Thursday 23 July 2015

The Best Lack All Conviction.

While I was on a speaking and book promotion tour of the Netherlands, the Dutch Foreign Minister, Bert Koenders, was on an official visit to Israel.

During his visit, Koenders instructed his embassy to find a way to express the close relations between his country and the Jewish State. He also voiced his country’s opposition to BDS.

While cultural exchanges would be a good start, a more affirmative Dutch action against   massive diplomatic injustice and damage being caused to Israel in international forums would be far more valuable than an occasional exchange of artists.

Much of this damage is caused by a total lack of morality by European officials, including the Dutch government

Let me explain.

During my public speeches, I listed egregious cases of cynical Dutch diplomatic decisions that reflected far worse against Koenders’ government than against Israel.

Recently, the Dutch government decided to cut the pension of a 90 year old Holocaust survivor who left Holland to spend her last days with her children and grandchildren in Israel. The reason given for this pension cut was that this lady’s family lived just over the Green Line and not, according to Koenders’ government, in Israel proper.
This raises the questions, who gave the Dutch government the right to decide where the borders of Israel should be, or where a Dutch Holocaust survivor chooses to live?

In a talk I gave in the Anne Frank Hall of the Jewish Liberal Center in Amsterdam, I pointed out that, had she survived, that lady could have been Anne Frank. This act was disgracefully shameful from a Dutch government with an appalling record toward its wartime Jews. That it would, today, continue to punish a Dutch Holocaust survivor over its grievance or difference of opinion with the Israeli government is shameful. Victimizing a 90 year old Jewish woman is not way for any liberal democracy to behave.

The shame goes on.

In my talks I mentioned a recent United Nations vote on children in warzones that condemned only Israel. With a horrendous vote of 104 nations it called Israel the worst violator of children’s rights. Only four voted correctly in defense of Israel. They were the United States, Canada, Australia and Israel.

Notice the total lack of European nations. Not one European country had the moral commitment to say that this decision was wrong. Not one European nation had the morality to vote against that motion, including a Dutch government that so often projects itself as the high moral authority when it comes to Israel.

This pattern was repeated when the World Health Organization named Israel as the worst violator of health rights. Again, no European nation had the courage to object to such a heinous charge. Holland, like all the other cynical European nations, chose to abstain rather than stand for truth and justice.
Just before I left for my speaking engagements in Holland, the Dutch government issued a travel advisory warning their citizens visiting Israel to avoid rock-throwing Jews!

I brought with me a Jerusalem Post news item, dated June 26, in which four Palestinians were convicted for throwing rocks that almost led to the death of Ziona Kala. Kala was in a coma for weeks following this attack. She was luckier than most, and I listed the names of Israeli Jews who have been killed by rock-throwing Arabs.

As I told my audiences, if the Dutch government does not have the decency to stand for truth and justice and, instead, participates in the ongoing slander against the Jewish State, then shame on them, and shame on all Dutch people that permit their government to continue committing such an affront against my country. I urged them to lobby their political representatives over such injustices.

The Dutch Foreign Minister said his country is opposed to BDS, but its actions parallel some of the aims of the BDS Movement, namely the demonization and delegitimization of Israel.

I had the distinct opportunity of putting BDS activists in their place when they attempted to intrude into my talk in Amsterdam. I find individual BDS activists emotionally eloquent, but intellectually bankrupt. With facts and truth, I found it easy to expose them for the liars and cheap hypocrites that they are. 
The same facts and truths must be employed by the Dutch government, indeed every European government, when it comes to standing with or against Israel.

Sadly, each and every European government in recent years has been swayed by cynical self-interest or ignorance by leaving Israel isolated on issues and resolutions that merit their commitment and support.

The poet, W.B.Yeats, wrote, “The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.”

In the halls of international diplomacy, this is true. The worst regimes overwhelmingly pass hateful anti-Israel resolutions without objections from what ought to be decent and moral governments.

The time had come for the European diplomatic community to counter each anti-Israel motion with the truth and justice they deserve, and vote accordingly. 

Only then will we see the chambers of the United Nations, the EU, and the World Health Organization, being led by so-called strong liberal democracies, and not by Third World tyrants.

Barry Shaw is the Consultant on Delegitimization Issues to the Strategic Dialogue Center at Netanya Academic College. He is also the author of ‘Fighting Hamas, BDS and Anti-Semitism.’

No comments: