Supporters of Israel often complain that the Jewish State is held to a different standard than Hamas, the Palestinian Authority and neighboring Arab countries.
It’s a rare occurrence when a policymaker or media insider concedes they might have a point. So when a senior Danish diplomat admitted there is not only a double-standard for Israel but that Israelis should welcome it, his admission inflamed an Israeli columnist who proceeded to pillory the ambassador over Europe’s “obsessive, compulsive need” to pick on the Jewish State and what she called its patronizing attitude to Arabs.
The two came face to face in a roundtable that took place on Thursday at the Jerusalem Post’s Diplomatic Conference which featured Ambassador of Denmark to Israel Jesper Vahr and Jerusalem Post senior contributing editor Caroline Glick.
An excerpt of the exchange posted online opened with the ambassador voicing concern about the “Europe bashing” he was hearing.
“I think that Israel should insist that we discriminate you, that we apply double standards, this is because you are one of us,” Vahr said.
The heated exchange took place at the Jerusalem Post’s Diplomatic Conference which featured Danish Ambassador Jesper Vahr (second from L) and Jerusalem Post senior contributing editor Caroline Glick (center). (Image source: YouTube)
Vahr explained that when criticized, Israelis often point to Syria and other places with poor human rights records which are not condemned as frequently.
“Those are not the standards that you are being judged by. It is not the standards that Israel would want to be judged by,” Vahr said. “So I think you have the right to insist that we apply double standards and put you to the same standards as all the rest of the countries in the European context.”
Jerusalem Post diplomatic correspondent Herb Keinon, the event’s moderator, asked Vahr, “Isn’t it kind of patronizing to the Palestinians to say that, ‘We hold Israel to a higher standard than we hold you’?”
Vahr responded: “I am not sure it is,” adding that Europe views the conflict as being one between a “very strong party” and “a much weaker party.”
Engaging Israel “in a different fashion that we engage others is natural,” the ambassador added.
That’s when Jerusalem Post columnist Glick angrily chimed in:
I think that this patronizing attitude towards us that we should be happy that you have a separate standard for Israel is really, I’m sorry, a statement of contempt for our intelligence. I consider it to be an obsession. I consider Europe’s keen interest in the Middle East, specifically Israel, to be an obsession, and it’s an obsession that Jews have seen from Europeans from the time of Jesus.
Holding Israel to a different standard was highlighted over the summer by HBO host Bill Maher who called Israel "the victim of the soft bigotry of high expectations."
Glick said, "'We have this whole common culture,' I mean, really? We respect international law. You guys make it up.” She cited the 2001 United Nations Security Council resolution 1373 adopted after the September 11 attacks which U.N. member states pledged to criminalize terrorism financing.
“You guys are funneling billions of euros into rebuilding terrorist-controlled Gaza. This is in contravention of binding international law that you signed onto,” Glick said.
“On the other hand, there’s imaginary international law … that says you are required … to sanction Jewish [construction] projects from Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria. There is no such binding law,” Glick asserted. “You guys are funding settlements in Western Sahara.”
“This is not a double standard. This is a singular standard for Israel. It’s not about international law. It is about an obsessive, compulsive need to constantly pick at the Jewish state. And no, I don’t want to be proud that you are looking at us in a different standard from our neighbors because you are not looking at our neighbors as human beings. What you are saying is that they are objects,” Glick said.
“The only people who are supposed to be judged for our actions, and always poorly, are the people who are doing everything possible – more than Europe, more than the United States, more than anybody – in order to protect the lives of the Palestinians,” she said.
“I would love it if I could have more respect for Europe, but your treatment of Israel, your singular standard, your obsessive compulsive need to constantly pick at the Jewish state makes it very, very difficult,” Glick said.
Glick asserted that the only military organization in the area that is not a terrorist organization is the Israel Defense Forces, and for this “we are condemned, we are investigated, we are put on trial every single day.”
“Our soldiers, our soldiers are condemned by you. Our soldiers come in and are being called murderers for protecting our families and I’m sorry it’s very hard for me to feel any respect for this kind of behavior,” she added.
Glick is the author of the recently released book The Israeli Solution: A One-State Plan for Peace in the Middle East” exploring a new arrangement for the Israelis and Palestinians not predicated on the two-state solution widely promoted by both U.S. and European governments.
Watch an excerpt of the exchange: