'Palestinian state bid uproots concept of int'l diplomacy'

World Jewish Congress Secretary-General Dan Diker calls PA plan to seek recognition for state at UN assault on Israel's rights.

By KAROLYN COORSH
June 28, 2011 22:11
3 minute read.
Dan Diker

Dan Diker headshot 58. (photo credit: Courtesy)

 
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A Palestinian bid for statehood is a “fundamental offensive” in the assault on Israel’s most basic legal and diplomatic rights and could have dire consequences for international diplomacy, World Jewish Congress Secretary-General Dan Diker told a roomful of international parliamentarians visiting Jerusalem on Tuesday.

Diker, along with D.J. Schneeweiss, a Foreign Affairs Ministry strategist, and NGO Monitor’s Gerald Steinberg was speaking at a session of the International Consultation of Jewish Parliamentarians, during an interparliamentary session titled, “The assault on Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people.”

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A week after taking over for Michael Schneider as WJC secretary-general, Diker said any bid for unilateral statehood “is a fundamental violation” of previous signed agreements governing Palestinian and Israel relations, such as the Oslo interim agreement.


“A negotiated solution is the only option in terms of international law,” he said. “What has happened, I would suggest, is that the legal and diplomatic principles which were enshrined and unanimously approved by the British and American drafters after 1967 have been distorted and transformed into a type of political reality that changes from moment to moment.”

Diker cautioned the group of parliamentarians, visiting from Latin American, Europe and North America, that any bid for unilateral statehood “uproots the entire concept of international diplomacy,” and could have consequences for other free countries facing similar territorial conflict.

“That’s what’s at stake, much more than Israel’s future being at stake,” he said.



In speaking about the government’s current efforts to promote Israel on the world stage, Schneeweiss suggested the current situation facing Israel is not new, but carries more risk than in the past. The challenges, he said, include a more sophisticated campaign to demonize Israel, with references to it as an apartheid state and in analysis of 2010’s Gaza flotilla raid.

He noted there is a drift of “many aspects of our society” away from Israel, which becomes an opportunity for enemies to poison the minds of audiences in the international community.

To counteract that threat of political agenda, Schneeweiss said Israel is trying to brand itself, - “We have to tell our story more effectively”- and attempting to anchor Israel in the international community by reaching out and engaging the relevant constituency, including online.

“We need to be in play with places that are in play,” he said.

He encouraged the parliamentarians to join the political pushback in the “battle of ideas” and to stand up to “lies and vilification” of Israel.

Using a Power Point presentation, NGO Monitor’s Gerald Steinberg spoke about the “political attempt to wipe Israel off the map” and warned in particular about large amounts of funding going to organizations actively engaged in delegitimization campaigns. Many of these organizations, he said, claim to promote human rights while isolating Israel with largely false information and propaganda techniques.

Even in European democratic governments, the funding for these organizations is passed without parliamentary supervision, he said.

Steinberg said the fact that these organizations have paid only lip service to kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Schalit’s cause “is fundamentally immoral.”

“These organizations have largely dropped the ball because this is not on their agenda,” he said, adding other people facing oppression or crimes of humanity are being neglected due to this focus on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman spoke briefly at the end of the session and participated in a question-and-answer period with the parliamentarians.

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