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Letter to the EU: Help! Everybody here has lost their minds

An open letter to the president of the Council of the EU: Don’t give us any more money to pay for the salaries and air conditioners, not in Tel Aviv and not in Ramallah. As far as I’m concerned, my Horizon 2020 is stuck underneath some house in Gaza that collapsed atop all of its inhabitants from an Israeli missile strike.

By Yoav Shemer Kunz

Italian Prime Minister and President of the Council of the European Union Matteo Renzi. (File photo by the EU)

Matteo Renzi. (Photo by the EU)

To:

His Excellency Matteo Renzi
Prime Minister of Italy
Current President of the Council of the European Union

I regretfully inform you that the citizens of the State of Israel have completely and officially lost their minds. It is pathological. Regrettable news, indeed.

It happened not too long ago. We saw a deterioration or two earlier, of course. But ever since they spent three weeks looking for three bodies in an operation very movingly described as “Brothers’ Keeper,” they completely lost it. And after that? Protective Edge. I’m telling you, Israeli society has lost it.

Yes, saw it coming. There were warning signs. Thank you for the commiserations. Yes, it is official: the situation is terminal and incorrigible. It is over. Don’t try to talk to anyone here; they don’t recognize anybody. And don’t tell them I spoke to you; they’ll come up with some law that bans meetings with foreign prime ministers without the expressed approval of Foreign Ministry spokesperson Yigal Palmor.

No, really. You have nothing to do here. They’ll say that you punched Avigdor Liberman in the back and everybody will buy it. Let me remind you of our lovely bearded friend, German EU Parliament President Martin Schulz’s speech at the Knesset in Jerusalem. He made the mistake of momentarily mentioning a young man who told him something during his visit to Ramallah, and that was it. He completely burned himself with that. That’s how it is over here now. In German, no less!

To make a long story short, It’s gone to hell. We’re completely helpless. That which we have dreaded has finally come. Death has its own government. However you want to put it. Poems can be written about it. “Breaking the Silence” will publish it in a special edition translated into French and Italian even before Christmas as a solemn and nostalgic holiday gift book for an entire generation of Europeans who once dreamt of volunteering here in some Kibbutz. It was before I was born. The fancy book will have a special foreword by Stephane Hessel, rest in peace. And probably a picture or two of Rabin and Arafat. Both of whom are dead already. There will be beautiful black-and-white images of freckled, red-headed leftist girls in the center of Tel Aviv with well written signs in Arabic standing by three cops. Yes, it’s lovely, Very romantic. Very Sophie Scholl. But it doesn’t really help now. So listen to me for a moment, before they see me here in the building. They’re everywhere, you know. Thousands of operations per month.

We don’t want your money

I’m wasting my time by trying to convince the Israeli government. You don’t think I’ve tried? All they’ll do is sic the cops and secret police on me, frame me, and pull out all the stops in grandstanding political trials. You know how it goes. So dear Mr. Italian prime minister, all your aides and advisors shan’t tire me any more than I am fatigued and exasperated right now. I’ve got nothing to lose.

We need a responsible adult. You know how it is – learning to kill is a matter of habit. It doesn’t matter right now who started it and why. There are many books on the topic; roughly one every passing week. Forget about it right now; I don’t have the time. Netanyahu is already creeping up my back. I beg of you, as the current president of the Council of the EU, do impose upon us a political solution. Not back to negotiations or anything like that. Impose a political solution.

Did you hear of the Dayton Agreement? That’s the agreement that was imposed upon Yugoslavia by the international community to end the horrendous civil war that was raging there. You know how long the negotiations were? Twenty-one days; I checked. And here, peace negotiations have gone on since I was a high school student. Tell me, are you kidding us?

No, really. Do something. Look at what’s going on here. I’m sick of all of your nice statements about ending the “cycle of violence” and all of that, and going back to the negotiation table and all of that. I’ve just had it with you. You come here to meet us, ye knights of civil society. You nod, you encourage, you finance the offices, the salaries, the printing of reports on glossy paper. And I’ve had it. I’ve had it with all of your reports, with dulcet legal English about human rights and international treaty violations with plenty of footnotes. You come, write the report, and go back to your homes. To the Metropolis. To beer and football. Oh, and what football it is!

So listen to me for a minute, Mr. Renzi. I know you have nothing but good intentions, really, but I’m a little sick of it. It’s just not helping here. Don’t come. We’ll send you an email with an attachment. We’ll meet at the UN Security Council. No, really, forget about it. Real friends don’t let their friend commit war crimes and crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing without doing anything. A good friend does not come to visit, see you burning kids in wholesale, not just one or two, and then says nothing because it’s uncomfortable. The rockets here are also unpleasant! And explosions in buses and restaurants are unpleasant as well. And fascist neo-Nazi movements are unpleasant too, believe me. And if Sayed leaves, then Uzi Bar’am will leave, and then his son, and then Rogel Alpher, and then there’ll be no one left. Either help us out of this mess, or just leave us alone.

Don’t give us any more money to pay for the salaries and air conditioners, not in Tel Aviv and not in Ramallah. And don’t cover our travel expenses abroad; leave us be. We’ll manage in the heat, without an office and without A/C. And without flights to all of those conferences of yours. That’s it. We won’t clear your conscience anymore. No more peace conferences in Tel Aviv or elsewhere. And no more cooperation with the Israeli government. In any field. As far as I’m concerned, my Horizon 2020 is stuck underneath some house in Gaza that collapsed atop all of its inhabitants from an Israeli missile strike, and that’s where my horizon is until further notice.

In short, Mr. Renzi, they are all mad here, and I’m asking you to step in immediately. That’s it. I said my piece. Now you know how it is here and you can do what you want with the information. You have 21 days.

Andiamo!

Yoav Shemer Kunz is a PhD candidate in Political Science in Strasburg and Amsterdam Universities. He is also an expert on the EU’s relationship with Israel and Palestine. He is 35 years old and a Jerusalem native. This article was first published on +972’s Hebrew-language sister site, Local Call. Read it in Hebrew here.

Related:
How will the EU elections affect Israel-Palestine?
Growing European involvement in the conflict
Why the EU needs to rein in Israel’s settlement policy

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    COMMENTS

    1. keren hering

      wow!

      Reply to Comment
      • Whiplash

        Wow was exactly what I was thinking! Wow, what a silly idea; the Europeans are going to force the Israelis and Palestinians to end the conflict. Is the EU going to send in its soldiers to make Israelis and Palestinians make nice? Will Nato planes bomb the piss out of Tel Aviv and Ramallah as they did in Serbia?

        Of course the Europeans might find that the Israelis are not defenseless from air power as the Serbians were. We all know that the Europeans are cowards at heart in a real fight. The fighting Irish took to flight into Israeli controlled territory when faced by Islamic forces in Syria. Italian soldiers cower when meeting Hezbollah fighters in Southern Lebanon. Dutch fighters abandoned their charges in Srebenica to slaughter. The French left Rwanda and Rwandans to their fates.

        By the way have the Europeans sent any troops to fight back the Russians in the Ukraine? I did not think so and don’t expect them to do so during football or skiing season or on bank holidays.

        Reply to Comment
    2. Kolumn8

      Imagine a French citizen living in the areas controlled by the Islamic State being financially sponsored by the Islamic State writing in the name of all French organizations being financially sponsored by the Islamic State demanding that the Islamic State invade France in order to impose whatever he thinks is “order” on a website being financially sponsored by the Islamic State.

      That is the equivalent of this piece. An Israeli citizen living in Europe, sponsored by EU grants, writing in the name of Israeli organizations being financially sponsored by the EU demanding that the EU invade Israel in order to impose whatever he thinks is “order” on a website being financially sponsored by the European Union.

      If the former would be justifiably considered a traitor in France, what should the latter be considered in Israel?

      Reply to Comment
      • Danny

        Geez – here I was thinking that Hamas was ISIS, when all along it was the EU that was ISIS! How dumb of me!

        Seriously, can you hasbara bozos make up your minds already about who is like ISIS?

        Better yet – can you prepare a list of ISIS doppelgangers that I should start fearing right away?

        Thanks in advance!

        Reply to Comment
        • Kolumn8

          Wow, that one was hard for you to follow. I am not surprised. I’ll help you out Danny. You and your European-based and funded former Israeli ilk egging Europe on to go to war against Israel are traitors to Israel just like French citizens that go fight for ISIS are traitors to France. And I had always thought that you “progressives” pride yourselves on intelligence when after all you are just dip shits with high opinions of yourselves.

          Reply to Comment
          • Danny

            No one is calling for Israel to be attacked and for Israelis to be physically harmed. That’s your interpretation and based on your right-wing worldview it doesn’t surprise me that you literally see a brown-shirt Nazi on every street corner just waiting to attack. Guess what – the brown shirts now have the word IDF sewn on them.

            What I am in favor of is a comprehensive boycott of Israel, including economic, academic and cultural. I would like Israel to become alienated to the point that Israelis will come to realize that if they want to be a part of the western world, they’ll have to play by the rules.

            Reply to Comment
          • Kolumn8

            Now I am not particularly surprised that history is not your strong suit. “Progressives” tend to ignore it and hope for the best. It is a good defense mechanism for being consistently wrong.

            The author calls for imposing a “solution” on Israel and uses the Dayton Accords as his example. The Dayton Accords were imposed as a result of the bombing of the Serbs in Bosnia by NATO and the dispatch of NATO (primarily EU) forces to impose a “solution” on the Serbs. When the author insists that the EU “impose” a “political solution” in “21 days” he is calling for the EU to bomb Israel into submission. I wonder if he plans to be on the ground when that happens or whether he, like you, will be at a pro-bombing demonstration somewhere in Europe chanting the usual European progressive slogans like “gas the Jews”.

            And yes Danny, we all know that you wish to see the general Israeli population suffer while you live it up wherever you are and laugh at their misery. It isn’t going to happen, but it demonstrates what kind of wonderful Israeli you are, a similar kind of loyal wonderful Israeli as the author of this piece that wishes to see his [former?] countrymen bombed by his European hosts.

            Oh, I just remembered the conversation we had a few weeks ago. I remember you were full of pride about Hamas’ victory. How is the construction of that Gaza port going? Lots of progress? When does the first ship come in?

            Reply to Comment
          • Danny

            I didn’t interpret the author’s message to be that Israel needs to be bombed. Besides, Israel has one of the strongest armies in the world, and bombing it would be both foolhardy and silly.

            What Israel needs is tough love. A little bit of the South Africa treatment and even you might wake up from your delusions.

            Reply to Comment
          • bir

            What delusions would those be?

            Those who said Oslo Accords were a mistake have been proven right.

            Those who said if you leave a territory to the Palestinians it will become a terror state were right.

            Those who said the Palestinians are just buying time and using land as part of their stages strategy have been proven right.

            Those who said Israel is surrounded by monstrous murderers who will think nothing of slaughtering others have been proven right.

            So, what delusions?

            Reply to Comment
        • Piotr Berman

          Excusable mistake. The general philosophical principle is “they are all the same”, and you can ask doctor of philosophy (and former professor of philosophy) Steinitz, who is also a minister of Intelligence and Strategic Affairs. EU = ISIS is but a manifestation of the principle. You may ask “but why we do not hear about that when Israel demands solidarity, or trade benefits etc. etc. from EU?” Sometimes you are forced to ignore the bitter truth, but lashing out at authors of 972mag is not one of those times.

          Aristotelian logic is much simpler, and the dialectic that Steinitz deploys requires a subtle mind, but as long as you follow Steinitz you should be safe.

          Reply to Comment
      • ***If the former would be justifiably considered a traitor in France, what should the latter be considered in Israel?***

        That’s right, numpty, the author should be found guilty of treason for writing a jocular (but truthful) article.

        Would you like Israel to be a bit more like the USSR under Stalin/Beria perhaps?

        Reply to Comment
        • Kolumn8

          I would like Israel to be more like France. Organizations operating on behalf of hostile foreign bodies are banned and their operatives are considered traitors. Instead we allow the direct interference by the hostile EU in our political process including calls by European poodles for their paymasters to come and militarily attack Israel.

          Reply to Comment
    3. Maya

      Something strikes me as very odd in this letter. The author, according to the information in the end of the post, is affiliated to two universities in Europe: Strasbourg and Amsterdam – not to an Israeli university. Who is then the “us” in Tel Aviv or Ramallah that he is talking about? Does he call to give up on European research funds for Israel, as some kind of protest, when he himself stands to lose nothing from this? This is very strange… I’m genuinely confused.

      Reply to Comment
    4. Yoav is of course basically right.

      Protestations by Kolumn8, undoubtedly to be followed by ‘whiplash’, ‘Gustav’ and others only serve to prove it further.

      Israel needs help but not support in the furtherance of its myopic and suicidal goals.

      Reply to Comment
      • Kolumn8

        Yeah, we need to be militarily attacked by the EU, as the author calls for, in order to “save us”. Yeah, Israelis who want Israel to be strong are the suicidal ones, not the ones that insist that Israel should be boycotted, bombed, and eliminated.

        Orwell would be proud of jokers like the author and his ilk.

        Reply to Comment
      • Gustav

        Oh gee Gertie,

        Please help us. Please tell us how not to be suicidal oh wise one.

        Reply to Comment
    5. ***Yeah, we need to be militarily attacked by the EU, as the author calls for, in order to “save us”.***

      Where does he do that? Not even by a stretch of the imagination does he do that.

      ***Yeah, Israelis who want Israel to be strong are the suicidal ones, not the ones that insist that Israel should be boycotted, bombed, and eliminated.***

      Those who call for strength are also the ones who endorse the settlement project, which in the medium long run can only spell disaster for Israel.

      As regards Orwell, a crisp £50 note [that I’m willing to bet] tells me he would resolutely be on our side.

      Orwellian use of language? That’s your side’s speciality. From obfuscating euphemisms to downright turning reality on its head, it’s all there. See also your use of the term “treason” in this context.

      Reply to Comment
      • Whiplash

        Nato imposed a solution on the Serbians which they had refused three years prior to the Dayton agreements. The difference between the negotiations in 1992 and 1995 was that Nato pilots had bombed the piss out of Serbia.

        So, when the writer proposes a Dayton like agreement, he is proposing a forced military solution.

        Reply to Comment
      • Kolumn8

        Whiplash already pointed out your ignorance.

        The position that the settlement project “can only spell disaster for Israel” is one of those axioms that as of yet has proven to be baseless. The settlement project is the primary reason why the Palestinians have no particular choice but to negotiate, because if they don’t we are simply going to have a vote in large chunks of the West Bank and annex those areas to Israel. We are going to have defensible borders with Palestinian agreement or without. The bulk of the Palestinians are going to wind up in isolated enclaves. Other than actually accepting Israel and accepting its security requirements that really is their future. This is the endgame and it is the Palestinians rather than the Israelis that are facing “disaster” unless they become pragmatic very soon. It is unpleasant for the Palestinians and their supporters to hear this, but such an outcome would be entirely tolerable for us and we have effectively been working on this for 40 years, all with minimal foreign intervention, with the constant, repetitive, boring and persistently wrong pronouncements by several generations of the prophets of doom, and we are stronger than ever while our opponents continue to collapse. In the meantime the prophets of doom are leaving, not because their predictions are coming true, but because no one takes their self-important prophecies seriously any more.

        In reality, this bullshit position taken on the left about some vague “disaster” from the settlement project is a blatant and transparent attempt to make the case for Palestinian territorial demands through promoting fear, uncertainty and doubt among Israelis. The truth of the matter is that the only thing preventing the emergence of a peaceful and prosperous Palestinian State in less than the 1967 lines and living in peace next to a Jewish Israel is the continued refusal of the Palestinians to accept an outcome in which a Jewish Israel is actually secure and the conflict ended.

        Whenever I hear people that call for European military intervention (read the massive destructive bombing of Israel by Europe if judging by the Yugoslavian analogy) to “save Israel”, while living in Europe and speaking in the name of organizations that are funded by the Europeans, Orwell naturally springs to mind, as does treason.

        Quick, what would you call a Frenchman that supported the invasion of France by Nazi Germany? No, don’t want to take that one? Ok, how about a Frenchman fighting for the Islamic State calling for the Islamic State to come to France to overthrow the Republic? No, don’t want to take that one either? Ok, this one you will like. What would you call a Palestinian working for Israel calling for the bombing of Gaza by Israel? Come on, you know it, it is on the tip of your tongue. Come on, you can say it. Now.. What do you call an Israeli living in Europe calling for the European bombing of Israel?

        Reply to Comment
    6. Richard

      Good job dude – you wrote a completely narcissistic insincere rant that nobody would ever take seriously as an open letter. You have proved you’re a proper Israel-hating European now so have fun in your new clique. No more need to masturbate all over us on the internet again, thanks.

      Reply to Comment
    7. Leo

      I understand this piece to be a joke so I had a good laugh. Sometimes self-derision is good. Some people seem to enjoy it more than others.

      But you cannot take it completely seriously. While some of the arguments may be cogent (if developed), each state is responsible for its actions. It is true that a state *almost never* identifies to its citizens (unless you believe in the “democracy-for-dummies”). However, the citizens bear some responsibility for the state they live in.

      You have good reasons to think that the policies of our cherished state of Israel are suicidal. I agree (adding that this is true of most states I happened to study in some depth: it is only slightly less visible than Israel). But appealing to the EU (or the US, even God if you wish) won’t help. The only thing to do is to oppose them.

      And if you say that living outside of Israel (in EU) is in itself an act of opposition, then I will respectfully disagree with you. Come back here and use your knowledge to lead the change. There are concrete steps to be done here. To mention only one example: you are obviously young, so you know in one way or another of the reality of the army, you know of the pivotal role it plays in the Israeli psyche. You are old enough to know well what it is currently used for. Where do you stand ? And please don’t tell me we do not need an army. Even the EU do not buy that. Or imagine what you would say to your 17 year old children about to serve in the army.

      Finding a common ground or a common decency in Israel is probably the most challenging task we face. Obviously your current feeling is: too late. I am sorry (or maybe not so sorry) to say: despairing is not an option.

      Reply to Comment
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