Saturday, November 19, 2011

Taming the Europeans

In a month or so, after the American diplomatic steamroller blocks recognition of the State of Palestine at the UN Security Council, the debate will move to the UN General Assembly, where the American have no veto power. Towards this vote, Israel's Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu made an intensive effort to secure the support of Western democracies and gain their vote against the Palestinian request. Especially he sought the support of the European countries, making repeated visits and showering their leaders with compliments. Again and again Netanyahu declared that if the enlightened democracies stand by him, support for the Palestinians "would not have a moral force".

And just at this time Knesset Member Ofir Akunis, a close associate of Netanyahu, submitted a bill which gained the cabinet's support and which takes a quite different attitude to these same countries. A bill whose proclaimed aim is "to prohibit Israeli NGOs from accepting the donations of governments and international bodies such as the European Union", and thus "prevent the interference of foreign states in Israeli politics" and their support for (God forbid!) Human Rights organizations.

Speaking about "moral force"...