Howard Epstein

HOWARD EPSTEIN: JUDGE ISRAEL? YES. BUT BY THE QUALITY OF ITS ENEMIES

HOWARD EPSTEIN: JUDGE ISRAEL? YES. BUT BY THE QUALITY OF ITS ENEMIES

Last Friday, on the instructions of the Most Powerful Man In The World, President Barak Hussein Obama, the United States of America, for the first time, withdrew its protection of the only democracy in the Middle East and allowed it to be castigated in the Security Council of the United Nations (“UNSC”). This was the swan song of one of the lamest of lame duck presidents, who had not even been able to lay the ground for his anointed, would-be successor to, errr,  succeed him. Sad, is it not, that he who stared out with a Nobel Peace prize ended his tenure not even with a lame duck’s quack but with a whimper? An abstention!

 

 

Who are those who have brought such joy to the world as to earn a seat on the UNSC? Well, there is New Zealand (utterly insignificant on the world stage), the UK (which should have known very much better, especially in the light of the British PM’s warm words of support for Israel a few short days ago), France (whom Ben Gurion described as the world’s most anti-Semitic nation), Egypt (the only half-honourable member, in that it withdrew a similar vote the night before), Angola (hmmm), Malaysia (Moslem, utterly inimical to Israel, without diplomatic relations with us, and where to be an opposition leader is liable to see you banged up for years on sodomy charges), Japan (a country that, for all its superlatives, had not one hate crime on its statute books until last May – and now has one), Spain (did someone mention the Inquisition?) Ukraine (in constant fear of upsetting the Russians) and Senegal (I am afraid that you will have to look it up for yourself to find anything of significance). We may regard the rest through the prism of the censure.

 

What had earned Israel such opprobrium? Perhaps, crimes against humanity? No, that would be Russia in Aleppo and elsewhere in Syria for the past year and up (since Obama decided to walk away quietly, discarding the stick). An egregiously high rate of executions of its people and then charging the victim’s family for the bullet that had despatched them? No, that would be the People’s (geddit?) Republic of China. Depriving her population of everything from food to lavatory paper whilst sitting atop one of the world’s largest reserves of fossil fuels? No, that would be Venezuela, which we should have to describe as the ultimate basket-case of a country, were it capable of ordering the wicker.

 

 

Israel’s crime, as adjudged by these luminaries of the international scene, is of a much more base nature (and the more sensitive amongst you may wish to avert your eyes at this point): Israel has been building homes!!! Yes, this is about building homes and, by extension, businesses that give employment. But where, o where? On land that had been allocated to Israel before it was stolen from it by Jordan in a war of aggression in 1948, and recovered in a defensive war in 1967. (In Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, the Queen of Hearts proudly proclaims: “Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” This was before the days of the UNSC.)

 

This, then, was the conduct that was so much worse than, say, the persecution of the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, or the weekly hangings of gays in Iran, or the abduction of and deprivation of learning for Moslem schoolgirls in Nigeria, Afghanistan and elsewhere, that warranted Israel’s denunciation by the so-called Security Council – which did nothing for the security of any of the above, nor for that of the two Turkish soldiers burned alive – and to death – last week for the benefit of You Tube and the blood lust of Islamists who this week are Da’esh and next week could well have morphed into something as yet unnamed but equally inhumane.

 

What Obama has really done with his cheap, anti-Jewish State (don’t blame me, I merely abstained) abstention trick, to facilitate what Palestinian “negotiator” Saab Erekat calls the “judgment of the whole world on Israel”, was to give a pass to the genuflection of fourteen nations in the direction of the “poor, downtrodden” Palestinians – but for no material gain for them. And it shows up the membership of the UNSC for what they are: (if one might borrow from the Hillary Clinton playbook) deplorables.

With enemies like that, one can only take pride in their opposition. Judge Israel, we may say with justification, by the quality of its enemies, for we can wear the condemnation of Russia, China, Venezuela, Senegal, Malaysia, France and Spain (et al) as a badge of pride. In the aggregate they have done less for the sum of human happiness and global welfare than Israel has achieved in each year of the past twenty.

And so back to the duck. Forgive my self-indulgence but if you saw my pieces here in October, you may recall that entitled “Parlous And Powerless – Obama’s Legacy To America” and how I concluded:-

CODA: …..[Putin] calls the shots in every potential theatre of war with Europe and America. In the meantime, Obama is perhaps limbering up to stick it – ah, the stick has magically reappeared – to Israel in the UN Security Council before he exits stage (very definitely) left. Parlous and powerless as against Putin, Xi Ping, Kim and the ayatollahs, Obama’s legacy, sights trained on Israel, may yet distil down to one word:

BULLY

And bully is exactly what Obama just proved himself to be. But note that this is the bully who attacks the perceived weakling on the very cusp of leaving the school playground, so he may do it with impunity. Accordingly, this bully is even more cowardly than your every day, common-or-garden bully. The one who kicks from behind as he runs away.

As my grandmother used to say, TG. TG we do not have to endure another four to eight years of this nonsense and TG that we know that in President-elect Donald Trump and his team, there are realists. The much vilified Trump has made it clear that he proposes Israel be judged, not by the numbers of Judean/Samarian housing starts, but – along with its adversaries – by conduct. These are people who eschew political correctness, moral relativism and the mangled language that avoids calling Islamic outrages for what they are. They are determined to make America at least as great as it was before Obama “led from behind”. That is what straight-talking people call “A Retreat” – which is exactly what the US (and its former allies) has suffered geo-politically in the past eight years.

Instead of vacuous UNSC resolutions that show up the yeah-sayers for the bankruptcy of their individual and collective positions, the UNSC should do the Palestinians a real favour – and make them stand on their own two feet for the first time since they aspired to statehood. Alongside the Start-Up Nation that is Israel, with its vibrant export-led economy, sits an aspirant people; yet, such is the state of Palestine, before there is a State of Palestine, that they can be referred to only as the Supplicant Nation with a pathetic grievance-based economy.

Before whom do the Palestinians parade their grievances and to whom do they go – year after year – as supplicants? To Europe, of course, with its two thousand year war against the Jews and its treaty-based inclinations to the Arab world, and the USA. Well, Saab Erekat, with Trump ascendant, you may have just seen the high-water mark of the fortunes of both the Palestinians and the United Nations.

In that light – in the harsh light of the day after the night before – how clever does Erekat think it was for Obama to do something in the dying weeks of his presidency that runs contrary to every stated position of his successor on the Middle East? Obama and Erekat? Dumb and dumber.

On the West Bank, where they were celebrating on Friday evening, after they have downed the last non-alcoholic drink, there will still be a whopper of a hangover. Is there one solitary sentient person who really thinks that Jewish/Israeli resilience – the quintessential theme of Chanukah – will be materially affected by this infamous vote? There is? He/she should take a look at the case of SodaStream.

Forced out of the “Occupied Territory” that is East Jerusalem by the sort of BDS activity that the UNSC vote is perceived to embolden, the closure of the SodaStream factory in Ma’ale Adumim in October 2015 resulted in something more than the factory moving to a new facility, twenty kilometers north of Beersheva. More than 500 Palestinian workers lost their jobs. For each of them and their families, this was a disaster. For the BDS movement, it may have been a great victory – but, in Palestinian terms, it was a pyrrhic one. As was the UNSC vote on the evening of Friday 23 December 2016.

Coda:

Sodastream is quoted on NASDAQ. On December 24, 2015, its stock price was $17.61. One year on it stands at $40.97.

In the same period:-

  • the unemployment rate in Israel has dropped from 5.1% to 4.6%; and
  • in the Palestinian territories, the unemployment rate has risen from 27.4% to 28.4%.

Conclusion: cut out the resolutions and the fish supplies, and, and give those poor guys a fishing rod.

© Howard Epstein, December 2016

Howard Epstein is a political commentator and the author of Guns, Traumas and Exceptionalism: America in the Twenty-First Century, recently published by Amazon and on Kindle. He writes:-

There is no need for me to tell you that the scourge of gun crime is perhaps the most pressing issue in the USA. My book takes a new approach – support failing gun control by viewing gun crime through the prism of gun culture.

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