Benjamin Anthony
Co-Founder & CEO, The MirYam Institute

The EU and UK hypocrisy on Israel’s Golan stance

They can't work out Brexit, a deal between peaceful allies, yet they judge us on matters impacting our national survival? Hilarious
An anti-Brexit effigy is driven around Parliament square after the results of the vote on British Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal were announced in London, Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019. AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
An anti-Brexit effigy is driven around Parliament square after the results of the vote on British Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal were announced in London, Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019. AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

When Donald Trump declared his recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights the UK and the EU predictably hurried to rebuke and distance themselves from the decision. Yawn! 

Wait. Let the yawning be stifled. This time, I’m actually stirred. Something about these particular declarations is different. No, not the content, but the context, their comments coming as they did during the most public display of British-European political haplessness in recent memory. 

On June 23rd, 2016, the British public voted for the United Kingdom to withdraw from the European Union by way of the referendum dubbed “Brexit.” The fallout of that vote has taken the so-called leadership of the UK and Europe and converted both into nothing more than a collective of clowns. In plain sight onlookers can witness them somersaulting, tripping, tumbling and stumbling from one series of indecisions to the next. And about what? Only their own future and destiny, of course. It seems this independence thing is tough stuff after all.

Just last week, nearly three years on from the referendum, Prime Minister May’s Brexit deal was again rejected by parliament – for the third time! Despite witnessing her proposed compromise repeatedly voted upon and defeated in crushing fashion, Mrs. May has floated an earth shatteringly brilliant new gambit – bringing her deal for a fourth vote of course. What a fine demonstration of insanity that would be; repeating the same process time and again while anticipating a different result.

Without voicing a view on the virtues or pitfalls of Brexit, I believe that Israelis ought to be watching this process with great glee and smug satisfaction. We should do so unapologetically. When next this body of European incompetents girds to pressure our leaders and our nation about matters of our borders, our population, our security, our trade, our future and our very survival, Israel should preemptively preach the teachings of the Brexit farce in every diplomatic forum available.

Consider some basic facts. 

Joining the European Union is a process set out by law, the terms of which are known in advance of membership, as is the process of ceding from the union. It’s all there, dare I say “road-mapped” out, for anyone wishing to know the details. 

Despite those legal provisions, when it comes to implementing those very steps, one thing has become abundantly clear. Neither the United Kingdom, nor the other members of the EU, have the vaguest idea of when, where or how to execute the terms of their own interests. Surely this isn’t complicated Israelis might rightfully wonder. After all, it seems to us that what the UK and Europe are seeking to bring about for themselves is two states for two peoples living side by side in peace, security and good neighborliness (barring the separation of the English Channel). For decades, both have claimed that where the Israeli-Palestinian two state solution is concerned, “everybody knows what the final outcome will be. All that is required is two signatures on a piece of paper.”

Well Britain and Europe, here’s your chance to show us just how simple what you’ve been calling upon Israel to do actually is. We are waiting to be regaled by your élan. Or might it just be the case that your failure to perform that which you continue to demand of Israel is due to matters being slightly more complicated than your own silly soundbites would have people believe?   

Instead of the simple implementation of the public will, the entire Brexit process is shambolic, chaotic and inconclusive, and – most addictive of all – it’s playing out in the open for all to see. 

Israel’s leadership ought to look at this band of European jesters and remind both sides of the Brexit fiasco of some basic realities when next they come to opine on our future. 

Currently, where Brexit is concerned there is no religious conflict between the constituent parts of the ceding state or the states being ceded from. There is no dispute over religious and holy sites dating back generations, awaiting resolution. There are presently no instances of sustained acts of terror by one entity toward the other. Neither the EU nor the UK is calling for the absolute destruction of the other and there is absolutely no threat of the mass murder or ethnic cleansing of the populations of either the state that is exiting the union or the union being exited from. Oh yes, and neither party is asking for at least half of the other’s capital city prior to commencing or concluding negotiations. 

All of these considerations are absent and still the UK and the EU are utterly befuddled. 

Yet, when it comes to resolving the Arab conflict against Israel, where every single one of the aforementioned challenges – and more – is thrust upon Israel by her part time interlocutors, the very same band of irredeemable European prognosticators unabashedly declares that on matters of the Jewish state they know precisely what needs to be done.

What a laughable, demonstrable double standard! In the context of Brexit’s relative simplicity, the UK and Europe plead the case of complexity, while in the context of Israel’s situational complexity, they plead the case of simplicity. 

Statements by the UK and the EU about what Israel should or should not do must now be viewed for what they are; nothing more than the bleating of a shepherd-less flock utterly oblivious to it’s own lack of direction. 

When either the EU or the UK chastise Israel over the Golan Heights or insist upon the singular virtues and simplicity of the two state solution, both are merely acting true to form, clinging to the practice of insanity.

Israel’s reconstitution was the culmination of a centuries old yearning to be a free people in our land. While Britain and Europe might seek the acquiescence of one another in order to resolve their own issues of independence and unity, the Jewish state seeks no such permission. Nor should it. 

For too long Europe has demanded of the state and people of Israel that we accept upon ourselves a standard that no other people would be so much as asked to consider. Now that they have been exposed as so woefully ill equipped to deal with matters of their own future, perhaps we can be forgiven for rejecting their counsel on matters pertaining to the sovereignty of the Jewish state. The rhetoric of the UK and the EU should not be heeded. It should be ignored. 

About the Author
Benjamin Anthony is the Co-Founder & CEO of The MirYam Institute. He is an IDF combat veteran and a graduate of the University of Cambridge in the U.K. Follow the work of The MirYam Institute at www.MirYamInstitute.Org . Read Benjamin's Bio here: The MirYam Institute is the leading global forum for Israel focused dialogue, discussion and debate, and is the gold-standard for campus presentations and substantive Israel travel for elite graduate students, doctoral candidates and military cadets.
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