Unlike Shakespeare’s words from Romeo and Juliet the partings which have taken place recently and others which are bound to occur contain a mixture of bitterness and blessed relief.
The biggest parting earthquake was of course the UK referendum result which in the face of all the polls and political pundits resulted in a victory for the Brexit campaign. The aftershocks from that seismic event are still rumbling across the UK political landscape and the casualties are mounting with ever-increasing collateral damage. David Cameron, in classic British stiff upper lip style, resigned and this triggered a series of events which are unprecedented in UK political life for many years. The British Prime Minister’s departure is regretted by most Israelis because he was and still remains a genuine advocate for the Jewish State. He did not always overcome the inherently anti Israel bias of the Foreign Office but there is no denying that compared with many other political leaders in the UK and certainly in the EU, his understanding of and commitment to Israel’s rights is exemplary.
On the other hand the leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, representative of the hard left and certainly no friend of Israel, is facing a revolt from his parliamentary colleagues but seems determined to hang on. Whether he stays, singing “I shall not be moved” or is turfed out on his ear the fact remains that his party is fractured and increasingly hostile to Israel and the Jewish National Movement called Zionism. His eventual departure will produce no tears from most Israelis and it will take a long time for trust to be re-established. In fact given the just released report by a Labour internal committee that the party is squeaky clean and untainted by any form of Judeophobia, when everyone knows the opposite to be the case, the estrangement from most Jewish voters will likely be permanent.
The bottom line of all this UK mayhem is a divorce from the EU and its increasingly out of touch masters in Brussels. Despite mounting crises ranging from uncontrolled movement of people including terrorists across unprotected borders, economic chaos and currency woes, massive youth unemployment and increasing hostility to Jews, this monstrous entity continues to focus day in and day out on Israel and its alleged crimes. No clearer example of the blind obsession now prevailing in the EU was the reception given to the President of the PA, Mahmoud Abbas. Speaking to a meeting of the EU, Abbas spewed out his usual litany of libels notable of which were two amazing assertions. First was that all terrorism in the world would instantly disappear if Israel would only hand over every single piece of territory which the Arabs covet. This was followed by the lie that there were Rabbis who advocated that the Israeli Government should poison the water supplies provided to the Palestinian Arabs. Making these lies was bad enough but what was even more despicable was the sight of the EU members of Parliament giving Abbas a resounding round of applause. Instead of walking out or standing up and objecting they applauded him!! Following a fire storm of objections from Jewish groups and the Israeli PM, Abbas later issued a lame retraction but of course by then the damage had been done, the media had spread the word far and wide and anyhow everyone knows what was originally meant.
The continuing enthusiastic embrace of Abbas and his corrupt outfit by the EU merely reinforces most sane Israelis perception of this union. When the dominoes start falling and the EU unravels, most of us will shed no tears. We will not be sorrowful and it will certainly be a sweet moment when Europe is forced to concentrate on its very survival and have no time to interfere in our internal affairs.
Another person in the act of parting is Ban Ki Moon, the UN Secretary General who retires at the end of this year. As part of his farewell tour he once again graced us with his presence. Visiting Israel and the PA, he trotted out the expected and usual nonsense and demonstrated yet again why he and the organization he represents are totally irrelevant as far as our security is concerned. As part of his “last lap” perambulation he visited Gaza and UN facilities there. The undoubted highlight was a press conference held at an UNRWA school in front of a map of “historic mandatory Palestine” which was conveniently covered up. These maps are used to prove that Israel is illegitimate but of course Ban and friends conveniently ignore these continual acts of educational brain washing. Realizing that covering up such maps could be letting the cat out of the bag the PA news agency tried to deny any such thing. This link from PMW demonstrates yet again the sort of duplicitous deceptions which are standard fare and which the international community prefers to pretend does not exist.
The extent to which Israel has to suffer these fools is exemplified by Ban’s press conference in Israel during which he condemned us for holding Gazans hostage, lamented the suffering of the Palestinian Arabs and as expected blamed us for living on land originally designated as part of the Jewish homeland. Mentioned in passing was a one liner on Arab terror against Israelis but as this was coupled with baseless accusations against the Jewish State the end result was pathetically useless.
Perhaps someone ought to ask Mr. Ban about the situation of North and South Korea. Here is a classic example of two States for two people. The South is democratic, peaceful and respects human rights. The North is a brutal dictatorship which threatens its neighbours and has been allowed by the UN to acquire and develop weapons of mass destruction. Is this the model he and the UN envisage for our region? Make no mistake, if all those advocating a Palestinian Arab State situated in our midst with half of Jerusalem as their Capital, the results would be immeasurably more dire. It would be a death sentence for us. The fact that there are many advocating such a move merely illustrates the insanity which currently grips the world.
As Mr. Ban parts from us we can only utter a sigh of relief rather than express sorrow. His successor is not likely to be any better. For that reason we need to stand resolute in our resolve to ensure that foolish and lethal solutions to the dangers we face are not implemented.
This week climaxed with a cataclysmic parting. England were humbled, defeated and bundled out of the EURO 2016 soccer competition by Iceland. The much touted English team of soccer stars was put to shame by players from a country whose population does not exceed 350,000 and whose chances were not highly fancied. This ignominious exit was an ironic postscript to a week marked by BREXIT from the EU and the turmoil in its wake.
One has to be somewhat sorrowful at the parlous plight the Brits now face. The prospect of two States for two peoples (England and Scotland) plus the occupation of Northern Ireland, Falklands and Gibraltar should wake them up to the realities of hypocritical international policies. Will this mean that Great Britain, released from the shackles of an EU intent on labeling and obsessing about Israel, will adopt a more even-handed approach to our problems? Time will tell.
Meanwhile we can only look on as the dramas unfold and perhaps offer them some advice on how to deal with the now embittered members of the European Union. Parting is indeed such sweet sorrow!
Michael Kuttner is a Jewish New Zealander who for many years was actively involved with various communal organisations connected to Judaism and Israel. He now lives in Israel and is J-Wire’s correspondent in the region.