‘Liberman summons EU envoys over ‘one-sided’ policies’

Times of Israel: January 17, 2014

The summoning of various EU envoys in order to decry those Community policies considered not in Israel’s best interests may be understandable. But it is a somewhat predictable course of action and one unlikely to change the overall calibration of European and, indeed, world opinion.

That Israel is actively hated, disliked and vilified in some parts of the planet is generally well known. What is not so obvious, perhaps, is the degree of indifference with which the majority of people view what happens in the region. Israelis, Palestinians, Syrians, Egyptians, Lebanese, Libyans and quite a few others do have their troubles, trials and tribulations but, so long as these do not impact too severely on the rest of humanity, then life goes on in much the same manner as before.

In other words, after 66 years of conflict, privation and hardship in which nothing new or really remarkable has emerged from so much Jewish-Arab contention, why should the rest of us retain more than a passing concern for events and circumstances still too remote to affect us in any meaningful way?

Tens of thousands upon hundreds of thousands have already died, been widowed, orphaned and exiled in the ongoing Syrian civil war. Yet there are many of us who seem to accept all this with a certain degree of equanimity, seeing it as just another Middle East power struggle with, no doubt, many more of them to follow in the years up ahead.

One reason why the Syrian conflict might be receiving only minimal global attention may be due to its lack of entertainment value. After all, there is a limit to how much human beings can be bombarded by images and reports of death and destruction in faraway places. Feelings of indignation and sympathy soon give way to those of impotence and resignation if no tangible improvement in such matters can be registered within a reasonable period of time.

And so it is with the 66 year-old deadlock between Israelis and Palestinians. Many today would regard such an interval as being well overdue for a big change in outlook and a more radical approach to moving matters onward and towards a speedier conclusion.

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This may now be the only means whereby this entire matter can be closed down in what might yet be described as fairly good order. The process provides for immense satisfaction in the knowledge of a task nearing the final stages of completion. Some serious entertainment value is also one of its byproducts, a factor not to be ignored when so little of it has been in evidence for decades.

The true opposite of love is not hate. It is indifference. With hate, existence is acknowledged; with indifference, this is not always so.

Jews, above all others, have long known the cost of indifference.             Now, perhaps, they may also know of one new way to prevail against it.

A boy showing indifference to his dinner.