Sunday, October 24, 2010

Zeg me wie uw vrienden zijn...

Het is tekenend voor het beleid en het imago van Israel dat dit land het buiten zijn grenzen vooral van 'vrienden' als Geert Wilders moet hebben. Ik heb hier al eerder over geschreven, zie bijvoorbeeld dit artikel. Wanneer je zogenaamde vrienden iets aanmoedigen en prijzen wat jou langzaam maar zeker al ruim veertig jaar van binnen- en buitenuit verziekt en verrot, en wat heel wel jouw ondergang kan veroorzaken, weet je wat hun vriendschap waard is. Zulke vrienden kunnen mij gestolen worden. Omdat Geert en zijn alte Kameraden nauwelijks politieke verantwoordelijkheid hebben (aandurven/nodig hebben) kunnen ze vanuit de rechterflanken van de pseudo-oppositie blijven roepen wat ze willen, niemand kan en zal hun iets maken. Het is overigens ook tekenend voor het Nederland van vandaag de dag dat de regering in Den Haag met handen en voeten aan een partij als de PVV en aan een figuur als Geert W. gebonden zit. Maar dat is weer een ander verhaal.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Thomas Friedman is right

Amen to what Thomas L. Friedman says in his latest column.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Stil

Gisteren werd ik voor een aantal minuten volkomen stil toen ik las over de tragische dood van Antonie Kamerling. Ik heb nauwelijks iets van zijn werk gezien, en kende hem verder helemaal niet, maar de laatste 30+ uur moet ik telkens weer even aan hem denken, en nog meer aan zijn vrouw en hun jonge kinderen. Allemachtig, wat triest.

Rutte-Verhagen-Wilders I

Een aantal zeer geslaagde spotprenten van Tom Janssen en Joep Bertrams. Hoe belabberd en absurd de politieke situatie in Nederland ook is, ze biedt in ieder geval prima inspiratie voor cartoonisten.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Janus

Tom Janssen's view on Israel's two-faced 'peace' policy:

Building Settlements Resumed - "...but please feel free to continue talking."

Tom Janssen on the new Dutch government

Rutte I ( the first cabinet of Mark Rutte, leader of the liberal VVD ) -"Maxime Verhagen (leader of the christian-democrat CDA): And our motto is; Mark Rutte: "Freedom and Responsibility"; Wilders: "Freedom for me, and responsibility for them".
Maxime Verhagen changing the political boundaries
( Centrum, Rechts, Centrum-Rechts = Centre, Right, Center-Right; regeerakkoord = coalition agreement )

With such allies...

Silvio Berlusconi's Italy is often mentioned ( e.g. here, where a so-called expert is quoted ) as one of Israel's few remaining friends in Europe. In this article you can read how one of Berlusconi's cronies hurls anti-Semitic abuse at a "post-fascist" former ally of the Italian PM, who is the kind of the-enemy-of-my-enemy-is-my-ally that Israel should not be too fond of. Another example of such an 'ally' is the Dutch Party for Freedom (PVV, Partij voor de Vrijheid), led by Geert Wilders. In a quite unusual political construction, the new center-rightwing government in Holland, which is being formed as we speak by the liberal VVD and the christian-democrat CDA, will 'enjoy' parliamentary support from the PVV, which has been an equal and powerful partner in the coalition talks since the elections in early June. The coalition agreement is called 'an agreement of tolerance' (gedoogakkoord): the PVV will not be part of the government but it will 'tolerate' (i.e. de facto support) the government. As a clear quid pro quo, certain elements of the PVV program are absorbed inro the plans of the new government. While the PVV is widely perceived to be a pro-Israel party, in my opinion it is rather another example of how pro-Israel often means anti-Palestinian/Arab, just as pro-Palestinian often equals anti-Israel (or, sometimes, anti-Semitic). Besides the controversies that pop up every now and again around PVV figures, one reason why I believe that the PVV is not the kind of 'friend' that Israel should be fond of is the fact that it insists on using the labels 'Judeah' and 'Samaria' for what almost everybody else - including most of the Israelis that I know - calls 'the territories' ( with or without any of the tree following adjectives: disputed, occupied, Palestinian ). Another reason is its disproportional attention for some aspects of religious freedom. Like elsewhere in Europe, in recent years the public discourse in the Netherlands, heavily influenced by - not exclusively - rightwing populism, has more than once focused on ritual slaughter and male circumcision. Restrictions or an official ban on either or both of those important elements of Judaism AND Islam would not only affect Muslims. I understand why rightwing, xenophobic populists such as Avigdor Lieberman have no problem seeking alliances with men like Wilders, Fini, the late Haider, and other rightwing, xenophobic populists, but more responsible and sane Israeli leaders should try to think of ways to form more reliable and profitable, deeper, smarter, and less one-dimensional alliances with European and other Western partners and friends. Unfortunately, as long as the Israeli government thinks that holding on to settlements and illegal outposts is more important than - to name just two things - strategic alliances against Iran and islamism and preserving Israel as a democracy and a homeland for the Jewish people, the only 'friends' who will support the Jewish state unconditionally will be dangerous freaks like Silvio Berlusconi, and other rightwing populists who hate Haman much more than they will ever truly love Mordechai.