50 European has-beens oppose Donald Trump's peace plan

Many of the signatories can be characterized as veteran anti-Israel inciters.

conceptual map (photo credit: REUTERS)
conceptual map
(photo credit: REUTERS)
On February 27, The Guardian published a letter titled “Grave Concern about the US plan to resolve the Israel Palestinian Conflict.” It was signed by 50 European former senior politicians. These included many previous prime and foreign ministers. The signatories called themselves “Europeans dedicated to promoting international law, peace and security worldwide.” If this were truly the case, one would be able to find many letters by them in the media in view of the problematic state of these issues in the world.
Yet as far as can be reasonably checked, these 50 have only signed this one letter recently, an act which qualifies them as hypocrites. In their letter they warn that if the Trump peace plan goes ahead, Israel will be an apartheid state. Many of the signatories can be characterized as veteran anti-Israel inciters. If one applies the most common definition of antisemitism, that of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, some even fit that definition and can be labeled antisemites.
The one name which catches the eye immediately among the signatories is Mary Robinson, a former president of Ireland and past United Nations high commissioner for human rights. In 2014, she co-signed an op-ed in The Guardian with former US president Jimmy Carter suggesting that Europe and the US should recognize that Hamas is also a political movement. They did not mention that it is also an organization with genocidal intent. This was a showcase of a top human rightist promoting the interests of an organization that wants to commit mass murder.
A further rapid look at the signatories shows that at least 20 of them are socialists. This reflects their parties’ frequent sizable incitement against Israel and sympathy for the repressive, corrupt, anti-democratic and murderous Palestinian leadership. Those who are anti-Israel often think that having a Jewish supporter helps. The socialist former Swiss president Ruth Dreyfuss played this role in the letter. The former Dutch and UN Ambassador Robert Serry, also a socialist, is the son of a Jewish father, which he discovered only after the latter’s death. This, however, is not widely known. In 2014, when he was special envoy of the UN for the Middle East Peace Process, Israel’s then-foreign minister Avigdor Liberman threatened to declare Serry persona non grata when he offered to help transfer Qatari funds to Hamas.
One German signatory is Sigmund Gabriel. He is the former leader of his country’s socialist party, ex-foreign minister and a veteran anti-Israel inciter who falsely calls himself a “friend of Israel.” There are also four members of the British Labour Party among the signatories: Douglas Alexander, Ben Bradshaw, Jack Straw and Garreth Thomas. One did not hear from them much, or anything at all when their party became institutionally antisemitic under Jeremy Corbyn’s chairmanship.
Another person to take note of is the Belgian socialist Willy Claes. He had to leave the position of NATO secretary-general due to his involvement in a Belgian corruption scandal, for which he was later condemned and lost his right to vote or to be elected. The sole Finnish signatory, Erkki Tuomioja, a former socialist minister of foreign affairs of his country, has in the past compared Israeli defensive measures to the Nazi persecution of Jews in Germany saying, “It is quite shocking that some implement the same kind of policy toward the Palestinians which they themselves were victims of the 1930s.”
There have been two somewhat similar letters in the past signed by a variety of mainly other European former politicians. The first one was published in April 2013. The signatories self-defined as the “European Eminent Persons Group on the Middle East Peace Process.”
This letter’s content was skillfully dismantled by Elliott Abrams, who has served in senior positions under various US presidents. He is currently the special representative for Venezuela at the State Department. Abrams concluded that the letter was important in one way: “It shows that European official and elite thinking continue to blame Israel for everything related to the so-called peace process.” Abrams suggested that the signatories – whom he called the “formerly eminent persons” – have been seeking to avoid the truth that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas refused an extremely generous offer from then-Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert. He also mentioned that the statement in the letter about the failure of the parties to negotiate in the last four years was false.
Abrams further stated that the signatories did not demand anything from the Palestinians, and it treated them like objects rather than people. He added, “Nowhere does the letter mention the issue of antisemitic broadcasting and hate speech in Palestinian official media, nor the matter of the glorification of terrorism and terrorists by the PA, and the impact such conduct has on prospects for peace.”
A second letter from the same self-appointed European “eminent persons” group was published in May 2015. Some signatories of the previous letters are also recidivists in the current letter in The Guardian. One of them, former French socialist foreign minister Herbert Védrine, is remembered by many French Jews because he seemed to show understanding for the many antisemitic attacks by Muslims in France at the beginning of this century. He said, “One does not necessarily have to be shocked that young Frenchmen of immigrant origin have compassion for the Palestinians and are very excited because of what is happening.”
If there is somewhere a virtual pillory for immoral members of the elite, the names of these 50 political has-beens should be affixed to it.
The writer is emeritus chairman of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. He received the Journal for the Study of Antisemitism’s Lifetime Achievement Award, the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s International Leadership Award and the Canadian Institute’s for Jewish Research’s International Lion of Judah Award.