The worldwide attacks on Israel, in the wake of the Gaza event, are frightening in their venom and irrationality, and I fear that these responses mark a significant turning toward the abandonment of civilization’s ramparts and the appeasement of terrorist and rogue-state barbarism. Daniel Henninger of the WSJ has a roundup here. He notes that:
For starters, denouncing Israel for something like this is convenient for leaders who have failed repeatedly to do anything about more important and difficult problems such as Iran, North Korea or sovereign debt. Also, lesser nations learn by example: The Obama administration’s unrestrained criticism of the Israeli government in March over East Jerusalem settlements lowered the threshold for teeing off on Israel.
…and expresses particular concern about the comments made by Catherine Ashton, EU “high representative for foreign affairs,” who demanded “an immediate, sustained, and unconditional opening” of the Gaza blockade. Henninger notes that:
Until High Representative Ashton’s demand to end the blockade, the EU had been party to a clear, explicit policy toward the Israeli-Palestinian impasse. Since 2002, a group known as the Quartet—consisting of the EU, Russia, the U.S. and the U.N., with Tony Blair as its current special envoy—has said that no one could deal with Hamas, the occupier of Gaza, until Hamas fulfilled three conditions: Recognize Israel’s right to exist. Renounce violence. Accept agreements already made by previous Palestinian negotiators.
Hamas hasn’t met any of those conditions. After Ms. Ashton’s outburst, it knows it doesn’t have to.
As Henninger also observes, “The world’s peoples may pay soon for their leaders’ display of such a disproportionate double standard…In any of the places where men discuss truly monstrous and dangerous plans, in Kim Jong Il’s Pyongyang or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s Tehran, watching this hyperventilated criticism of Israel for a shoot-out on a boat must strike them as laughable. If one’s opponents save their collective status and authority for something like this, then the world is ultimately not serious about who must comply with its rules of behavior. With this unbalanced double standard, the world increases the odds that a truly irresponsible regime will miscalculate.”
I am reminded of a speech given by Winston Churchill to the House of Commons (March 1938) in which he spoke of Britain and its allies:
descending incontinently, recklessly, the staircase which leads to a dark gulf. It is a fine broad staircase at the beginning, but, after a bit, the carpet ends. A little further on there are only flagstones, and, a little further on still, these break beneath your feet.