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Why Did the British Prime Minister Vote against Israel? Virtue Signaling

Jan. 10 2017

While Charles Moore does not doubt the sincerity of Theresa May’s expressions of friendship toward the Jewish state, he finds her decision to support the recent anti-settlements resolution at the UN Security Council an unjustifiable exercise in “virtue signaling”—a meaningless display of commitment to popular pieties. He writes (free registration required):

“Virtue-signaling” is a useful modern term to describe a modern mania. Its greatest practitioner on the international stage is the outgoing president of the United States. Barack Obama has elevated virtue-signaling into a strategy—or rather, his substitute for a strategy. . . . [But he] is leaving office. He looks forward to his political afterlife touring the world as the saintly anti-American American, and he hates poverty, war, and injustice. The resolution will make some neat paragraphs in the final chapter of his memoirs.

What is harder to understand is why Theresa May’s Britain is choosing to indulge him. [On December 22,] Egypt dropped the resolution, deciding it would damage its relations with Israel and the incoming Trump presidency. This would have been our moment to kick the whole idea into touch. Instead, British diplomats reportedly helped do the Obama ancien régime’s work for it and put pressure on New Zealand to push the resolution forward. . . .

Britain, being a permanent member [of the Security Council], has the power of veto. Think how our use of that veto on this issue could have transformed the landscape of the international order at this time. . . .

Although the passing of Resolution 2334 could not have happened without President Obama, it would not have been seemly for him to signal his virtue too explicitly. So this was left to his Secretary of State, John Kerry. Kerry made an emotional speech on [December 28]. He criticized the Netanyahu administration for being “the most right-wing in Israel’s history with an agenda driven by the most extreme elements.” At which point, 10 Downing Street suddenly decided to get cross. A spokesman criticized Kerry, saying “We do not believe it is appropriate to attack the democratically-elected government of an ally.” He added that “We do not believe that the way to negotiate peace is by focusing on only one issue, in this case the construction of settlements.” He did not deal with the plain fact that the British government had just supported a resolution with exactly that focus on exactly that issue.

Some may see this as a welcome, if belated attempt by Mrs. May to make up for her government’s earlier mistake, though it would look more impressive if Britain were to refuse to attend the let’s-bash-Israel international conference in Paris announced for January 15. It could equally well be the prime minister’s effort to make the noises necessary to placate critics without altering the actual policy at all.

Read more at Telegraph

More about: Barack Obama, Israel & Zionism, Theresa May, United Kingdom, United Nations

 

Israel’s Economy Thrives While the Middle East Disintegrates

Jan. 19 2018

Now that the data have come in from 2017, it is clear that the Israeli economy had another successful year, expanding at a rate higher than that of any other advanced country. Israel’s per-capita GDP also grew, placing it above those of France and Japan. Daniel Kryger notes some of the implications regarding the Jewish state’s place in the Middle East:

The contrast between first-world Israel and the surrounding third-world Arab states is larger today than ever before. Israel’s GDP per capita is almost twenty times the GDP per capita of impoverished Egypt and five times larger than semi-developed Lebanon.

Like any human project, Israel is a never-ending work in progress and much work remains to integrate ḥaredi Jews and Israeli Arabs into Israel’s knowledge economy. Properly addressing Israel’s high costs of living requires more economic and legislative reforms and breaking up inefficient oligopolies that keep the prices artificially high. However, by any standard, the reborn Jewish state is a remarkable success story. . . .

Much has changed since OPEC launched its oil embargo against the West after the failed Arab aggression against Israel in October 1973. Before the collapse of the pro-Arab Soviet empire, China and India had no official ties with Israel and many Western and Japanese companies avoided doing business with Israel. Collapsing oil prices have dramatically eroded the power of oil-producing countries. It has become obvious that the future belongs to those who innovate, not those who happen to sit on oil. Israel has today strong commercial ties with China and a thriving partnership with India. Business delegations from Jamaica to Japan are eager to do business with Israel and benefit from Israel’s expertise. . . .

[For its part], the boycott, divest, and sanction (BDS) movement may bully Jewish and pro-Israel students on Western campuses. However, in real life, BDS stands no chance of succeeding against Israel. The reason is simple: reborn Israel has . . . become too valuable a player in the global economy.

Read more at Mida

More about: BDS, Israel & Zionism, Israeli economy, Middle East, OPEC