The reverberations from the US elections continue to rumble throughout the world…writes Michael Kuttner.
In the USA all those millennial progressives who cheered for Bernie Sanders and in their wildest dreams never envisaged a Trump victory are convulsed with nightmarish visions of the future. They and their supporters have taken to the streets to demonstrate the result of the elections. Brandishing placards which proclaim a refusal to recognize the results of the poll, these upholders of liberality and enlightenment display qualities which are far from tolerant. Like spoiled brats who believe that their way is the only way these paragons of progressiveness throw tantrums and blame everyone but themselves for the results. Calling it the end of the world as we know it, highlights the very elitist and out of touch universe in which these people live.
Europe meanwhile is convulsed by bouts of anxiety over an imminent change in direction. All of a sudden there will be a President in the White House and a Secretary of State who have no hesitation in identifying Islamic terror for what it really is. The words Islamic terror will be resurrected from the politically correct banned list of phrases outlawed by the Obama Administration. This is what terrifies Europe’s leaders and has caused waves of anxiety. In addition there is uncertainty as to how the Trump Administration will relate to NATO and other European institutions.
Israelis reactions ranged from euphoric on the right to uncertainty by middle of the road voters to outright hostility on the left. If Trump’s campaign promises are to be believed we are on the cusp of a glorious relationship. Some of the names being bandied about for senior positions are well known supporters of Israel and trenchant critics of Arab extremism and terror. If they follow through on previously articulated opinions we can look forward to a much more realistic foreign policy which hopefully will punish those who promote terror and hate rather than sweep it under the carpet.
The Arab world has exhibited mixed reactions to Trump’s victory. There are those who are looking forward to a much more muscular and realistic American reaction to Iranian sponsored terror. Countries like Egypt and Saudi Arabia which have felt let down by Obama & Kerry as they appeased bullies and let down allies are hoping that reality will now prevail in Washington. The Iranians are already issuing threats because they know that the days of getting a pass from the White House for their behavior are coming to an end.
The Palestinian Arabs also sense that the ground is shifting under their feet. Instead of grasping the opportunity to enter into direct negotiations without preconditions and preparing their followers for the inevitable necessary compromises they are reverting to character and making bombastic threats. The PA Ambassador to the United Nations last week vowed that if President elect Trump dares to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem the Palestinian Authority “will make life miserable at the UN.” In other words if finally the US recognizes reality the bullies will gather together in order to cause mayhem. This has always worked in the past and continues to work especially amongst European Union members whose craven surrender to boycotts and threats characterizes their relationship with Israel.
The attempts by Abbas and colleagues to blackball and censure Israel at the UN Security Council, General Assembly, UNESCO, FIFA and other bodies clearly demonstrates the diplomatic terror warfare campaign which is designed to delegitimize and ostracize the Jewish State. Rather than engage in serious direct talks, the PA prefers to get others to do their dirty work. Thus the French who preferred not to vote against the UNESCO denial of a Jewish connection to the Temple Mount and Jerusalem are still beavering away at organizing a useless conference which will make demands on Israel and ignore Arab refusal to accept the validity of a legitimate Jewish connection and presence here.
The recent abortive attempt by the PA to join INTERPOL was another ploy to manipulate an international body for political purposes against Israel.
Another two examples of what we face emerged this week.
It was reported that our non-existent “peace” partners have plans to demand that UNESCO force Israel to hand over the Dead Sea Scrolls. As the scrolls were originally discovered in parts of the Dead Sea area which the Palestinian Arabs claim is part of their mythical country they claim that the scrolls really belong to them and that we have stolen them. This is entirely consistent with their revisionist version of history which deletes any Jewish connection and claims that they have a five thousand-year presence here. One would think that such rubbish is given short shrift. However the lunatic atmosphere which prevails in some international forums means that such drivel is taken seriously.
An example of how the minds of the next generation of Arabs are being poisoned is provided by something which occurred at the Hebrew University. There are many Arabs availing themselves of the opportunity to receive advanced qualifications at one of Israel’s best universities. As citizens they are perfectly entitled to do so. How then does one explain that when the university sponsored a course on Israeli – Arab dialogue not one Arab student enrolled? It is the second year this has occurred and it makes one wonder. If the next generation of educated Arabs who have studied with their Jewish counterparts cannot bring themselves to enroll in a course dealing with dialogue then how on earth can we expect to arrive at any sort of mutual acceptance in the future?
One hopes that the incoming Trump Administration will inject a decent dose of long neglected realism into this part of the world. If the Europeans and others don’t like it, too bad. The time for defunding groups and NGO’s which promote boycotts, divestment and sanctions is long overdue.
Aftershocks in this case can only be beneficial to those who strive for genuine peace, dialogue and tolerance.
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.