Mind the Gap…writes Michael Kuttner

November 28, 2014 by Michael Kuttner
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Everyone traveling by train or underground will be familiar with the announcements of “mind the gap.”

Michael Kuttner

Michael Kuttner

These public warnings are designed to prevent passengers from suffering serious injury as they descend or board trains. I know of a friend who actually did not mind the gap closely enough and as a result had a narrow escape as his leg was caught between the train steps and the platform.

Given the chaos and mayhem swirling around us at the moment plus the manifold manifestations of evil intent on the part of friends and foes alike, warnings of mind the gap would seem most appropriate. We as a nation and people are in danger of being pushed through various gaps created by the folly of those whose track records are dubious at best. In addition the enormous gaps between rhetoric and reality mean that unless we are very careful, serious and possibly fatal consequences will ensue.

Let me enumerate some of the credible gaps that Israel faces at this particular time.

Following the Har Nof massacre a torrent of inciting invective and hate, spewed forth from officials of the Hamas/Fatah unity administration in Ramallah and Gaza. Without a pause, their media glorified the murderers of Rabbis at prayer and encouraged their citizens to continue on the path of bloody terror against Jews. Abbas was coerced by the US to issue a very dubious condemnation but this did not put a stop to the ongoing onslaught. One of the conditions for US aid to the PA is the cessation of hate & incitement and herein resides one of the widest gaps on display today. The aid continues while the hate flows unabatedly. A clue to this conundrum surfaced a few days ago. The Al Quds website posted this report: “senior PA officials instructed under pressure from the USA, against responding to the terror attack in Har Nof. Washington demanded that Ramallah not embarrass the US Government and that PA officials should avoid appearing on Arab TV channels.”

If ever there was a huge credibility gap this is it.

The international community gives lip service to the demand that an end to the conflict can only be achieved via direct negotiations. One would think that where one side refuses to engage in any meaningful talks and instead engages in murder and mayhem in order to reach its goals, someone somewhere would make it crystal clear that unless and until peace, reconciliation and tolerance replace terror, incitement and hate, there can be no chance of any progress. Instead, we find a yawning gap between what should be and what actually is. Having faced Arab terror tactics since at least the 1920’s and despite managing to avert national genocide on more than one occasion since 1948, it is in fact Israel which is censured. Europe, that repository of Judeophobia for the last 2,000 years, is at the vanguard of a momentum to recognize a Palestinian State before any agreement is reached between the parties concerned. While Arab terror abounds, the EU proceeds to reward it by in effect telling the PA that regardless of any logic, they will be rewarded while Israel the targeted nation, will be censured. Do you discern the gaping chasm manifest in this shameless charade?

The dream team of Obama/Kerry and Baroness Ashton have just handed the best prize possible to the Mullahs of Iran. Trumpeting a dubious agreement to extend talks with Iran for another 7 months as a momentous achievement the negotiators have for all intents and purposes abandoned any pretence at preventing that country from developing a nuclear capability. The claims being touted by the above successors to Neville Chamberlain sound just as hollow as those uttered by the UK Prime Minister at the time of Munich. The only thing missing is a piece of paper which will guarantee peace in our time but this no doubt is being worked on behind the scenes. Proof of the wide gap between preventing Iran from getting the bomb and its actual facilitation is contained in the following statement issuing forth from Tehran this week: “US and European colonialist attempts to stop nuclear Iran have failed.”

Please note that this declaration of victory follows a EU decision to extend relief from sanctions to the end of June 2015. Can there be any more glaring gap than this?

The continuing scandal of the UN Human Rights Council and its loaded bias against Israel as well as the ongoing hoodwinking by UNRWA as it milks donor nations while its teachers’ laud the murderers who massacre worshippers are further examples of how awkward facts are ignored. More gaps between reality and hypocrisy.

Yet another gaping example surfaced this week. At the moment there is uproar (an almost daily occurrence) over the intention of the Government to pass a law which defines Israel as the nation State of the Jewish People. Listening to critics at home and overseas of this proposal one could easily imagine that it is some sort of revolutionary idea. The San Remo Agreement, endorsed by the League of Nations back in the 1920’s and the subsequent United Nations partition plan of 1947 clearly articulated the establishment of a Jewish State. So why all the fuss? Apparently there is a misconception that by making it clear once and for all that Israel is the nation state of the Jewish People, democratic rights for all citizens will be threatened. As Israel’s Declaration of Independence makes perfectly clear, the Jewish and democratic character of the country is fundamental. Our adherence to civil and human rights for all citizens is unquestionable and this certainly will not change.

Therefore, it is galling and absolutely disgusting that the European Union and the United States have issued what can only be termed demeaning declarations warning the Middle East’s only democracy to safeguard these principles. Europe, whose record of respect for minorities is a lesson in barbarity should be the very last to give us any specious admonitions. The fact that they feel free to do so merely reflects an ongoing double standard and gap in the way they view the Jewish State and deal with real human rights violations in the rest of the world.

As for the USA, one has only to realise that not so many years ago segregation was a fact of life and that even today race relations is not exactly as wholesome as apple pie. To even suggest that by defining Israel as a Jewish State will somehow threaten non Jewish minorities in our midst is a chutzpa of the highest order. In the face of continuing silence over the most horrendous violations of human rights in countries which define themselves as Islamic, one has to wonder why the US Administration feels free to deliver these nonsensical statements. There are no doubt many reasons but I will leave you to pick one of them. It shouldn’t be difficult.

Perhaps now is the time for Israel to issue a travel advisory pointing out the dangers of visiting parts of the USA and also advise US authorities to exercise restraint in the face of mob violence.

The gaps between reality and preconceived prejudices grow wider with each passing day. If we do not expose and combat them we will indeed at some stage in the near future suffer serious consequences.

Michael Kuttner is a Jewish 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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