Thursday, April 14, 2011

Examining Europe's Obsession with Palestine

Continuing my discussion of the Islamist wedge from yesterday, here is a relevant quote from an article in JIDaily examining the state of the bilateral relationship between Israel and Germany.
And since, for Germans, a solution to the Palestinian issue is practically a prerequisite for regional stability, they blame Israel, and definitely not the Palestinians, for the current diplomatic stalemate.
This notion, which is widely prevalent in European policy circles, needs greater emphasis and elaboration. Why do the Europeans consider a Palestinian state so central to regional stability? How do they see such a state serving European interests? Do the perceived gains to European interests warrant the considerable current expenditures of money and political capital on the Palestinian project? At what point does the perceived gain from pushing towards a Palestinian state become outweighed by unnecessary tensions with Israel?

We cannot simply agree to disagree with Europe, or blame it all on anti-semitism, Islamist appeasement or a growing European Muslim population. The Europeans are acting based on their perceived self-interest, one rooted in what they believe to be a policy-based approach to reality. We cannot discount irrational anti-Jewish or anti-Israel leanings among policymakers and bureaucrats, but on the whole, these don't seem to guide European policy, even if they do sometimes flavor it.

The Europeans don't see a Palestinian state as a fundamental threat or much of a security concern to Israel. They could be forgiven such notions, having been educated by two decades of Israeli leaders, and perhaps longer, about the necessity of a Palestinian state to Israel's future as a Jewish and democratic country. They are, therefore, rightly flummoxed by seeming Israeli intransigence in advancing what the Israelis themselves - the Israeli left, and then the Israeli right - first defined as a national and international interest, that being the creation a Palestinian state.

We need to understand the basis for European policies if we have any future hope of swaying them. Too many are locked in a reactionary pattern of trying to guilt, shame or write Europe off as anti-semitic and irrelevant, with little to show for it except growing bitterness and an apocalyptic bunker mentality. Others see salvation in appealing to anti-Muslim sentiment in Europe, which is not only supremely ugly, but also happens to be nearly totally ineffective; and for it to be effective, would likely come hand-in-hand with mass human rights violations against Muslims in Europe, which is an odd direction of advocacy for Jews to be in.

To sway policymakers, we don't need to guilt them into capitulation, or appeal to their inner racist, which in any case aren't getting the job done. Instead, we need to understand how Europe sees a Palestinian state as serving European interests, and then demonstrate otherwise.

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