Monday, October 19, 2009

Tell me who your friends/allies are...

While Russian foreign policy continues to worry me, I think that Israel's Foreign Minister and his diplomats basically 'get what they deserve' from Moscow. Apparently I appear on the mailing list of the Israeli embassy in The Hague ( I have had contacts with them on a few occasions, had a very interesting and - for me - exciting interview with Tzippi Livni, and highly respect the often difficult work of most Israeli diplomats ), which means that every now and then I receive ( a link to an ) article ( often from the Jerusalem Post, sometimes from Ynet, HaAretz or another medium in English ) that appears to be to the Ministry's or embassy's staff's liking. Once in a while - particularly during wars - the mails contain official press briefings. Never mind that most of those who are on the mailing list ( I suppose that they are Dutch journalists and other contacts of the embassy's Counsellor for Press, Public and Cultural Affairs, plus people like me and other friends and 'friends' of Israel ) already know the information and opinions contained in the articles and briefings, or that they do not have the time or simply won't bother to read the entire articles or press releases. What annoyed me was one particular mail in June. It contained this article, by Dutch-Jewish writer Leon de Winter. In the article, titled 'Time for a new ally?', De Winter claims that the loyalties of Obama and of ( liberal ) American Jewry do not lie with Israel, and that Israel " needs to shop for another ally ". That ally should be Russia, according to the writer, who last year made aliyah to California, together with his family. O.k., the title does contain a question mark, and every writer should be allowed to write what he or she wants, wherever he or she is. But why should I read such a plea - which in my honest opinion goes in every possible way against the true interests of Israel - in a semi-official mail of an Israeli embassy, preceded - like all other Israel-'friendly' and supposedly Jerusalem-approved articles that the embassy sends me and others - by "Shalom, For your information, With kind regards," and the name and title of the Israeli public servant who is supposed to convey Israel's official point of view to the Dutch media and public? I wrote a stiff e-mail to my contact person at the embassy - where generally none of the Israeli officials speaks and understands Dutch, but that is another issue, and only one of the reasons why Israel's PR-situation in the Netherlands is really bad - but received nothing but a standard response ( "we received your comment" ). Anyway, if such a ridiculous and dangerous appeal receives a semi-official Israeli stamp of approval, Avigdor Lieberman and his PM - thinking, like Leon de Winter, that they can continue to snub Washington and that Israel can trust Putin and his cronies - should not complain when their new-found 'ally' slaps them in the face, time after time.

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