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Hardliners realise Britain is a soft touch

The Tzipi Livni fiasco illustrates how slavishly this country follows hypocritical UN edicts

George Walden

December 17, 2009  

As a piece of legal grotesquerie, the attempted arrest of the former Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni has its funny side. The biggest joke lies in the role of the UN. It was the UN Human Rights Council that endorsed the report by the retired South African judge Richard Goldstone on the Gaza conflict, in which Israel as well as Hamas was accused of war crimes.

The fun lies in the membership of this august body, and guardian of all our rights. Currently those empowered to sit in judgment on the Israeli democracy include Cuba, China, Russia, Kirghizstan, Djibouti and Qatar. In a non-democracy, of course, Ms Livni would have had no bother; with no elections to dislodge her she would still be a minister, and so exempt from arrest. There must be a lesson there.


The joke gains resonance when we remember that in 2003 the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Commission elected a Libyan to its chair. It is of course due to Israel being surrounded by similarly backward and corrupt regimes, such as Syria, Iran and Saudi Arabia, as well as to Israeli recalcitrance, that the Middle East remains in a permanent state of tension and Palestinians suffer.


So the Livni affair is a joke on democracies everywhere, though especially on us, which makes it a sombre matter. The move to get her arrested is part of the climate of creeping anti-Semitism in this country. We do not go in for the hard stuff yet, but whether it is subtly but relentlessly bent TV reporting of the Middle East conflict, or attempts in British universities to deny Israeli academics the freedom of expression notionally protected at the UN by countries such as Cuba or Libya, institutionalised anti-Semitism, assisted now by the law, is gaining ground.


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