This piece by Bret Stephens of the Jerusalem Post attempts to explain “what went wrong” between Israel and Europe. His analysis is worth reading, particularly the part about Europe’s betrayal of Israel after the Palestinians refused to take “yes” for an answer during the peace process.
Of more interest to me, though, is Stephens’ description of the (salutary) consequences of Europe’s betrayal on Israeli politics. Says Stephens, “One of the ironies of Europe’s ever-hardening position toward Israel is that it has harmed the peace camp here. In Europe, the Geneva Accord was seen as a valiant effort to break the diplomatic deadlock and shine a light of hope. In Israel, it was seen as a piece of European impudence and cemented architect Yossi Beilin’s political position as a European stooge. Israelis have also abandoned the belief that Europe has anything to offer. Its diplomacy is mistrusted; so is its word. Israelis could accept the fact that Europe ’tilted Palestinian,’ just as America ’tilted Israeli.’ That’s the way the world works. But part of the point of ’tilting’ is that you can maneuver your client into delivering the vital concession. America has done its part with Israel. Other than extracting the occasional kind word from Arafat, Europe has yet to do its part with the Palestinians. More profoundly, heated European scolding – from the media, from peace marchers, from the likes of European Commissioner Chris Patten and Belgian Foreign Minister Louis Michel – has persuaded Israelis that Europe remains as it ever was; that it sings the sirens’ song. So Israel puts wax in its ears, or it lashes itself to the mast.”
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