It would be the stuff of comedy if it weren’t so devastatingly tragic.
France is targeted by radical Islamic forces. The death toll is over 130 people, with hundreds more wounded. This is the second major wave of attacks in the country within the past year. And the threat is far from over.
A Russian airliner in Egyptian airspace is downed by ISIS. Hundreds are murdered. There are no survivors.
A hotel in Mali is attacked by gunmen shouting “Allahu Akbar,” “God Is Great.” One hundred and seventy hostages are taken. A number of them are killed.
Brussels, the capital of both Belgium and Europe, is on high alert, as authorities fear Islamist attacks and uncover cells and weapons caches.
And ISIS claims it’s planning to strike Washington and other major cities. In the midst of all this, here’s what Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström offered by way of explanation following the Paris carnage:
“Clearly, we have reason to be worried not only here in Sweden but around the world because there are so many who are being radicalized. Here again, you come back to situations like that in the Middle East, where not least the Palestinians see that there isn’t any future. The Palestinians either have to accept a desperate situation or resort to violence.”
France confronts murder and mayhem, and this passes for trenchant analysis by the foreign minister of a significant country?
Perhaps it makes life easier for Wallström. After all, she has a readymade, off-the-shelf explanation for such a catastrophe — link it back to Israeli responsibility. And, of course, if that’s the case, then the solution is also obvious — up the heat on the Jewish state, which, by the way, is precisely what her government did one year ago by becoming the first major European country to recognize the “State of Palestine.”
But, unfortunately for her, the tragic events in Paris had nothing whatsoever to do with the Palestinians and everything to do with a jihadist mindset that abhors Western values and beliefs — and sees Stockholm in the very same light as Paris, Brussels, or, for that matter, Jerusalem. Apropos, Madam Minister, have you visited Malmo recently and spoken to the few Jews remaining there about what life is like in the face of the changing demography of Sweden’s third largest city?
And she was not alone.
The European Union, of which Sweden is a part, chose precisely this time to announce the implementation of its labeling of Israeli goods originating from the “occupied territories.”
Never mind that for weeks now Israelis have been living with a murderous spree of attacks by Palestinians on parents, children, you name it.
And never mind that the Palestinian leadership not only has failed to condemn these assaults, but has continued to incite and lionize the perpetrators. Why should inconvenient facts get in the way of cherished theories about approaches to this conflict?
The EU step was taken after 16 member states signed a letter pressing for the action, following earlier discussions on the subject in Brussels. Apropos, the 12 that did not sign deserve recognition and appreciation – Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Greece, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia. Plus, Hungary, which was an original signatory, has now reversed itself and said it will not implement the labeling guidelines.
Berlin’s most famous department store, KaDeWe, promptly put the rules into effect and, among other items, targeted Israeli wines from the Golan Heights.
Think about that for a moment.
Apart from the painfully striking symbolism of this act in the heart of Germany, the EU appears to believe that Israel doesn’t belong in the Golan Heights today.
If not, who does?
Syria, the country that threatened a war of extermination against Israel in 1967 and lost the area in the ensuing battle? If so, which Syria? The Syria of President Assad, who has wreaked such havoc on his nation, and who is in cahoots with Iran, Hezbollah, and Russia? The Syria of ISIS, which controls a broad swath of Syrian territory? Either way, just imagine the consequences for Israel, the region, and the world.
Perhaps to the Brussels establishment these are petty issues that get in the way of their airtight thinking about how Israel ought to act, but for the Jewish state they constitute life-and-death matters.
And now along comes the American Anthropological Association (AAA) and endorses a boycott against Israeli universities.
Is this for real?
Of all the countries in the world, they opt to isolate the only liberal democracy in the Middle East? The only country in the region whose universities have diverse student bodies, and who represent the essence of open scholarly inquiry and academic excellence?
Does the AAA truly believe that by singling out Israel it is advancing the prospects for peace between Israel and the Palestinians? Or is that not the ultimate goal of the resolution’s authors, who perhaps have more insidious aims in mind when it comes to Israel’s future, while knowing they can count on a gullible group that can be swayed to support them?
Again, the facts of the conflict be damned:
The Palestinians could have had a state of their own, alongside Israel (but, no, not in its place), as far back as 1947 and on multiple occasions since, but consistently refused each offer.
After the 1993 Oslo Accords, which many thought provided new hope, PLO Chairman Arafat revealed the following year in South Africa, in an unguarded moment caught on camera, that the whole thing was a ruse, inspired by the Prophet Mohammed’s deception of the ancient tribe of Quraysh.
PA President Abbas is in the 11th year of his four-year term, doesn’t control Gaza, and was AWOL when Israel agreed to a ten-month settlement freeze to jumpstart the peace talks. Moreover, just this month, Abbas himself admitted that he walked away from the 2008 peace offer by then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
And until today, Israel has stated repeatedly its willingness to take risks for a two-state accord, but, alas, has no credible partner with which to reach an end-of-conflict, end-of-claims final deal.
For the AAA, as for the Swedish foreign minister and, it appears, too many EU nations, the path of least political resistance is to focus obsessively on Israel, irrespective of what else might be going on in the world.
May they wake up before it is too late to the clear and present dangers facing the democratic world — improbable as that might seem in light of their recent actions.