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Catherine Ashton can only blame herself: A response to Ami Kaufman

There is no doubt in my mind that Prime Minister Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Lieberman made political use of the statement made by the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton – getting back at her for her positions regarding the settlements and the peace process –  but unlike Ami Kaufman (you can read those statements in his post), I think Ashton can only blame herself.

Saying that all children deserve to live is self-evident, and therefore meaningless as a political statement. Ashton is the Foreign Minister of the EU – so she represents the French as well, and also the community that suffered the losses at the attack. Those people deserved to hear more from their elected appointed official. If Ashton didn’t want to go further when she spoke before a Palestinian audience on the issue of the refugees (that’s understandable, she is a political person), she should have picked another occasion for her statement, and refrain from mentioning the attack at that moment. But her general comments sounded hollow and not fully committed, and rightly made many people angry.

To be clear, I don’t feel that my commitment to ending the Israeli occupation lessens in any way the anger or shock I feel over the Toulouse murder. Ashton shouldn’t have made this connection as well: politically, it was stupid. Morally it was even worse, since it is the exact connection that the killer himself made.

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    1. Aaron the Fascist Troll

      Well said.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Steve

      If you want to end the Israeli occupation, convince Hamas (good luck with that) and the Palestinian majority to agree to a permanent peace with the Jewish State of Israel.
      Until the Palestinian majority/powers do this, there is absolutely no reason for Israel to hand land control away, or to stop growing and developing.

      Reply to Comment
    3. This time I disagree with you, Noam. You give a lunatic like this murderer too much credit. Psychopaths will always find a rationalization for their acts. I don’t believe for a moment that this was pro-Palestinian, or antisemitic. It’s not different from those who are obsessed with a continuous persecution of Jews worldwide, not experienced by most Jews themselves.
      Just like Bibi, others take advantage of the situation to fulfil their basic needs.
      Ashton was right. Children get killed by monsters, with or without uniforms.

      Reply to Comment
    4. joe

      Sorry, Ashton is not an elected official. It is (of course imperfectly) a position more similar to the Secretary General of the UN. It makes total sense to tell a Palestinian audience that they’re not the only ones suffering. I can’t see what the problem is.

      Reply to Comment
    5. aristeides

      It’s the exact connection the killer himself made, and a connection that Israel constantly does everything in its power to promote and exploit. Then people wonder – how could he make that connection!

      Reply to Comment
    6. Sinjim

      Can you name the election that Ashton won, Noam?
      You say that her comments “rightly” made “many people” angry. What about her comments justifies this response from supposedly so many people?
      You state: “I don’t feel that my commitment to ending the Israeli occupation lessens in any way the anger or shock I feel over the Toulouse murder.” Did Ashton even come close to suggesting that it ever should?

      Reply to Comment
    7. @Sinjin, Joe: corrected the mistake on elected/appointed, thanks.

      Reply to Comment
    8. arieh

      Allways the same shamefull travestti faces stand up in the theater of antisemitism, minorities and more…the trigger goes easy when there is no blood,the words are a rainbow but of one color,no compromise, no filiation.And doesn’t matter the case, jews, muslems,armenias, irak, iran and all the classics ingredients.The 3 soldiers were of no
      known, to us, origin, but when the murder of children happens, hem suddenly argelians, where in Irak field forces. Nothing better than a father and his 2 sons,jewish, jaredim,minority, but strong pull in Toulusse, the muslem weeker.
      Cutting the poles nothing better but a good progrom to remember where your land is….

      Reply to Comment
    9. Danny

      “Saying that all children deserve to live is self-evident”
      Not in Israel, it’s not. In Israel, all children deserve to live as long as they are Jewish children. Palestinian children have never enjoyed the universal right to llife and liberty that Jewish kids in Israel and elsewhere take for granted. That is why Ashton’s remarks are important in this context. Israel’s reaction to her statements, while typical, just proves her point: Palestinian children have no value as far as Israel is concerned.

      Reply to Comment
    10. There is no event in this ever war which will not be appropriated for someone’s ammunition. A death becomes a form of property, to be controlled, harnessed by words.
      Would that the dead body could be released from our fights.

      Reply to Comment
    11. RichardL

      “Ashton can only blame herself”! For what? For an orchestrated attack by the Israeli leadership intent on using the pain of terrorist victims in France for political gain. You must be nearly as sick as they are if you believe what you wrote. No goyim would dare to sink to the depths dredged here to get at the European High Representative.

      And for what? Read the rest of the speech. Ashton remember was talking at the UNRWA conference entitled ‘Engaging Youth – Palestinian Refugees in the Changing Middle East’. After giving tribute to Palestinian children, with examples, she had said that the EU was the largest single donor to UNRWA and that it intended to continue this funding in the future. Then having spoken on Gaza’s summer games she had observed “Given the opportunity, the children of Gaza can achieve whatever they want. This is what I say to PM Netanyahu everytime I meet with him.” Perhaps these comments are what all the fuss is really about.

      In winding up Ashton referred to recent incidents when young people had lost their lives, mentioning the Belgian bus tragedy, Toulouse, Norway last year and Gaza and Sderot. There was no comparison (as Netanyahu claimed) “between a deliberate massacre of children and the defensive, surgical actions” [of the Israeli military]. There was no comparison as Barak and Livni claimed between what happened in Gaza, Toulouse and Syria. There was no need (as Lieberman suggested) for her to focus on “the children of south Israel, who live in constant fear of Gaza rocket attacks.” She was talking about actual deaths of young people, without any detail, judgement or comparison. But who anyway but a naive fool would take Lieberman’s utterances seriously when he declared in the same statement that “Israel is the most moral country in the world”.

      There was nothing in the speech by Ashton, the experienced politician, to “rightly make many people angry”. The only ones who got angry here were the Israeli elite who were out to get her, and were happy to rub salt in the wounds of the people they claim to represent in order to achieve those nefarious aims.

      You disappoint me this time Noam.

      Reply to Comment
    12. Piotr Berman

      Managing to extracting some bile out of the mouth of FM and PM of Israel is very, very easy. If Baroness pays any attention to those two gasbags — when they do vent the gas — she is indeed to be blamed.

      Reply to Comment
    13. RichardL

      Regretfully these two gasbags are very powerful players on the international political scene. Would that Obama would pay them no attention.That said I do not think that the ‘ness said a lot in response really. Less than Noam here, or Ami Kaufman or even myself come to that.

      Why should anyone be intent on blaming Ashton for making a very fair speech at an UNRWA conference? She did a good job, leave her alone and save your bile for the real villains in this saga.

      Reply to Comment
    14. Hostage

      I’m nonetheless still wondering why the IDF hasn’t been able to located the tank crew member that deliberately murdered and wounded the Rabbo family members during Operation Cast Lead. If Ashton thinks that murdered children deserve equal justice, then good for her and too bad for Bibi and Yvet.

      Reply to Comment
    15. Kubrikon

      Noam, are you sure you belong on 972mag.com? I don’t come here to agree with the articles but you are making it very difficult for me to not start to respect 972mag as a legitimate magazine.

      Reply to Comment
    16. Piotr Berman

      “But her general comments sounded hollow and not fully committed, and rightly made many people angry.”

      I am missing something here. What is it exactly that “rightly made many people angry”? I kind of understand comments like “This leftist bitch would give Falklands to Argentina” (slight paraphrase of a comment in Daily Telegraph), some real concern is presented, however illogical. When I say “The weather is OK today” that is quite trite, not committed etc. yet few people take offense. Also, either self-evident or outright false.

      Netanyahu and Lieberman are like Pinky and the Brain. “What do we do today?” “Same as we ever do, trying to take over the world”. Piece by piece. Today we humiliate ambassadors from Austria, Belgium, Norway and Switzerland. The preschool for the children of Foreign Ministry workers lent furniture for the occasion. Yesterday we swept the floor with Lady Ashton. Tomorrow — we will see.

      Reply to Comment
    17. Piotr Berman

      Ynet op-ed:

      Europe of the late 20th Century, which vowed to uphold the banner of tolerance and liberalism, will slowly turn into a chaotic, angry region where various groups are fighting each other while shunning genuine moral values.

      In any case, Ms. Ashton need not apologize for or clarify her remarks. After all, her words accurately reflected the mood of her decayed, dying continent.


      There are at least TWO Op-Eds in ynet, of which I checked one. Hatred, triumphalism, and stupidity. How long Europeans will tolerate such attitude is hard to tell. Right now this is largely ignored, but I do not think that it will last forever.

      Reply to Comment