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Shimon Shiffer
European disgrace
Op-ed: After shirking its duty to prevent use of WMDs, Europe has lost its right to lecture anyone – especially Israel
American President Barack Obama's decision to postpone punishing the Syrian regime for using chemical weapons against thousands of citizens already allows us to reach some gloomy and pragmatic conclusions about the world we live in; a world which permits, in practice, the use of horrifying weapons which are completely banned by international treaties.

 

Europe is being exposed here, and not for the first time, for its hypocrisy and disgracefulness. Europe, which has not ceased to criticize Israel's conduct in the territories, even if we have no reason to be proud of this conduct, has lost its right to lecture anyone – especially us. We have all seen Europe shirk its duty to prevent the use of weapons for mass destruction. The British Parliament tied Prime Minister Cameron's hands, and other countries in the continent are waiting for America soil its hands.

 

Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said several years ago in a conference in Europe that the Europeans are living at the Americans' expense and waiting for the US to clean the gutters around the world for them. What we have seen in the past few days in Britain and France points to deep corruption and unwillingness to take part in the responsibility to manage world crises.

 

Israel, which was founded on the ruins of Europe, must remember and make a connection between the millions who died in gas chambers in the concentration camps and the thousands of citizens, many of them women and children, hurt by the chemical weapons launched by Bashar Assad. It is our moral duty to voice our stance clearly and poignantly and denounce the bloody regime in Syria – even if the decision not to intervene in the civil war in Syria is justified. It's not all about politics.

 

Another lesson from the recent days' events has to do with Israel's stance towards the regimes surrounding us in light of the American conduct. Israel must signal to the US that it favors stable regimes in Egypt and Jordan over alleged "democracies" existing in the West's imagination and in utopian books based on a collection of assumptions and different nonsense, like the book published by the designated Israeli Ambassador to Washington, Ron Dermer, and former Minister Natan Sharansky.

 

We must convince the American administration that removing the Muslim Brotherhood, which was elected in a democratic process, is a thousand times better for the regional peace and stability than a radical Islamic regime. We should also remind them that Hamas gained control of the Gaza Strip in democratic elections. Israel gave in to American pressure – and we are paying the price to this very day.

 

President Obama's prestige suffered a heavy blow in the past 48 hours, but make no mistake: America remains the most important world power. If Obama receives the Congress' approval to strike in Syria and punish Assad, he will fix what he broke.

 

Damascus, Tehran and the Dahiya Quarter in Beirut are waiting impatiently to see what America will do. I'm willing to guess that Obama will eventually wipe the smiles off the faces of Assad, Rohani and Nasrallah, and that the sigh of relief heard in those places will be replaced with sounds of anxiety in light of the strength of the American war machine.

 

Obama is not looking at our region, but at the legacy he wishes to leave behind. And he has no intention of wasting the recognition he gained as the first black president of the United States.

 

 

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