16 thoughts on “Offering Carrots to Israel: EU Membership for Peace – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. Its a good idea, especially when combined with the Arab League proposal.

    I applaud you for actually making a positive proposal Richard.

    1. Richard – just so we understand you correctly, the Arab League Proposal of 2002 required the complete withdrawal of Israel from the occupied territories (including East Jerusalem) and a “just settlement” of the Palestinian refugee crisis. Am I correct?

      However, the first part is only what Israel is required to do under Resolution 242, which affirms (as has been re-affirmed many times, and is fundamental to the UN charter) the “inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war”.

      And the second part is a watered-down version of the principles of Resolution 194 (re-affirmed over 40 times), that “refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date”.

      Why is it necessary to reward Israel for abiding by UN resolutions (concerning the very fundamentals of International Law) when Israel, more than anywhere else in the world, is obliged to abide by those resolutions?

  2. The idea of Israel joining NATO is absurd. NATO is based on the idea of it being a group of countries with shared values AND security concerns. This led to the concept that “an attack on one is to be considered an attack on all”. Now, suppose there is a war in the future between Israel against Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia (something like the line-up against Israel in the Six-Day War). If Israel were to conduct a pre-emptive attack like in 1967, Israel’s NATO allies would be under no obligation to support her, and if the Arabs attacked first, this would be a case of countries who are close allies of the US and other NATO members attacking another NATO member (Israel). Does anyone seriously think these other NATO countries would go to war with their allies in Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia merely because some scrap of paper (Israel’s joining NATO) obliges them to do so? Thus , Israel would gain nothing by joining NATO and I am sure the other NATO members would vehemently object to it.

    1. Does anyone seriously think these other NATO countries would go to war with their allies in Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia merely because some scrap of paper (Israel’s joining NATO) obliges them to do so?

      As usual you’ve missed the pt. A NATO member thinks once, twice & 100 times before going to war because the stakes are much higher than if an individual country were to make such a decision. If Israel were to contemplate going to war & it was a member, all of NATO’s member nations would exert huge pressure not to unless it were a truly existential threat (as opposed to the supposed existential threats Israel goes to war over on a regular basis these latter days). And Iran would NOT be considered an existential threat.

      But if Israel truly were under existential threat it would be reassured that all of NATO would stand behind it & come to its aid. It would be like an insurance policy ensuring Israel’s ultimate security & survival.

  3. I would think Turkey would be a more appropriate candidate for membership in the EU. And if EU membership applications take as long as Turkey’s (it’s been waiting for 22 years), this might not be the best idea, Richard.

  4. Why not “offer” Israel to join USA? I suppose that would be “politically” more easy than joining EU would be. The Israeli political, mental and financial ties are stronger in the US direction than they are towards Europe.

    Surely Israel would like the benefits it would get from the EU membership, but would not be ready to “pay” the demands that membership. It would mean dramatical changes in Israeli legislation and general attitude and behaviour. End of Zionism. EU would surely not endanger it important energy needs and trade relations with the Arab/Muslim world by letting one of its member states behave like Israel presently does.

    Surely a secular normal EU style democracy based on 1967 borders would have a change, but there is no political force or will in Israel to create such a state. Not even if they had the chance to do that.

  5. EU membership is not a matter for discussion until such time as all illegal settlements are dismantled.

    There is no statute of limitation on the offense of theft or illegal expropriation. When the Nazis, for instance, thought that they had established ‘facts on the ground’ by invading Poland and other European countries and stealing not only land but also, in the case of European Jews, personal assets and possessions – they thought they had achieved faits accomplis.

    However, for over half a century since, Germany has been forced to pay reparations and wherever possible, to return stolen land and goods to their rightful owners or their heirs.

    So it is and so it shall be with Israel’s ‘facts on the ground’ in the West Bank.
    Ma’ale Adumim and other so-called settlements, built illegally on Palestinian land, will revert to Palestinian ownership in due course. Theft cannot be condoned and although it may take decades, as with Germany, Israel must and will dismantle all such settlements and live within its own borders, as stipulated by the UN. There is no statute of limitation in this matter.

  6. The idea of israel joining the EU is something that appeals to the coastal, high tech elites of Israel and the dwindling remnants of the labor party across the country. The ones Bernard Avishai refers to as Tribe 1. The ones who now constitute perhaps 20-25% of the population. Alas, this is the only segment left in israel that would be amenable to reason, with perhaps another 5% who could be persuaded by enough carrots. The rest of the Israeli population – a decided majority is longer reachable by either reason or enticement IMHO, and can only be dealt with usinng sticks rather than carrots. Clearly, this is the conclusion Neve Gordon has reached as well, or he wouldn’t have called for a boycott of his own country.

    Has anybody looked lately at the demographic trends in Israel? no, not the ones invovling arab population, but those that pertain to the explosive growth of the haredis. Between ultra-orthodox, nationalist orthodox and the usual assortment of religious Shas followers (eg the Mizrahis), there is an over 30% hard core right wing component that is hardly open to the kind of humanistic, tolerant, secular, trans-tribal notions that underlie the EU enterprise. These concepts are the last ones they’d want to adopt as they are clearly on a treadmill backwards to the days of xenophobic nationalism and the narrowest of parochial interests.

    The only reason the religious segment is not a majority [yet] is the Russian immigrants. And these are – en mass – far more receptive to fascist ideas than western democratic ones – as we see from Lieberman and his followers.

    Between right wing nationalists and religious zealots who really want to separate from the west, chances are much better that Israel will join a pan-taliban movement than a European one.

  7. Ironically, many Europeans would balk at Israel’s joining the Union (assuming it could overcome the virtually insurmountable hurdles of geography and “European values”) because of its large Muslim population. After all, that’s what’s really keeping Turkey out.

  8. I objected strongly when Israel was allowed, long ago, to join the Eurovision Song Contest, simply because they were not a European country, but a shitty little Levantine one.

    That was also my initial gut reaction to this relatively new idea that we invite them to join the EU (Nato? Not such a good idea – think of what the IOF might do in Afghanistan).

    It would force them to adhere to countless UN resolutions, but also give them access to a huge market (not that they haven’t already achieved this, with various trade agreements).

    In short, at second sight, a good idea.

    Maybe, with a bit more consideration, I’ll go back to the idea that a shitty little Levantine country doesn’t deserve this, so let them stew in their self-imposed local problems.

  9. Obama is proving to be no different than a string of previous Presidents on Middle East issues. Despite the talk of a new beginning he is just as much under the thumb of the Israel lobby as Bush and Clinton. Ditto for domestic policy when he has put trillions of taxpayer dollars at risk to bail out largely Zionist owned and contolled banks and investment houses. Goldman Sachs is paying record bonuses while tens of millions of American stuggle to survive.

    In fact Obama is worse than Bush in some respects on these issues since he has more credibility to sell essentially the same Israel-first warmongering polices.

    Obama Bows to Israel Over Settlements, Iran
    Deal to Be Finalized Tomorrow in London
    by Jason Ditz, August 25, 2009
    Email This | Print This | Share This | Comment | Antiwar Forum
    In a deal scheduled to be finalized tomorrow during Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to London, Israel will accept a resumption of peace talks with the Palestinian Authority. The deal came as a result of President Obama caving to virtually every demand made by Israel.

    In essence, the Israeli government will freeze new construction in the West Bank, potentially for as much as a year, while continuing ongoing construction projects. East Jerusalem will reportedly not be part of this freeze. In return, the United States will reportedly back massive new sanctions against the Iranian government and will stop criticizing the growth of the settlements.

    The State Department had confirmed yesterday that they were “close” to reaching a deal with Israel, but said that “the Arabs are more difficult to pin down.” Since all the Palestinians have really asked for is a permanent halt to settlement constructions and the US has apparently abandoned that request, its going to be a difficult road to a deal.

    The ability to get those sanctions, which would in essence cut Iran entirely out of the international oil and gas market and cripple their economy, passed in the United Nations is likewise in serious doubt. Both Russia and China have previously objected to the most harsh sanctions, and this push is likely to be no different.

  10. As conditions for joining the EU, Israel would have to withdraw to ’67 boundaries, that means completely dismantling all settlements, excepts perhaps those that are agreed on in a land swap with Palestinians, and do away with its exclusivist laws and policies. There should also be the demand that Israel acknowledge its responsibility for the Nakba as well as some form of truth commission in this regard and for the later occupation, & possible war crimes trials, as well. As you see, it’s a tall order. This is an incredibly remote possibility.

    Agree with David that Turkey has a better case for EU membership than Israel, but it is still currently a long shot, or a long way off. I think Turkey should not even be seriously considered for the European Union until there is official, governmental recognition of the Armenian genocide. Since this is not going to happen anytime soon in Turkey, I’m against Turkey being part of the EU (at least until such a recognition and Turkey better cleans up its human rights record).

    1. Even before acknowledgment of the Armenian genocide, Turkey needs to be required to clean up its act regarding the Kurds.The Armenian genocide has been over for nearly a century, but Turkey’s atrocious treatment of Kurds is going on today.

      1. I agree, Shirin. Current acts of violence and persecution should always take precedence over historical issues in terms of focus of action, dialogue, diplomacy. That’s partly why I get annoyed when one talks about some contemporary incident(s) of Israeli violence against the Palestinians and someone immediately brings up an aspect of the Holocaust, usually for some exculpatory or rationalizing purpose.

        So, Kurds and other contemporary human rights abuses by Turkey first. Also, Turkey’s close alliance with Israel really is spitting in the face of the Arab world, particularly the Palestinians. Having said that, I think Turkey’s refusal to confront its history, the Armenian genocide centrally, is connected to its tendency for human rights abuses today. It’s all about being able to look in the mirror.

        For Turkey to evolve and come to terms with its modern self, reckoning with the Armenian genocide must happen. Anything less is unacceptable. Of course, it doesn’t help that the Israel lobby goes to such efforts to discourage U.S. leaders from confronting Turkey on this issue. No competing genocides, after all, we don’t want to dilute the narrative.–

        1. Yes, I agree with you that sooner or later Turkey will have to deal honestly and openly with the Armenian genocide. And by the same token, if Israel wants one day to join the world of civilized countries it will also have to deal honestly and openly with the ugly history of its creation and its hideous behaviour as a state. But first Turkey will have to change its horrific treatment of the Kurds, confront its racism and that of its citizens (I have never seen racism like the racism of Turks toward Kurds – it is absolutely pervasive, and deeply ingrained), and acknowledge Kurds as equal citizens with full rights including the right to live as and where they choose, practice their own culture, and speak and teach their own language. And of course Israel will have to withdraw from all the occupied territories, including the Golan Heights, and Sheb`a Farms, become a state for all its citizens equally, confront its racism, and pay at least symbolic reparations to its millions of victims in Palestine, Lebanon, and Syria.

          It is a very sharp bone in my throat that Turkish Kurds, who have endured by far the worst treatment over all of any other group of Kurds, are portrayed as vicious, hateful terrorists while Iraqi Kurds are always the innocent and gentle poster children for ethnic victimization. Unlike Iraqi Kurds, Turkish Kurds have been forbidden from teaching their language in schools, and could even be arrested for daring to speak Kurdish. Iraqi Kurds had the right to teach Kurdish language and history and culture in state schools, and were well integrated into Iraqi society. Baghdad had one of the largest Kurdish populations of any city in the world, and the rate of intermarriage with Arabs was high. In fact, as I recall, Arab-Kurdish intermarriage was the second most common, after Sunni-Shi`a intermarriage. Without minimizing the abuses suffered by Iraqi Kurds during periods of Iraq’s history as a state, over all Turkish Kurds have had it much worse than Iraqi Kurds, so why are Iraqi Kurds the victims, and Turkish Kurds the villains?

  11. Israel’s current project of making East Jerusalem Arab-rein would be another stumbling bloc to EU membership, the ethnic cleansing continues (and thanks to Richard for highlighting what is happening).

    The drive of right-wing Zionists to completely Judaize Jerusalem is a serious act of aggression against Palestinians, Muslim, Christian and non-religious, and it demonstrates how averse many Zionists are to any narratives of home and belonging other than their own. But, before the cultural and social ramifications of this, the immediate locus of concern must be the immediate awful impact on the people being evicted from their homes.

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