Well, Ladies and Gentlemen, today is a very special day indeed. No, not because I went to the dentist and was told I have no cavities, but rather because the English House of Commons voted “symbolically” to recognize a “state” of Palestine. In other words, it was a benign day all around.
A couple of points. First, there is no state of Palestine. Despite the fact that something like 112-134 countries (depending who you’re asking) now recognize a “state” of Palestine, most of which have recognized the non-existent state for decades (Arafat declared statehood in 1988), the state does not actually exist. It is a virtual state in an exceptionally problematic situation since it does not control the land on which the state supposedly sits or its population. Nevertheless, since the Jewish state is involved, a majority of the world’s countries don’t care that “Palestine” does not meet some of the basic criteria required of a state, they’re winging it.
For those who don’t know, the UN has a 56 country bloc of Muslim nations, called, aptly enough, the Muslim Bloc. The Muslim Bloc, in turn, is part of the “Non-Aligned” Movement of nations which includes about 120 countries. Their goal, essentially, is to counter-balance US policies and influence and the NAM is made up of the Muslim Bloc as well as many client countries or countries that are similar ideologically or at least ones that feel they have been done wrong by the USA and the West. For example, Cuba, Venezuela and North Korea are members in good standing.
Most the of NAM countries recognize the “State” of Palestine, but most of the West and the US have not accepted this non-existent state. Yet. Just several days ago the newly elected Swedish PM announced that not only is he going to bring some serious Israel-haters into his government, but that he will “recognize” the “State” of Palestine. As a Western country considered to be a light unto the nations, this is significant. And now, fast on his heels come the British.
Today’s vote at the House of Commons was initiated by a backbencher and therefore isn’t binding. The backbencher, Graeme Morris, indicates that
“It’s absolutely clear that Israel-Palestine relations are stuck at an impasse, as is our foreign policy…We hear a great deal of talk about the two-state solution but today, through validating both states, members will have the opportunity to translate all of that principled talk into action.”
While not binding, today’s motion and vote are, however, informative. The two leaders of the two largest parties, David Cameron and Ed Miliband respectively, did not vote. In fact, of the 650 Members of Parliament, only 286 voted. 274 voted to symbolically recognize the “State” of Palestine while 12 said nay. I guess one good thing to take away from this moronic motion, in which a foreign country seeks to meddle in a conflict that may be laid at its feet to some degree but which has nothing to do with it presently, is that a majority of British Parliamentarians were wise enough not to participate.
On the other hand, British antipathy toward Jews and hostility toward Israel were widely evident in this vote. I know, somebody is going to tell me this has nothing to do with Jews or liking Israel but rather in giving the Palestinians a state or at least, if viewed cynically, a desire to engage the rising number of Muslim voters in England. Make no mistake, to no small degree, politicians casting a vote today were seeking to please constituents.
Does this vote mean anything? Well, it does, because it demonstrates yet again the impossible situation in which Israel finds itself. This vote arrives not long after a war launched by Hamas against Israel, following the abduction and murder of three Israeli teenagers. Apparently, the Yay voters assume that the best action to take after such a war is to give an award to the side which initiated it. The vote also follows years in which the Palestinians have stood firmly against negotiating with Israel and then when negotiations actually took place, refused to meet with Israelis most of the time and, in fact, have continued to demand parameters to overtake Israel demographically. The other day at the UN, Mahmoud Abbas essentially demanded a state of Palestine encompassing all territory conquered by Israel in 1967, including, by definition, the Western Wall, Temple Mount and Jewish Quarter. He also demanded that Israel become a viable second Palestinian state by allowing for UNGA 194 to become a valid resolution. According to the Arabs and their friends, this means a “right of return” not just of 1948 Palestinian refugees into Israel, but a “return” of all their descendants as well. In other words, next to Palestine, Abbas wants another Palestine.
So far, the world has not gone along with this, in large part because of US influence and because the Europeans used to be rational players. However, the EU hasn’t acted fairly or rationally with Israel in many years and as Muslim populations rapidly grow in many Western European countries, politicians are taking note. Additionally, the media has essentially conducted a series of hits on Israel which have poisoned views of Israel at large. Symbolic votes such as today’s in Britain may not mean much today but may be a harbinger of things to come.
At this point you’re asking, Middle, what should we do?
Well, first of all, go buy some Israeli products, take a visit to Israel, attend some talks at your local university where you question the anti-Israel speakers knowledgeably, participate in letter-writing campaigns that are initiated by organizations such as CAMERA, ADL, AJC, and so on.
Second, and this is more to the point, contact Israel’s Members of Knesset and ask them to take a non-binding, symbolic vote on the separation of Scotland and Ireland from Britain.
Third, write a British Parliamentarian who voted today and ask them how in the world there will ever be peace if they’ve just awarded to the Palestinians some parcels of land that are not only declared Israeli by Israel, but constitute some of the most important holy sites to Jews. Point them to the fact that under Jordanian control, no Jews were permitted to live, pray or even enter Arab-controlled areas and during the British Mandate when Arabs were given control over the Western Wall, very few Jews were permitted to come and pray.
Fourth, sit tight because Israel is doing okay and trade with England actually increased considerably last year, which indicates that in the real world Israel is not being shunned and trade is growing.