not saying. Why are they not saying? They are not saying.

As Kontorovich is quoted as saying:

“Whatever they have identified in their ‘analysis,’ they’re obviously not very proud of it. Had it been substantial, they would have surely not hesitated to provide more detail.”


“The terseness of Ashton’s statement reflects the general moral superiority of EU officials toward Israel that I’ve encountered in my attempts to discuss these issues with them,” he added. “The attitude is that they are the judges, we are the suspect. How dare we accuse or judge them? As one senior EU official said when I brought these matters up with him, ‘We’re here to talk about you [Israel], not us.’ That is why they do not need to give their reasons: They do not have to explain themselves. We do.”

So, there you have it: the EU is playing the part of judge, jury, and executioner. What price justice? Their blatant disregard for the law, mounted on their high horse of ignorance, is sickening. The only reason they get away with it is that there is no such thing as a truly independent, properly constituted forum to rule on such disputes. But, as I’ve said before, I would always back our lawyers. Probably that’s another reason the EU is ducking and diving. They know they are on shaky ground. They know they are wrong. And they know they are, at least for now, getting away with it. EU = evasively underwhelming.

That EU thingy

I fell obliged to blog about that EU directive, but am torn between a certain amount of rage at Catherine Ashton and the Eurocrats, and an equally certain amount of disappointment at being proved right that Netanyahu’s strategy about peace talks missed the point. Oh dear.

First, the damned EU. One of my friends says the main underlying cause is Holocaust guilt. The nations of Europe can assuage their guilt by scoring points off the Jewish State. True? Perhaps. What seems evident is that they have NEVER been 100% on Israel’s side. For example, the European states cut Israel’s supply lines in the 1973 war. Without the USA, that treachery could have been fatal.  More recently, their apathetic attitude to Israeli citizens under rocket fire, continues the trend. I’d like to see Ashton & Co in Sderot for a week or two during hostilities.

I like Melanie Phillipspost about this. And the wonderful Elder of Ziyon has a good analysis. I especially liked his poster:

eu jeru

Second, Bibi and the Israeli diplomatic corps. Here’s what the Elder says:

Israel is partially at fault for not having a clear, consistent, legal-based message to world diplomats on issues like Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria.

Beyond the legalities, though, is the reality that the poster above means to show: the world is targeting Jews, and only Jews. See this great post by Yaacov Lozowick on Beit Safafa for examples of Arab Israelis who moved to the other side of the Green Line and are never considered “settlers”.

Israel is doing a poor job at explaining its side of the story, and EU documents like this – even if only an incremental step – are the result. Nothing Israel is doing points to moving the discourse in any other direction. So things like the verbiage “borders,” instead of causing a firestorm, are roundly believed to be accurate.

I agree that Israel’s message has not been clear, consistent, or legally based, and has not been successful. I also agree that Israel has not been explaining its side of the argument well enough. But whatever criticism might be levelled at the lower ranks, pales into insignificance alongside that which the leader deserves. He should take responsibility for those failures, because if he had his eyes and ears open, he would know about them. For example, he should know that in the world, perception is all. And he should know that, regardless of the true position, Israel is seen by too many (fairly or unfairly) as being the obstacle to peace. He should have sorted that perception. I believe he could have. (I believe even I could!)

Even worse, in my opinion, is his failure with Obama. Bibi should have gone to Obama before any building freeze and made sure Obama was onside. Every last detail; should have been worked out. He did not do that. So the building freeze was for nothing, people’s perceptions and flawed perspectives remain. And as sure as Ashton is no friend of Israel, Israel will have to make concessions to get some peace talks on the go. It’s enough to turn a man to drink.

Funnily enough, I have this new whisky…

There’s a word for that

Just got time before Shabbat to post this link to another must read piece from the Elder of Ziyon. The title: Ashton apparently only has a problem with Jewish settlers, not Israeli Arabs. The whole thing is here. The conclusion should give you a wee fright about those double standards going on in the EU:

Ashton’s omission of Beit Safafa is only a small part of the inherent discrimination that most of the world applies to Israeli Jews. Only Jews can be “illegal settlers,” not Muslims or Christians.

I think there is a word for that.

There is, indeed. And it’s not diplomatic, or even-handed, or fair, or wise, or principled.