European Petition War Goes Right

Petition sent by French intellectuals againt Israel's “settlements” was overwhelmed by counter petition. Most Israeli media didn't notice; INN did.

Hana Levi Julian, | updated: 15:25

Fiamma Nirenstein
Fiamma Nirenstein
Israel news photo: Fiamma Nirenstein

There is a war being waged on the Internet over a petition sent around the world wide web and to the European Parliament by a group of French intellectuals.  Entitled "A Call for Sanity",  it called on Israel to freeze “settlements.”

The original document was generated two weeks ago by JCall, the European version of the Washington DC-based leftist organization “J Street,”  at the initiative of leftist former Israeli ambassador to France, Professor Eli Bar Navi (Labor),  but it has met its match because those who disagree decided to do something about it immediately.

The first "intellectual" group sent a letter to the European Parliament asking the group to stop supporting Israel's government decisions. Signed by some 5,665 people, including leftist philosophers Bernard Henri-Levy and Alain Finkielkraut, it called for a halt to Jewish building in Judea, Samaria and parts of Jerusalem restored to the capital as a result of the 1967 Six-Day War. It received wide coverage in the Israeli mainstream media.

But close to double the number of signatures that were on the leftist document -- more than 8,500 and in barely half the time -- were gathered by those who are just as "intellectual" and are determined to squelch it.

Opposition organizer, Member of Italy's Parliament Fiamma Nirenstein said the JCall petition “has an Obama flavor,” calling it “trendy” and “prissy.” Professor Shmuel Trigano of France, who led the opposition to the 'sanity' petition in his country, cited how the successful counter petition received no mention in the Israeli media that went out of their way to give the leftist petition major headlines. 

INN decided to let you know.

Nirenstein noted in her literary counter-punch this week that “intellectuals are often unable to say 'no.'” This “makes it possible nowadays for an increasing number of Israel's enemies to delegitimize the Jewish State, rejoicing that 'even the Jews are with us,'” she added.

Several Jewish members of the European Parliament had signed the JCall petition, which called Jewish construction in these areas “morally and politically wrong.” The petition also claimed that Jewish communities in these areas “feed the unacceptable delegitimization process that Israel currently faces abroad.”

In response, Nirenstein exhorted followers to sign a counter petition that asked people to “Stand for Israel, Stand for Reason.”

“Stand for Israel, Stand for Reason” notes that the JCall document “is inspired by a short-sighted view of the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict...” and charges that its signatories “do not have the clear perception of the global physical and moral threat to which Israel is currently exposed.” 

The counter petition makes its point forcefully. Here is a translation of salient points:

"A peace forced on Israel by world power pressure or intervention is an idea that is a slap in the face to democracy and international law, an idea that smacks of neo colonialism. It ignores the rights of Israeli citizens to free choice and is a dangerous precedent for other democratic regimes.

"This call [of the first group, ed.] relies on U.S. President Obama who has failed in facing the Iranian challenge, and on the EU which identifies totally with the Palestinian interests. Israel is faced by the threat of annihilation because of the Islamic Republic of Iran and its satellites in the Middle East, HIzbullah in the north and Hamas in the south.

While those who signed the first petition consider Israel the cause of the continued impasse, surveys show a different story. Neither the Palestinian Authority or its people are interested in a just peace. 66.7% of the Palestinians do not want a state with 1967 borders and 77.4% reject Jerusalem as a shared capital city (Anajach University, 2010). Creating a Palestinian State that is not committed to peace will put Israel's tiny territory into a state of disastrous strategic weakness.

The call for "sanity" [in the first petition,ed.] is plagued by amnesia: the Oslo Accords were rollowed by an unprecedented wave of terror, the retreat from Southern Lebanon brought the Hizbullah into the area///the disengagement from Gaza brought about the Hamas putsch and years of rocket attacks on Israel. Will Eastern Jerusalem and a Palestinian State also fall into the hands of Hamas? In that case, feelings of regret by those who called for "sanity" will be useless...

The "Call for Sanity" only encourages boycotts and deligitimization aimed at harming Israel and its citizens instead of facing the real threats against it...we hope to create a grassroots movement that will defend the legitimacy of the state of Israel ..and to combat the anti Semitism that is growing dangerously in the European Union."

"Forcing Israel to continue to make concessions to the Palestinian Authority without any reciprocation", it points out, “simply means to surrender (sic) the enemy without any guarantee... they actually ignore the basic element that has prevented success of any peace process, namely the Arab and Palestinian refusal to recognize the very existence of the State of Israel as a permanent nation-state in the Middle East.”