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September 30, 2016 / 27 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘UK’

UK: It Wasn’t a Gaffe

Monday, July 18th, 2016

{Originally posted to the Gatestone Institute website}

The naming of Boris Johnson as Britain’s Foreign Minister set off in his home country a storm of name-calling and hand-wringing that approximates the Democrat reaction to Donald Trump. Without wading into British politics, there is one specific incident that the Daily Mail called an impolitic “gaffe” that should be assessed at greater length — and from a different angle:

Last November local [Palestinian] officials called off a visit to Palestine on safety grounds after the then-London mayor told an audience in Tel Aviv that a trade boycott of Israeli goods was “completely crazy” and supported by “corduroy- jacketed, snaggletoothed, lefty academics in the UK.”

Palestinian officials accused him of adopting a “misinformed and disrespectful” pro-Israel stance and said he risked creating protests if he visited the West Bank.

Johnson was right on the merits: The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement is largely a function of university campuses and has little to do with Israel-UK trade, which is robust and growing. But the incident should be understood as a window into Palestinian strategy, and as such should not be overlooked.

Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas did not use the opportunity presented by Mr. Johnson’s visit to offer his view, to explain why Johnson was wrong, to promote UK-Palestinian trade, or even to argue for BDS. He reflexively threatened a prominent European guest with violence. It surely would have erupted on schedule if Johnson had continued his visit. The Palestinians are no longer interested in discussing their interests/demands/wishes. They have entered a period of ultimatum: one-hundred percent or nothing; my way or violence even with their friends.

It was in the atmosphere of “no criticism/no negotiation” that Abbas went to a European Parliament meeting in Brussels in June, following an inconclusive French-sponsored “peace process” meeting that included neither Israelis nor Palestinians — a mechanism Abbas assumed would result in French demands on Israel. It did not — putting Abbas in a foul mood for the European Parliament meeting that was prelude to the release of the Middle East Quartet report on prospects for Israeli-Palestinian peace. Again, Abbas expected to hear only criticism of Israel.

Then, European Parliament President Martin Shulz tried to arrange a meeting between Abbas and Israeli President Reuven Rivlin. Rivlin agreed, Abbas declined — and it was later revealed that Abbas even changed hotels when he discovered he and Rivlin were sharing a roof. It was in Brussels where Abbas claimed that some Israeli rabbis were calling for Israel to poison Palestinian water — an echo of Suha Arafat’s claim in 1999 that Israelis were poisoning Palestinian air and water. Abbas received a standing ovation at the end of his remarks; Suha received a kiss from then-First Lady Hillary Clinton.

Under pressure from people who recognized a centuries-old debunked piece of anti-Semitism, Abbas recanted and admitted that his claim had been false. But such was the desire of the European parliamentarians to protect him that his blood libel was erased from all official documents. Which makes his next move even less understandable.

After much wrangling, the Middle East Quartet report on the future of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations and the “two state solution” was released on 1 July. Before the release, leaks to the press strongly suggested that

“The focus on Israel will be its most contentious aspect.” [Ha’aretz] quoted a senior Israeli government official as stating: “The main question is how harsh criticism of the settlements will be. All the members of the Quartet can rally around this issue without a problem.”

Calling it an “eagerly awaited report,” Reuters said it would demand that “Israel should stop building settlements, denying Palestinian development and designating land for exclusive Israeli use that Palestinians seek for a future state.”

And it did, as reported here, here, here, and even here. The Quartet said that Israeli building policies raise

“legitimate questions about Israel’s long-term intentions, which are compounded by the statements of some Israeli ministers that there should never be a Palestinian state… Israel should cease the policy of settlement construction and expansion…”

But that wasn’t enough for Abbas, because even Quartet members found it impossible to ignore the seven-month-long so-called “stabbing intifada” and the drumbeat of incitement from the Palestinian Authority that encourages and honors the murderers of Israeli civilians. Nor could members ignore definitive evidence of Hamas rebuilding the Gaza tunnel infrastructure to attack Israel. In a relatively mild section, the Quartet criticized Palestinian leaders for “not consistently and clearly” condemning terrorist attacks and, for the first time, said the arms buildup and military activities in Gaza must stop.

Nabil Abu Rudainah, spokesman for Mahmoud Abbas, was furious, saying:

“Any report that does not include the full withdrawal to the 1967 borders, including occupied Jerusalem, and does not include a recognition of the illegality of settlement will not lead to real and lasting peace and will lead to more tension and more instability in the region.”

In other words, more Palestinian-incited violence.

The fit of pique continued as Abbas announced that the PA would boycott the Quartet — its best friends in Europe plus Russia and the U.S. — and attempt to block consideration of the report in the UN.

Unable to countenance even mild criticism, and unwilling or unable to engage in serious conversation even with European interlocutors, much less with Israel, Abbas may finally have made the Palestinian cause too difficult for the Europeans, bring the circle back around to Boris Johnson. Not only did he criticize BDS (in which he clearly criticized British academics more than Palestinians), he continued, “I cannot think of anything more foolish” than to boycott “a country that when all is said and done is the only democracy in the region, the only place that has in my view, a pluralist, open society.”

If there was a gaffe, it wasn’t by Johnson.

Shoshana Bryen

New UK Foreign Minister Compared Hillary to ‘Sadistic Nurse in a Mental Hospital’

Sunday, July 17th, 2016

{Originally posted to the author’s website, Liberty Unyielding}

Not everyone is a fan of Boris Johnson, the former mayor of London who was named this week to head the foreign ministry for incoming Prime Minister Theresa May.

The Atlantic has gleefully run two articles in the last 24 hours recounting Mr. Johnson’s history of diplomatic solecisms: one to list them, and the other to list them again in the context of the prompt blowback after his new cabinet post was announced.

A number of foreign ministers and their spokesmen had giggling fits.  But Carl Bildt of Sweden, formerly foreign minister and prime minister, won the meme-stakes hands down with his take, which Atlantic introduces so you don’t have to check and see if it was some elaborate photoshop.

Former Swedish Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Carl Bildt went to the photo archive to belittle Boris, using an image from the moment when the then-mayor of London was trapped on a zipline…

I wish it was a joke, but I fear it isn’t. Exit upon exit.

Boris

Frankly, I’m not sure it isn’t Johnson who wins that one.  You only wish, Bildt-arino.

But that’s the wonderful thing about Boris.  No matter what you say, you’re just reacting to some way in which he has preemptively topped you.  You can’t out-Boris him.

In 2007, he managed to endorse Hillary Clinton for president in a manner entirely his own:

“She’s got dyed blonde hair and pouty lips, and a steely blue stare, like a sadistic nurse in a mental hospital,” he wrote, comparing Clinton as First Lady to “a mixture between Cherie Blair and Lady Macbeth, stamping her heel, bawling out subordinates and frisbeeing ashtrays at her erring husband.”

 

That column, however, was headlined “I want Hillary Clinton to be president,” and in it, Johnson characterized himself as wanting her to win, to his own great surprise – despite the fact “she represents, on the face of it, everything I came into politics to oppose: not just a general desire to raise taxes and nationalize things, but an all-round purse-lipped political correctness.”

 

He went on to explain that he actually wanted her to be president so that Bill Clinton would return to the White House, concluding that “if Bill can deal with Hillary, he can surely deal with any global crisis.”

In online correspondence, some of my British acquaintances have spoken of this interlude solemnly — even apologetically — and have shown the same sympathetic indignation about Johnson’s swipe at Obama during the run-up to the Brexit vote.  Obama urged the Brits to vote to Remain, but that didn’t sit well with Johnson:

  • Johnson took aim last April at Obama’s ultimately unsuccessful attempt to dissuade British voters from voting to leave the E.U.
  • This time writing inThe Sun…Johnson made reference to Obama’s “part-Kenyan” roots.
  • Recalling that a bust of Britain’s wartime leader Winston Churchill was removed from the Oval Office after Obama moved in, Johnson wondered why.
  • “Some said it was a snub to Britain,” he wrote. “Some said it was a symbol of the part-Kenyan President’s ancestral dislike of the British Empire – of which Churchill had been such a fervent defender.”

It’s nice of Brits to care.  But most Americans don’t.  About half of them think Obama was born in Kenya.  But it’s indisputable that he is, in fact, part Kenyan.  The Americans who regard it as offensive to mention that are a vanishing minority.  It’s not offensive — it’s just a fact — but perhaps it’s best categorized as frivolous to base your analyses of Obama’s conduct on it.

That would be Boris: frivolous.  He seems like something of a git.  But I think Americans can survive his opinions on our politicians without succumbing to a fit of the vapors.  However long he struts and frets on the world stage, he’ll be by far the most entertaining Official Foreign Minister out there.  And by no means the most foolish.

J. E. Dyer

PM David Cameron Signs Off; Britain Greets Incoming PM Theresa May

Wednesday, July 13th, 2016

Conservative Members of the British Parliament gave outgoing Prime Minister David Cameron a standing ovation Wednesday as he completed his final session of Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons. Even some of the Opposition relented with applause.

Cameron has, by and large, enjoyed a positive relationship with Israel and with top Israeli government officials.

“I was the future once,” he told them — a reference to a remark he once made when addressing then-Prime Minister Tony Blair (“He was the future once”) in his first PMQ session as head of the Tory party.

Cameron was photographed with his wife and three young children outside the famous “black door” of Number 10 Downing Street after the session. He said he believed his six-year tenure had left England “much stronger” with an “immeasurably stronger” economy, a reduced deficit, increased international aid spending and reduced National Health Service waiting lists. He spoke with pride about having introduced gay marriage and paid tribute to his wife, who he said “kept [him] vaguely sane.”

Cameron’s successor, former Interior Minister Theresa May, vowed to “build a better Britain, not just for the privileged few,” upon taking office Wednesday afternoon. She kissed the hand of Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace soon after a similar ceremony had taken place with the now-former prime minister.

May spoke of her determination to cement the bond between Britain, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and promised to “rise to the challenge” of forging a “bold new positive role” for the UK in the world after negotiating the exit of the UK from the European Union.

The new prime minister emphasized her intention to serve as a “One Nation” leader, representing all voters and not just the elite and the business world.

May is the country’s second female prime minister, and the first woman to serve in the post since Margaret Thatcher.

Hana Levi Julian

Livni to British Police: ‘Absurd Arrest Warrants Have to Stop’

Sunday, July 3rd, 2016

Zionist Union leader Tzipi Livni has come out with guns blazing following an attempt by British police to present her with an arrest warrant and summon her for questioning over suspected “war crimes” committed in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead in 2009.

“What I have to say to British police I will say in every place: Israel will continue to fight terror and the absurdity of arrest warrants has to stop,” the Israeli Knesset member tweeted in response to the incident, which took place this weekend during her attendance at a Haaretz Israel conference held in the UK.

Livni, who was serving as Israel’s foreign minister during Operation Cast Lead, has also served as a justice minister.

The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), Palestinian Authority (PA) and pro-PA NGO groups have been waging international lawfare campaigns against Israel for more than a decade by filing criminal complaints via local the courts against senior Israeli officials and military personnel whenever they travel abroad.

The main NGOs behind the campaigns in the UK and beyond — including at the International Criminal Court at The Hague, are the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), Al Haq and Al Mezan, according to the NGO Monitor. All are funded by European governments.

Last year the legal codes were revised in Britain to prevent such tactics, but this weekend’s incident highlighted loopholes in the legislation.

At least Livni did not lose her sense of humor over the matter, tweeting her take on a recent anti-Israel comment by British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn:

The summons against Livni was ultimately cancelled after intervention by the Israeli Embassy in London and action by senior officials in the ministries of foreign affairs and justice, which required granting Livni diplomatic immunity.

It has become particularly enticing for these bodies to use the European Union nations for this purpose, since the EU has been especially supportive of the PA activities.

The European Union has financially supported and even participated in illegal PA construction in Area C territories where under the internationally-recognized Oslo Accords, where Israel is supposed to have full legal, administrative and security control.

Hana Levi Julian

Herzog Slams UK’s Corbyn, Says ‘Views Represent a Consistent Hatred of Israel’

Thursday, June 30th, 2016

by Jesse Lempel/TPS

Israeli Labor Chairman Isaac Herzog slammed comments by his UK counterpart Jeremy Corbyn on Thursday that some criticized as comparing Israel with the Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist organization.

“Corbyn’s suggestion of moral equivalence between Israel and ISIS is outrageous, unacceptable, and a betrayal of global Labour values,” Herzog tweeted on Thursday afternoon. “Corbyn’s views represent a consistent hatred of Israel. Like the notorious Ernest Bevin failed, so too will Jeremy Corbyn.”

During the launch of a review of anti-Semitic incidents in the party on Thursday, Corbyn decried stereotyping Jews, explaining: “Our Jewish friends are no more responsible for the actions of Israel or the Netanyahu government than our Muslim friends are for those of various self-styled Islamic states or organizations.”

The comments received resounding applause, yet after a questioner asked about the comparison Corbyn attempted to clarify: “The point is that you shouldn’t say to someone that just because they’re Jewish you must have an opinion on Israel, any more that you say to anyone who’s a Muslim you must have an opinion on the vile actions being taken by people misquoting the good name of Islam in what they do.”

Yet it appears that some in Israel and around the world, including Herzog, interpreted Corbyn’s remarks as drawing a “moral equivalence between Israel and ISIS.”

Another Israeli Labor MK, Itzik Shmueli, tweeted: “Corbyn has finally lost it! Leadership that disgraces Labour. I suggest to my friends in Labour to kick him out on the grounds of losing contact with reality.” Shmueli, however, argued that Israeli Labor should remain affiliated with British Labour in order to influence the “internal struggle” in the party.

Meanwhile, MK Yair Lapid, of the centrist Yesh Atid party, called upon Herzog to sever ties with the British Labour party, describing Corbyn’s comments as “pure anti-Semitism.”

“I call upon the Labor Party in Israel to cut all ties with their counterpart in the UK until the Leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, is replaced,” Lapid wrote on Facebook on Thursday. Lapid referred to the deadly terror attack earlier in the day, in which a 17-year-old Arab terrorist broke into a Jewish family’s home and stabbed 13-year-old Halel Yaffa Ariel to death.

“It is unacceptable that on such a difficult day for the State of Israel the Leader of the Opposition in the UK compares Israel and ISIS,” Lapid added. “It’s not only infuriating ignorance, it is pure anti-Semitism. The State of Israel lives by democratic values, morality and justice and fights every day against terror organizations sworn to the murder of innocents.”

MK Tzipi Livni, a leader of the Zionist Union faction partnered with Israeli Labor, tweeted: “Just as not all Muslims are responsible for ISIS, not all Brits are responsible for Corbyn.”

The latest controversy follows a months-long debacle in the British Labour party over anti-Semitic comments by several members who have since been suspended, including calling for the mass deportation of Israel’s Jews and claims that Adolf Hitler supported Zionism.

At the height of the affair in May, Herzog told Israeli media that he was “considering suspending ties” with the British Labour over the anti-Semitic comments, many of which pertained to the Holocaust.

Herzog even sent a letter to Corbyn inviting him to bring a delegation to visit Israel’s Holocaust museum, Yad Vashem, “to engage and better understand the scourge of anti-Semitism.”

Corbyn replied several weeks later, declining the invitation.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

‘Bye Bye Brussels!’ – Britain Votes to Leave the EU

Friday, June 24th, 2016

British citizens are done with being one of many — 28, to be precise — and they made their views clear in a referendum Thursday with a vote to leave the European Union.

They wanted their borders back, their own British Pound Sterling, thank you, and the safety of being able to make their own security decisions.

The vote was called late Thursday night at 52 percent in favor of ‘Brexit’ as the leaving was called, and 48 percent against, according to ITV and the BBC.

Prime Minister David Cameron, who said his position would be ‘untenable’ if the country chose not to remain within the EU, now finds himself having to decide his next move. Cameron had warned there would be “no turning back” if the UK were to separate itself from the European body, looking at the impact on banks and other financial institutions as well as other issues.

UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage described a poster showing a line of asylum seekers as “a statement about the whole of the European Union,” according to CNN. Farage delivered a victory speech to supporters upon hearing the news of the final results at a polling station in Birmingham.

The ‘victory’ may be a bit premature, however: Scotland warned from the outset that should England decide to leave the EU, the decision would launch a discussion about whether or not to hold another referendum on whether or not to secede from the United Kingdom.

Should Scotland vote for independence, the UK decision to leave the European Union — which may ultimately lead to the disintegration of the EU — will have led to its own dissolution as well.

Analysts around the world are now weighing the effect of the British decision on the world economy and it impacts individual nations along with their currencies, pension funds and banking systems. It is also not clear what effect this will have on the British Jewish community both in the United Kingdom and abroad.

In trading Thursday night, the British pound Sterling fell against the U.S. dollar and against the euro; however, the euro fell against the Japanese yen as well. All three stock markets dropped, and were set to open lower on Friday.

Political leaders in Europe are now deeply concerned that the split that exists in England may continue to divide other member states in the EU, prompting them to leave as well and perhaps lead to the dissolution of the entire European body.

Hana Levi Julian

British Citizens Urged to ‘Support Israel, Leave Europe’

Monday, June 20th, 2016

A campaign sponsored by Regavim is being waged to encourage British citizens living anywhere in the world, whether it be within the boundaries of the UK, or elsewhere, to vote against the UK remaining in the European Union.

The referendum on whether Britain should remain in or leave the EU is to be held this week, on June 23. British citizens are eligible to vote as long as one was listed on the electoral register in the past 15 years. But it is important to have registered by June 7 in order to be eligible to vote in this referendum.

The “Support Israel – Leave Europe” campaign describes all the reasons why encouraging Britain to leave the European Union is a great way to support Israel.

For a start, the EU has been accused of taking actions against Israel that are tantamount to state-sponsored anti-Semitism. Among those are the orders given to its member states to specifically label products made by Israelis living in Judea and Samaria – an order given to separate Jewish-made products in those regions. Yet no other such order was issued to label products made in communities based in the 200-plus land disputes elsewhere around the world.

The EU has generously funded NGOs dedicated to defaming and in some cases actually framing Israeli soldiers, as well as pursuing anti-Israel boycott and lawfare agendas.

In addition, the EU has built more than a thousand illegal structures on Israeli land in Area C under the Oslo Accords, in its attempt to establish “facts on the ground” to advocate for a de facto Palestinian Authority state. The EU has also build roads, dug wells, installed windmills and electricity pylons in such areas – all without Israeli authorization.

These activities have been carried out using aid money for political purposes rather than for which it was donated and allocated.

It is this kind of activity that has so outraged British parliamentarians and many British citizens, who accuse the EU of using aid funding to “meddle” in the internal affairs of a sovereign nation.

But Britain has not lacked for “meddling” credits: The UK has been quite generous in its contributions to the Palestinian Authority coffers, which flow into those of the Palestine Liberation Organization.

Millions in funding are donated to the PA direct from the UK. Much of the money is used to support the bloodthirsty terrorists responsible for murdering Jewish families, with the PA handing funds to the PLO to pay terror inmates.

Amjad Awad, who in 2011 stabbed to death Ruth and Ehud Fogel, their 3-month-old baby and two toddlers, has thus far been paid an estimated 16,000 British pounds Sterling, according to Regavim. His accomplice and cousin, Hakim Awad, has also received a “salary.”

It is believed that Hamas bomb-making expert Abdallah Barghouti has so far received a total of 106,000 British pounds Sterling. Barghouti is serving a life sentence for his part in terror attacks that took place during the second intifada in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

The UK is comprised of a population that makes every decision one that challenges any parliamentarian. But leaving the European Union would certainly be a practical start to regaining control over the political dispensation of its fiscal resources.

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/british-citizens-urged-to-support-israel-leave-europe/2016/06/20/

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