This article by Dr.Gerstenfeld was published in the Jerusalem Post and republished here with the author’s consent.
THREE BIASED PROMINENT COMMENTATORS ON TRUMP’S JERUSALEM DECISION
The hypocrisy of many prominent commentators concerning important political events regarding Israel can often easily be exposed. Their statements may reflect extreme bias, pseudo-expertise, remaining knowingly silent about many bigger problems as well as doubtful predictions.
One such event was the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel by U.S. President Donald Trump. The following three reactions from prominent people illustrate this lack of sincerity. U.N. secretary general António Guterres said: “In this moment of great anxiety, I want to make it clear there is no alternative to the two state solution.” He continued that Trump’s unilateral action would jeopardize the prospect of peace for Israelis and Palestinians.1 In addition to his doubtful predictions he also apparently suffered from self-imposed anxiety.
Had it escaped Guterres that the high salaries that the Palestinian Authority pays to families of terrorist murderers have greatly damaged the prospects of peace? If so, then he is a pseudo-expert. If Guterres knowingly chose to close his eyes to this frequent occurrence, then he is a hypocrite applying a double standard. All the more so as his repeated view is that Israeli settlements are an obstacle to peace. One may recall that in his visit to Israel in August 2017, Guterres called himself an “honest broker.”2
Pope Francis issued a plea to Trump to respect the status quo of the city and to conform to UN resolutions. He said: “I cannot keep quiet about my deep worry about the situation that has been created in the last few days.” As head of the Catholic Church should he not regularly express his deep worry about the position of the Christians in the Muslim world with special emphasis on the Christians in Syria?
In April 2017, the Pope spoke at an international conference in Cairo.3 There was hardly a better place to mention the ongoing flight of Christians from a number of Muslim countries and the precarious situation of many of those remaining there. Instead, he called on Christian and Muslim religious leaders in Egypt and throughout the Middle East to join in building “a new civilization of peace.”4
Federica Mogherini, the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy said about Trump’s decision: “The announcement has a very worrying potential impact for peace in the region.” She added: “It could send us backwards into even darker times than we are already living in.”5
I searched in vain to find out whether Mogherini ever said the same in regard to German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s announcement in the late summer of 2015 welcoming the massive arrival of refugees to her country.
With Germany’s horrendous Second World War past and problematic present, would not it have been easy for Mogherini to predict that the massive influx of additional Muslims would substantially strengthen the reactions of extreme rightist movements? How difficult was it to forecast that there would be even more antisemites in Germany than there already were?
The darker times in Germany, which Mogherini failed to predict, arrived within two years. In the September 2017 elections the AfD right wing party, some of whose key figures glorify Nazi soldiers or minimize the Holocaust, emerged as the third largest force in German politics.
In regard to the recent antisemitic incidents, the German government spokesman, Steffen Seibert said: “One has to be ashamed when in the streets of German cities so frequently hatred of Jews is shown.”6
The Hanns-Seidel Foundation which is close to the Bavarian Christian party CSU, has undertaken a study among asylumseekers in Bavaria. It found that more than half of the Muslim asylumseekers are of the opinion that Jews in the world have “too much influence.”7
A recently released American Jewish Committee study on Syrian and Iraqi refugees in Germany led by Gunther Jikeli found that “Antisemitic thought patterns and stereotypes were very widespread throughout all the interviews, even where the interviewees emphasized their ‘respect’ for Judaism or the importance of the peaceful coexistence of Muslims, Christians and Jews.” The study also found that “Almost all Arab interviewees considered a fundamentally negative image of Israel to be natural and as a matter of course questioned Israel’s right to exist.”8
These antisemites have been allowed into Germany by the country’s government at a time when the heavily distorted opinions of many Germans concerning Israel are already pitch black. According to a 2015 Bertelsmann Foundation study, forty one percent of the German population believe that Israel behaves toward the Palestinians like Nazis acted toward the Jews.9
Israel’s political leeway to frontally attack the above three prominent commentators is limited. Such limitations do not exist for many pro-Israeli organizations and authors. The more that the insincerity of Guterres, Pope Francis and Mogherini is exposed, the more likely it is that they in future will reflect a little bit more before making biased comments concerning Israel.
8 AJC Berlin Ramer Institute: Attitudes of refugees from Syria and Iraq towards integration, identity, Jews and the Shoah Research Report: December 14, 2017