Op-Ed: The Moral Bankruptcy of Europe
Kevin ZdiaraThe writer is a doctoral candidate in philosophy, witing on the Jewish-American...
The vote in the United Nations General Assembly on the upgrade of the status of the Palestine Liberation Organization, commonly known as “Palestine”, reveals more than anything else the moral bankruptcy of Europe. While, on the one hand, the attitude of many European countries towards Israel has moved in the direction of open hostility since the early 1970s, it seems, on the other hand, a significant change that more than half of the European Union members, i.e. 14 countries, chose many of the most brutal regimes in the world like North Korea, Iran or Syria as their allies instead of Israel and the United States.
Another worrisome fact was that 12 more European countries decided to abstain from the vote, as if they weren’t able to make up their minds, incapable to decide whether to grant Mahmoud Abbas more privileges at the United Nations or not. How, for example, was it possible for one of the allegedly closest allies of Israel in Europe, Germany, to switch its position only hours before the vote from ‘No’ to ‘We don’t know’? How was it possible that Germany couldn’t come to a decision on this vital issue?
Only the small Czech Republic had the courage to stand up and say ‘No’ to Abbas’s UN farce. The same country that was abandoned by Europe in the 1930s and handed over to Nazi Germany stood at Israel’s side without wavering. The Czech government obviously understood what was at stake, that once again there was an international roundup going on. This time the victim was not Czechoslovakia but the Jewish state. Unlike the rest of the world, the Czech Republic takes the lessons from history seriously: in the face of injustice and evil one must not remain silent.
To understand why the Czech Republic voted as it did, it helps to take into consideration one of the most important books by the former president of the Czech Republic Václav Havel, called “Living in Truth”. There, Havel elaborated on the idea of truth as the most important value in order to stay human in a totalitarian society. Havel wrote: “Living within the lie can constitute the system only if it is universal. The principle must embrace and permeate everything. There are no terms whatsoever on which it can co-exist with living within the truth, and therefore everyone who steps out of line denies it in principle and threatens it in its entirety.”
At the General Assembly the Czechs stepped out of the European line of indifference and accompliceship, and thereby threatened the Palestinian-European alliance against Israel. Of course, the Czech Republic’s political weight is negligible but the moral weight is invaluable. They made clear that there is a difference between ‘No’ and ‘Abstain’, and there certainly is a difference between ‘No’ and ‘Yes’ in the case of Abbas’s UN bid. Right now, it is not clear whether the Czech vote will have any effects but neither was it clear that Havel’s words would eventually help dismantle the communist dictatorship in Czechoslovakia.
Furthermore, the brave decision by the Czech government revealed the total lack of morality and backbone in the other European capitals. The continent that witnessed and participated in the German genocide against European Jews once again turned a blind eye to injustice committed against Jews.
The General Assembly in its last session adopted 21 resolutions concerning Israel and only 4 on the rest of the world combined. No European diplomat dared to speak out against this bias at the UN. Not one of the European countries which on a regular basis claim to be interested in a lasting peace in the Middle East voiced its opposition when the chairman of the PLO, Mahmoud Abbas, spread his vicious lies about Israel.
He called Israel a “racist and colonialist” state, compared it to the South African Apartheid and blatantly told the General Assembly that Israel had conducted “ethnic cleansing” against the Palestinians and continues to do so. European diplomats sat there and in some cases even applauded Abbas’s vitriolic speech. And they did so because they lack a moral compass, they don’t care whether Israel exists or not, although they wouldn’t say so in public.
In Europe where a post-modern ideology of relativity of historical facts and moral values has taken over, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that those receive acclaim who shout the loudest and spread the most fantastic lies.
Given this situation it seems as if the Jewish state and the Jews have lost a cold-hearted Europe. But one shouldn’t take the example of the Czech Republic and its eight fellow dissenters for granted. In a world and an age of lies, it is incredible daring to speak the truth, and one should keep in mind the national motto of the Czech Republic: “Pravda vítězí” or “Truth prevails”.