When I got my German passport, based on my grandparents’ credentials, it was clearly stated by the Germans that the next generation will not be eligible for a citizenship. The buck, or the Mark, stops with me. But 10 years later, while renewing my passport, the consular clerk urged me to register my little son as a citizen. Politely but persistently she lobbied, even after I explained that he already had an EU citizenship thanks to his French mother. “With us it’s better” she said. I thanked her, and wondered whether she had noticed the moment of thick irony: 75 years after my grandparents - citizens and all - had to run for their lives, a new Blumenthal is being courted to sustain a largely bogus relationship with the German state.
It may be purely guilt, but I want to think that the German authorities’ change of policy can be partly attributed to the pursuit of productive, contributing members of society. I want to think they dared to assume that my son, just like his great-grandparents, will turn out that way. The desirable kind, after all.
I remembered that anecdote this week, when the EU issued its “Binding directive ... forbidding any funding, cooperation, awarding of scholarships, research funds or prizes to anyone residing in the Jewish settlements...” The Europeans had decided to stop investing their West-Bank Euros in science, education and the arts, and focus on endless aid spending. Something about severing ties with the productive side, the one with the academic institutions, environmental ventures and art institutions, feels wrong, and the question is whether this is really what needs to be done in order to find the road to peace.
The Europeans continue to place the responsibility for lack of peace solely on Israeli refusals, failings and abstinence and believe that exerting pressure on Israel is the road to peace. This is an optimistic thesis, as it grants Israelis the ability and power to end the conflict. It’s hardly apparent this week, though, as Abbas’ refusal to return to negotiations dictates Secretary Kerry’s busy travel itinerary. On a wider view, this assumption contradicts ideologies, cultures, history, rhetorics, education, policies, statements - all of those important components and factors that the Europeans would have thoroughly looked at if they weren’t absolutely committed, emotionally and ideologically, to Palestinian victimhood.
The European disconnectedness already leads to frequent entanglements with indirect support for Palestinian violence and hatred, through EU money placed in the wrong hands. Norwegian-funded hate speech and British Pounds paid to terrorists - this is the funneling direction the EU had decided on this week.
East Jerusalem’s inclusion in the boycott totes another moment of irony: The resolution was delivered on Tish’a Be’av, a fasting day commemorating the destruction of the two Jewish Temples, which were located, unfortunately, in the EU's East Jerusalem. As economy Secretary Bennet put it on his fb page: “Turns out I’m fasting over an occupied territory”.
In the name of justice an inquiry should be made as to the arbitrary nature of the European definition of occupied territory. When the old city of Jerusalem was taken by Jordanian forces in 1948, its Jewish residents were expelled and the Jewish quarter destroyed. Isn’t that an act of occupation? In the case of the old city of Jerusalem, the focus of 2000 years of Jewish longing, the EU had decided that the buck (or the Shekel) stops in 1967.
Finally, the Golan Heights were included in the boycott as well. I hope no one entertains the absurdity of handing out the region to Bashar Assad or anyone else in the Syrian slaughterhouse. Still, the EU, in contradiction with the principles of freedom and prosperity, is clearly eager to abolish Israeli sovereignty in the region. To that end, I’d like to suggest reverting to the French mandate of 1918-1943. The French will surely be orderly and courteous, and after all, they’ve controlled the Golan Heights for 25 years, one year more than the Syrian state did (and just over half the time it’s been under Israeli control: 46 years.)
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