Monday, August 31, 2009

Condemning Antisemitism

The only way I read this article is that Franco Frattini, Italy's Foreign Minister, essentially agrees with the Israelis on the issue of the scandalous article in Aftonbladet. He seems to be saying that while governments can't stop newspapers from saying things, they certainly can condemn the worst things that get said. The Aftonbladet blood libel needs to be condemned. Moreover, he may even be saying the Swedish government agrees, and is seeking a general EU condemnation that will give them a face-saving opportunity to condemn the libel without being specific.

Looks like a reasonable vindication of the official Israeli response to me.

I had an interesting conversation the other day with some friends. None of us had voted for Netanyahu, and all of us felt he's doing a reasonable job. This is very unusual for us, as our natural condition is to revile our government, no matter who they are. Since it looks like he's going to be in office for a while yet, here's hoping he keeps on doing a reasonable job.


SnoopyTheGoon said...

"Since it looks like he's going to be in office for a while yet, here's hoping he keeps on doing a reasonable job."

I could agree - if the tension that I feel awaiting for his next big flop weren't so grating ;-)

Anonymous said...

It does seem like Netanyahu wants to leave a positive legacy. Maybe some of the Yoni Netanyahu sense of sacrifice, and a little age and wisdom has crept into Bibi's prism.

I would not have voted for him either if I was home during elections.


Ruth said...

I have voted for him and I am gratified to see that so far he is more or less up to the task.

Victor said...

He's standing firm on Jerusalem, surprisingly. Even more stunning is that he's effectively taken Jerusalem off the table as far as the Americans and some of the Europeans are concerned.

I'm fascinated by this concept of "pressure", or better yet, "international pressure". After Obama's Cairo speech, there was incredible pressure on Netanyahu to cave in to American demands. After all, that's what every article about Israel from every newspaper in the world told us.

We were left thinking that Israel was in a do-or-die moment of either accepting American demands or becoming a pariah state, without American patronage or European acceptance.

Today, the situation has completely turned around. From all the information being put out, we essentially have a compromise on settlement growth that is really quite minimally painful for Israel - 6-12 month residential pause - with continuing building in government/institutional sectors. Jerusalem is no longer part of the "settlement" equation. Gone is the notion that Obama wants to push Bibi's coalition over the brink.

I don't know how all this translates into the real world, but it seems quite mild on paper; almost a face saver for Obama to back down from a confrontation with Israel.

I think Livni would have compromised much more on settlements and on Jerusalem. I think she would have hard bargained things that some consider valuable - Oslo style Palestinian guarantees on this or that, or Euro/American guarantees on Iran, or Arab guarantees on accepting Israel... but in the end of the day, the guarantees of Oslo were worth nothing, while Israel sacrificed permanently, and the same goes for all the others.

Unlike everyone else, we don't have the luxury to go back on our word, pretend agreements never existed, lament at lack of political will or resources to meet obligations, branch off a new, "independent" terror faction to act as spoiler, etc.

All in all, you have to give Bibi credit for standing so firm, at least so we're told. We'll see what happens when Obama relaunches his "peace" efforts...