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Home > English > Alternatives International Journal > 2014 > November 2014 > Unilateralism and Chutzpah

Unilateralism and Chutzpah

Sunday 2 November 2014, by Michel Warschawski

The word ’chutzpah’ cannot be translated into English. As an essential part of human behaviour, however, it has entered the daily language of many East Coast Americans or, more precisely, in its Yiddish pronunciation: ’chutzpeh’. Chutzpah is exaggerated self confidence, often with a lack of consideration for the other.

Chutzpah is an essential component of the Israeli psyche, and Israeli chutzpah has no limits. Take, for example, Benjamin Netanyahu. Last week he had the chutzpah to demand an invitation to theinternational conference for the reconstruction of Gaza, held in Cairo. After having launched a murderous attack against the civilian population of Gaza, killing more than 2000 people and destroying thousands of homes, the Israeli prime minister now wants to be part of the international reconstruction team… in order to control its work and to impose Israeli vetos. "Have you killed and also taken possession?" asks the Prophet Elijah in the First Book of Kings…

This is, however, small chutzpah. Much bigger is Netanyahu’s accusation of “unilateralism” against Palestinain President Mahmoud Abbas. Abbas recently announced that if peace negotiations are not resumed soon, he will announce in 2016 the establishment of the State of Palestine in the West Bank and Gaza, and request its international recognition. A unilateral step, without asking Netanyahu’s permission!

As everyone knows, in the past four decades all Israeli steps have been taken after consultation with the Palestinians and with their authorisation… Hundreds of settlements, land confiscations, home demolitions, mass arrests and several bloody military aggressions – all these misdeeds were implemented in a bi-lateral mode!

Indeed, there is no limit to the Israeli leader’s chutzpah...

Unilateralism was also an Israeli argument in its international diplomacy, requiring that no state would take an initiative without Israeli consent. It seems that the Israeli capacity to blackmail the international community is over: Sweden just recognized the Palestinian state and the British Labor Party voted for its recognition. Without asking Israeli authorization. Unilaterally. What chutzpah!

Michel Warschawski (Mikado) is an Israeli anti-Zionist activist. He led the Marxist Revolutionary Communist League until its demise in the 1990s, and co-founded the Alternative Information Center.