Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Double Standards of the EU Against Israel -- Can Cyprus and the Western Sahara Take Advantage?

Examples of the ways in which anti-Semitism manifests itself with regard to the state of Israel taking into account the overall context could include...Applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.
“Working Definition” of Anti-Semitism of the EU Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia, as quoted by the US State Department

In Of Hypocrisy and Double Standards, Jonathan Rosenblum writes about the hypocrisy of the EU -- specifically the hypocrisy surrounding the double standard the EU uses in misapplying guidelines solely on Israel. In this case, the EU misapplication of international law is addressed and debunked by two international lawyers:
Professors of international law, Prof. Avi Bell and Prof. Eugene Kontorovich, have now provided a particularly glaring example of the application of legal double standards to Israel by the European Union, in a study for the Kohelet Policy Forum entitled "EU's Israel Grants Guidelines: A Legal and Policy Analysis."

On June 30 2013, the European Commission promulgated a notice prohibiting the allocation of European Union grants, prizes, and financial instruments to any Israeli "entity" based in territories beyond Israel's borders [actually the 1949 Armistice Lines, never recognized as an international border] as of June 5 1967 or that would support activity in those territories carried out by an Israeli entity. Any Israeli business or other entity applying for EU funding must file an affidavit of compliance certifying that it does no business beyond Israel's June 5 1967 "borders." The rule made an exception for entities and activities designed to benefit protected persons living in those territories – i.e., the Palestinians.

Catherine Ashton
The new EU guidelines appear to be the handiwork of
Catherine Ashton, the EU's High Representative for
Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.
Credit: Wiki Commons

Here is one of the flaws in the EU argument:
The problem is that it is not an argument that the EU follows with respect to any country other than Israel. Bell and Kontorovich point out that there are approximately 200 cases at present around the world involving territorial disputes in which countries are exercising control over territory in which they have no internationally recognized sovereignty. Yet in not one of those cases has the EU imposed any restrictions on businesses active in the disputed territories, or established special rules for grant recipients located in those areas.

In 1974, Turkey invaded Cyprus, and installed a Turkish Cypriot government in the northern part of the island. Tens of thousands of Greek Cypriots fled their homes in the area under Turkish control. Those homes were subsequently occupied by ethnic Turks, many imported by the Turkish government from Turkey itself.

Turkey's invasion and subsequent occupation were condemned by the UN Security Council and the EU. Besides Turkey, no country in the world recognizes the government of Northern Cyprus.

Yet that has not kept the EU from establishing an office in Northern Cyprus specifically for the purpose of overseeing approximately 1,000 grants, totalling 28 million euros annually, to Turkish Cypriot NGOs, rural communities, farmers, schools and students. Among the sponsored infrastructure projects are telecom upgrades, waste disposal, and upgrading cultural sites. As Eugene Kontorovich put it in a Jerusalem Post oped entitled, "How the EU directly funds settlements in the occupied territory," the parallel in the Israeli context would have been the EU sponsoring infrastructure projects in Judea and Samaria in conjunction with the Shomron Regional Council.

Recently, the EU entered into an agreement with Morocco to develop the latter's fisheries, including in the waters of Western Sahara, an area under Moroccan occupation, but over which the EU does not recognize Moroccan sovereignty. The UN Security Council's Legal Advisor determined in 2002 that foreign businesses did not violate international law by entering into contracts with the Moroccan government for the development of the Western Sahara, even over the objections of "protected people" in the area, who lack Moroccan citizenship.
Read the entire report.

As Rosenblum puts it, "Clearly the EU's claim that international law requires it to ensure that no EU funding goes to entities or activities operating in areas where Israel is not the internationally recognized sovereign is bunkum. The EU's own practice in Northern Turkey and the Western Sahara makes that clear."

Ironically, as Rosenblum notes, the hypocrisy of the EU raises a side question -- as the EU Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia itself offers one of the definitions of Antisemitism as being "applying double standards by requiring of it [Israel] a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation."

Thus far, the Kohelet Policy Forum study has largely been suppressed by the European media. But that could change if some countries try to take advantage of the door that the EU has unintentionally opened:
Moreover, the Guidelines enunciated against Israel and the legal rationale offered for them open up the EU to suits in the European High Court of Justice by Greek Cypriots evicted from their homes in Northern Cyprus or protected people in the Western Sahara. Those suits would place EU foreign policymakers in an uncomfortable position. So would suits against Turkey for its de facto occupation of Northern Cyprus in the International Criminal Court.
It would be interesting to see the EU have to live up to the artificial standard of international it has established once it is applied equally and equitably.

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