Europe should apply a double standard to Israel when judging its actions compared to other Middle Eastern nations, Danish Ambassador Jesper Vahr said on Thursday, causing sparks to fly at the Jerusalem Post Diplomatic Conference in the capital.
“Israel should insist that we discriminate, that we apply double standards, this is because you are one of us,” Vahr said during a panel discussion on relations between Israel and Europe.
Israelis sometimes ask why Europe applies a different standard to its neighboring countries, such as Syria, Vahr said. “Those are not the standards that you are being judged by. It is not the standards that Israel would want to be judged by,” he said.
Israel should want to be held to European standards, not Middle Eastern ones, he said.
“So I think you have the right to insist that we apply double standards and put you to the same standards as all the rest of the countries in the European context.”The Jerusalem Post
’s diplomatic correspondent, Herb Keinon, who moderated the panel, asked Vahr if his statement couldn’t be seen as “patronizing” to the Palestinians.
Vahr responded: “I am not sure it is,” particularly given that Israel is the stronger party in the conflict and the Palestinians are the weaker one.
It is “natural,” Vahr said, to engage differently with Israel, a country with whom Europe, including Denmark, has an extensive cooperative relationship with in trade and cultural affairs.
Vahr’s comments angered Caroline B. Glick, the Post
’s senior contributing editor, who retorted that they were a “statement of contempt for our intelligence.”
“I consider Europe’s keen interest in the Middle East, specifically Israel, to be an obsession,” she said. “It is an obsession that Jews have seen from Europeans from the time of Jesus.”
Glick was particularly struck by Vahr’s reference to a common culture between Israel and Europe.
“We have this whole common culture, I mean really? We respect international law. You guys make it up,” she said.
In 2001, the United Nations Security Council approved a binding resolution that bars UN member states from funding or supporting terrorist organizations, Glick said.
That resolution, she said, has not stopped Europe from “funneling billions of euros into rebuilding terrorist-controlled Gaza.
“This is in contravention of binding international law that you signed onto,” she charged.
But when it comes to Israel, Europe simply invents international law, Glick said. Europe acts as if it is required by law to sanction Israel for activity over the pre-1967 lines in West Bank settlements and Jerusalem, even though there is no such binding international legislation, she said.
“There is no such binding law. You guys are funding settlements in Western Sahara.
You are funding them directly,” she said. “This is not a double standard. This is a singular standard for Israel. This is not about international law. It is about an obsessive, compulsive need to constantly pick at the Jewish state,” she said.
After receiving applause from the audience, Glick continued: “No, I do not want to be proud that you are looking at us in a different standard from our neighbors because you are not looking at our neighbors as human beings.
“What you are saying is that they are objects. The only actor in this entire region are the people they are trying to annihilate.
“The only people who are supposed to be judged for our actions, and always poorly, are the people who are doing everything possible – more than Europe, more than the US, more than anyone – in order to protect the lives of the Palestinians,” she said.