The EU’s Heights of Golan Hypocrisy
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.
Usually, I would yawn. But this time, I was 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 23, 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 actually tough stuff after all.
Without voicing a view on the virtues or pitfalls of Brexit, I believe that Israelis ought to be watching this process with glee and satisfaction. We should do so unapologetically. Next time 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 withdrawing 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 can’t be so 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. 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 simplistic soundbites would have people believe?
Israel’s leadership ought to look at this band of European jesters and remind both sides of the Brexit fiasco about 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 either side. 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.
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 the UK and EU’s counsel on matters pertaining to the sovereignty of the Jewish state. Their rhetoric should not be heeded. It should be ignored.
Benjamin Anthony is the founder of Our Soldiers Speak, a non-profit NGO that provides briefings and analysis on the realities and challenges faced by the Israel Defense Forces in asymmetrical combat situations.