Pictured: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a press conference with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán in Jerusalem, Israel on July 19, 2018. (Image source: Kobi Gideon, Israel Government Press Office)
The nationalist leaders of central and eastern Europe are a mixed picture when it comes to Israel. They strongly support Jewish nationalism, Zionism, and the nation state of the Jewish people. But their attitude toward Jews and the Holocaust is often highly questionable.
Ironically (or perhaps hypocritically) many of these same critics urged Israeli prime ministers to speak to Yasser Arafat and other terrorist leaders who have advocated and practiced the murder of Jews. What is the difference? In both cases elected leaders have to hold their collective noses to speak to other leaders of whose ideologies and actions they strongly disapprove. But when you are the leader of a country, pragmatic realpolitik must often prevail over pure ideology.Critics of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu argue that he should never speak to European nationalists because European nationalism often goes hand in hand with anti-Semitism.
Recall the grimace on the face of Yitzhak Rabin when President Clinton urged him to shake the hand of Yasser Arafat, a man who was personally responsible for ordering the murder of Israeli children, women and men. When I subsequently discussed this with Rabin, he said that his hand was shielded by the velvet glove of diplomacy. The left praised Rabin, as well they should have. But many of the same people now condemn Netanyahu for extending the same velvet glove of diplomacy to extreme European nationalists.
There are lines, of course, that no one should ever cross even with the protection of a velvet glove. But if that line was not crossed with Arafat, it certainly is not being crossed with Viktor Orbán and other nationalist leaders. The line cannot be based on the whether the alleged villain is right-wing, left-wing, Muslim or Christian. It must be a line based on objective factors.
The United States dealt, though quietly, with the leaders of Iran, and even dealt with Hitler, Mussolini and Stalin back in the 1930s and 1940s. President Roosevelt, when asked why he was dealing with the tyrannical leader of a central American dictatorship, famously responded: “He is a son of a bitch, but he is our son of a bitch.”
The nationalist leaders of central and eastern Europe are a mixed picture when it comes to Israel. They strongly support Jewish nationalism, Zionism, and the nation state of the Jewish people. But their attitude toward Jews and the Holocaust is often highly questionable. The prime minister of Israel must put the interests of his country before ideological purity or attitude toward Jews in general. In a world in which so few nations support Israel and in which so many vote routinely to condemn it at the United Nations, Israel must not easily give up support from right-wing nationalists.
One of the accusations made against Viktor Orbán is that he has attacked George Soros, the Jewish multi-billionaire whose activities in Europe and around the world are highly controversial. The reality is that Soros deserves to be criticized and the fact that he happens to be a Jew should not exempt him from such criticism. Soros has long been an enemy of Israel and has never been a particularly strong supporter of Jewish values. It is, therefore, ironic that criticizing him has seemed to be a benchmark for anti-Semitism.
Beyond Soros, however, there are good reasons for opposing many of the policies and statement of Orbán and his fellow right-wing nationalists. Their attitude toward the Holocaust, especially glorifying anti-Semites who collaborated with the Nazis, deserved serious condemnation, as does the refusal of these leaders to own up to the responsibility of some of their citizens for the “final solution” against the Jews.
Life always presents mixed pictures, especially when it comes to politics and international relations. So do not condemn Prime Minister Netanyahu for doing what virtually every Israeli prime minister has done, beginning with David Ben Gurion accepting reparations from Germany. Politics makes strange bedfellows, and international politics makes even stranger ones. So let us condemn European nationalists when their actions warrant condemnation, but let us welcome their support for Israel at a time when such support is becoming more and more essential.
Alan M. Dershowitz is the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law Emeritus at Harvard Law School and author of The Case Against the Democrats Impeaching Trump, Skyhorse Publishing, 2018. He is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at Gatestone Institute.
Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei speaks following his election victory. Photo: Reuters/Jose Cabezas.
A prominent Guatemalan supporter of Israel who once said, “He who is Israel’s enemy is Guatemala’s enemy,” won the country’s presidential election with 58.5 percent of the vote, results on Monday confirmed.
Conservative candidate Alejandro Giammattei emerged victorious in the vote in the second round of elections on Sunday, beating his rival Sandra Torres, a former first lady.
Aerial view of containers at a loading terminal in the port of Hamburg, Germany August 1, 2018. Photo: REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer.
German exports to Iran fell by nearly half in the first six months of 2019, data showed on Monday, suggesting companies are scaling back business ties with Tehran to avoid trouble with the United States after Washington reimposed sanctions.
Sales to Iran plunged by 48 percent to 678 million euros ($758.8 million) from January through June year-on-year, data from the Federal Statistics Office reviewed by Reutersshowed. Imports from Iran declined by 43 percent to nearly 110 million euros.
The New York Times logo. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.
A New York Times editor is in trouble for what the Times calls repeated poor judgment on social media.
The editor, Jonathan Weisman, works in the Times Washington bureau with the title “deputy Washington editor” and is the author of the 2018 book (((Semitism))): Being Jewish in the Age Of Trump.
Canadian Observer to Post: Canada has niche capabilities to help in such a scenario.
“Mighty Waves,” the Navy’s large-scale multinational exercise simulating the aftermath of a major earthquake. (photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON’S UNIT)
The five-day, large-scale multinational exercise, with 10 foreign fleets off the Haifa coast simulating the aftermath of a major earthquake, has brought the Israel Navy to “another level” of preparedness.
Dubbed “Mighty Waves,” the drill saw the participation of hundreds of troops on six ships at sea. Five helicopters also took part in the exercise, which focused on the after-effects of a significant 7.5 earthquake that leaves thousands dead and hundreds of thousands homeless.
A food market in Tel Aviv, Israel. Photo: Dr. Avishai Teicher vis Wikimedia Commons.
CTech – Israel has a reputation for being the Startup Nation, but Marcelle Machluf, dean of biotechnology and food engineering at Technion Israel Institute of Technology, predicts that in coming years Israel will be known as the FoodTech Nation.
“Foodtech and biotech are two fields that are climbing to the top of the tech industry,” Machluf told Calcalist in a recent interview. “This push is happening for a reason.
Mass shootings are nothing new in the United States, but their sudden rise is ballooning into a shocking nationwide epidemic. Many blame a toxic political culture that is accentuating divisions rather than commonalities between Americans, and the ease in which Americans can access guns, including automatic assault rifles.
If Saturday’s horrifying terrorist attack in an El Paso Walmart had taken place in Jerusalem, leaving 22 Israelis dead, the killer would rot in jail knowing his family would be taken care of, paid every month by his government.
What, one has to ask, does Iran’s Islamic regime have to fear from the country’s Christians, Baha’is, Zoroastrians, Sufis, Sunni Muslims, or Jews? Yet its treatment of these minorities is so repressive that it seems not unreasonable to ask if the clerics might be afraid of what they consider challenges to their fantasy of pure Islamic identity.
The fate of Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan’s 2017 executive order barring state contractors from participating in the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement is in the hands of a federal judge. The order violates First Amendment rights, a lawsuit filed by a former Maryland state legislator claims. wsuit.
This week my family and I have the privilege of celebrating two significant and interrelated milestones. We celebrate the 15th anniversary of our arrival in Israel, taking on citizenship and planting our roots firmly in our historic homeland. And we celebrate (yes, celebrate) the induction into the IDF of our oldest son.
When our youngest son was born in Jerusalem, we knew that he would serve in the army, an obligation and privilege as an Israeli Jew, pretty much as genetic as his actual DNA. But when our oldest son was born in N.J., we didn’t know this would be his destiny.