Dialogue of the deaf…writes Michael Kuttner

October 2, 2014 by Michael Kuttner
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Addressing the General Assembly of the United Nations or indeed the UN Human Rights Council is not exactly a dialogue when it comes to Israel.

Prime Minister Netanyahu addresses United Nations

Prime Minister Netanyahu addresses United Nations

It is a monologue because the glazed and bored expressions on the faces of those delegates who bother to turn up exemplify the whole story. They are listening under sufferance and would rather be somewhere else like all the other missing diplomats who boycott meetings when ever it is Israel’s turn to speak.

It reminds me of what a friend related to me the other day in the way of a joke which if truth be known is not too far from reality. When asked what strategy he would use to deal with Islamic terrorists beheading western hostages, the President of the USA replied that he did not have a strategy but meantime he would be heading for the golf course.

In other words it was best to not think about, listen to or be confused by hard truths. That way one could pretend things were not really too bad and tough decisions would not have to be taken.

All these thoughts went through my mind as I watched a live telecast of Israel’s Prime Minister addressing the UN General Assembly on Monday. No doubt it was a shock for most of those delegates present and listening, to be subjected to a barrage of uncomfortable truths especially as the usual rhetoric from the speaker’s podium drip with lies, false accusations and double speak of Orwellian proportions. As the camera panned over the half empty hall it was easy to discern the pained expressions on the faces of those gathered there as Bibi Netanyahu hammered home some usually avoided facts. Drawing a clear connection between Islamic State terrorists and other associated groups all of whom have the common roots of Islamic extremism and world domination as their agendas, one could have cut the silence with a knife. Applause did break out at intervals during his speech but it came from Israeli and Jewish audience attendees while the assembled diplomats looked as though they were suffering from a bad case of hemorrhoidal discomfort.

As expected the PM ripped into the lies and false accusations made by the Hamas/Fatah Unity PA President a few days prior to Monday. He demonstrated that it is impossible to make peace with someone who trots outs ancient libels, makes false accusations, cohabitates with terror groups and promotes incitement. Needless to say these observations were a shocking departure from the usual double speak heard at the UN and therefore the shell shocked reactions were somewhat delayed in manifesting themselves.

The media as usual were quick off the mark. Of all the major TV news channels only Fox had live streaming of the PM’s speech followed by an analysis afterwards. All the others ignored it completely and did not even bother to feature his comments on any news bulletin. Likewise with the printed media which either ignored the event or relegated a mangled version to a back page. Any comments which did materialize were not surprisingly, negative.

Here in Israel the predictable reactions ranged from wholehearted endorsement to breast beating criticism, depending where on the political spectrum the comments emanated from.

I was particularly keen to see how the Obama Administration would react and I did not have to wait too long. The sour look on the faces of the US delegation gave a clue and soon enough the State Department spokesperson stepped up to the plate and delivered what can only be described as a classic case of reality deniability. Apparently in the minds of these experts, Hamas, although grudgingly acknowledged as a terror group, cannot be equated with ISIS. The reason given was that Hamas does not threaten the USA therefore it follows according to this warped logic that they cannot be the same barbaric branch of terrorists. ISIS lops off heads whereas Hamas only shoots innocent civilians. With this sort of logic it is no wonder that American Foreign policy is in such a mess and it also helps to explain why Israelis view anything emanating from this source as muddle headed and a danger to their lives.

Yesterday the chief PA negotiator, Saeb Erekat, accused the Israeli State of being the same as Islamic State. Presumably he was articulating this gesture of peace and goodwill in the name of his President. Only those completely detached from reality should now embrace these people as genuine partners, yet amazingly despite all of the evidence to the contrary, from the White House down the chorus of the blind and deaf continues unabated.

The usual critics have great delight in pulling to pieces anyone who dares to sound the alarm. Any attempt to warn against the rising tide of terror from all Islamic quarters is greeted by the UN assembled nations with a collective yawn. The media is equally guilty of ignoring, disparaging and dismissing this looming threat to all our values by concentrating on ISIS and treating all other groups as only an Israeli sideshow not worthy of being taken seriously. The prospect of Iran, a terror sponsoring state if ever there was one, being granted concessions in exchange for help in fighting ISIS is indicative of the warped thinking making the rounds today. Likewise the statement by Hezbollah that it is waging war against terror would be hilarious if it was not so mind boggling.

This is a complete rerun of history when in the 1930’s, Winston Churchill, was accused of being an alarmist, war mongerer and liar when he tried to alert a nation and world to the rising menace of Nazism. Then, as now, the media and politicians of all shades plus the League of Nations were not interested and preferred instead to ridicule and belittle.

Unless Israel’s current monologue with the deaf and disinterested of the international community is taken seriously the results will be disastrous. Israel has put the international community on notice that it intends to face up to terror. Our next step should be to walk out of any gathering which condemns and sanctions us for defending the very values the rest of them should be upholding.

Our dues could very easily be put to better use closer to home instead of helping to fund corrupt and biased organizations whose only purpose in life is to vilify the Jewish State.

Michael Kuttner is a New Zealander who for many years was actively involved with various communal organisations connected to Judaism and Israel. He now lives in Israel and is J-Wire’s correspondent in the region.



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