Harriet Sherwood was predictably all agog on August 25th over Baroness Ashton of Upholland’s bizarre and inappropriate intervention in the decisions of the legal system of a country not under her jurisdiction. That this unelected and supremely under-qualified Eurocrat thinks it her divine right to interfere in the affairs of a sovereign country trying to defend itself from constant terror threats, and to proffer schoolmarm-type admonishments on a subject about which it is embarrassingly obvious she does not have a clue, is nothing new. She has been doing it ever since she was shoe-horned in to her current £328,000 per annum position on December 1st, 2009.
First there was her miserable opening speech on the Middle East just two weeks after she came into office in which she stated that:
“East Jerusalem is occupied territory, together with the rest of the West Bank. The EU is opposed to the demolition of Palestinian homes, the eviction of Palestinian families, the construction of Israeli settlements and the route of the “separation barrier”.
“The best option seems to be, and that is the most supported by Palestinians, is to open the land crossings, and that’s what we’re working on.”
“The position of the EU is clear: the blockade is unacceptable, unsustainable and counterproductive. It is not in the interests of any of those concerned.”
Well, I’m not sure exactly when Catherine Ashton thinks she became an authority on the subject of the interests of the Israeli people, (maybe she doesn’t realise that we actually have democratically elected representatives to take care of those issues on our behalf), but I do know that her preposterous statements and her patronising tone are sadly reminiscent of British imperialistic attitudes supposedly gone by.
And now it’s the turn of the anti-terrorist fence to arouse Ashton’s steroid-enhanced sense of moral outrage.
“The EU considers Abdallah Abu Rahmah to be a human rights defender committed to non-violent protest against the route of the Israeli separation barrier … The EU considers the route of the barrier where it is built on Palestinian land to be illegal.
“The high representative is deeply concerned that the possible imprisonment of Mr Abu Rahmah is intended to prevent him and other Palestinians from exercising their legitimate right to protest against the existence of the separation barriers in a non-violent manner.”
Oh come off it, Lady Ashton! Abu Rahmah is no more a ‘human rights defender’ than you are Miss World and you should know perfectly well that the ‘non-violent protest’ which goes on every week at Bil’in has resulted in the injury of scores of Israeli soldiers and hundreds of thousands of shekels worth of damage to a fence which has the sole purpose of protecting Israeli lives. It also might be a good idea to make your mind up whether these violent protests are against the ‘route’ of the fence or its actual existence if you cannot resist the urge to make public statements on the subject. A quick perusal of the internet would show you that organizations opposed to the fence such as the Popular Struggle Co-ordination Committee (such 70s-style radical chic nostalgia, eh?), aided and abetted by far-Leftist lawyers such as Gaby Lasky have a far wider agenda than just moving the fence a few meters to the right or left.
Of course the million Euro question is are the aims of those organizations intent on rendering Israel incapable of defending itself either through armed attack or delegitimisation on the international stage so very different to the aims of the organization which Catherine Ashton represents? For years the EU has been operating a ‘trojan horse’ policy which undermines Israel’s security and sovereignty .
Per Seth J. Frantzman, a PhD researcher at the Hebrew University, writing in the Jerusalem Post:
“Between 2002 and 2008, a total of $14 million was granted to various Israeli NGOs through the EIDHR (European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights). My investigation of the NGOs that received funding revealed that the lion’s share of the money benefited two groups: Palestinians and Israeli Arabs. $5.5 million was directed specifically to causes for Palestinians such as the Association for Civil Rights in Israel‘s project “Building a Better Future: Empowering the Palestinian Residents of East Jerusalem to access their planning and house [sic] rights” which received $135,000. A further $7m. went specifically to programs that benefit only Israeli Arabs such as the al-Awna fund’s “Master Plan for the Unrecognized Bedouin Villages: Securing minority rights for housing and social services” which received $263,000. Even when the EIDHR funded programs for women it did so only for programs for Bedouin or Israeli Arab women, except for a token $100,000 it gave to an organization called Isha le Isha (Woman to Woman) which helps fight women trafficking.”
“Around $73,000 was directed towards former IDF soldiers. It wasn’t to help them with trauma or reward them for a “shared citizenship.” It was to get them to “break the silence” about what they witnessed while in the army, to provide testimony that might lead to a process whereby European courts might put the soldiers or their officers on trial for war crimes. Of course that is not what Breaking the Silence stated for the public. They described their project as “personal encounters with former Israeli combat soldiers.” “
“The EU, realizing it could not get Israel to change its laws through diplomatic means, has resorted to creating an internal lobby within Israel to get Israel to bend to the will of Europe. “
Now here’s the rub, Lady Ashton:
Like some 300,000 other Israelis I am actually a European citizen by virtue of my British passport. You therefore, in your role as High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of the EU, also shoulder some responsibility for my security, including the rather basic human right of not being subject to terrorist attacks. All your empty rhetoric about the ‘unacceptable’ blockade (which prevents weapons and missiles being smuggled into Gaza from Iran), ‘open borders’ with Gaza (which would enable suicide bombers to once more murder Israeli civilians as they go about their daily lives), and the ‘illegal’ anti-terrorist fence (which has made our lives here tolerable once more after so many years of misery and bloodshed) suggests to me that my human rights –including the most basic right to life – are expendable in your eyes. How exactly does the EU explain away the fact that it is prepared to sacrifice the human rights of some of its citizens just because they happen to be Jews living in Israel in order to pursue its shockingly short-sighted political agenda? Are European memories really so short?
As an EU official who is not subject to the whims of voters, you have no need either to pander to, or fan the flames of, the current mood on the European street which is so shamefully hostile towards Israel and Jews. You can instead look objectively at the real security interests of Europe and wake up to the fact that your current policies and attitudes are building blocks in the establishment of at least one Iranian-backed repressive Islamist terrorist dictatorship right on Europe’s eastern borders. Is that really conducive to European security in years to come?
However, in order to come to that rather glaringly obvious conclusion, you may have to rethink some of your own obviously deeply ingrained attitudes. A first step in the right direction could be to review some of your Facebook friends who seem to be rather strange choices for someone purporting to be a diplomat motivated to work towards universal human rights.
Unless, that is, universal human rights are not the prerogative of Israelis in your world.