Baroness Ashton Is Not Coming To The Party

by Martin Peretz | August 29, 2010

Maybe it's an admission of her utter irrelevance as kind-of foreign minister of the European Union, maybe she just wants her own show.

But Baroness Ashton is not coming to Hillary Clinton's Middle East confab, no she is not. I wrote about her two or three times a while back, and not admiringly. And her performance since then, even in the eyes of official Europe sitting in Brussels, has not brought her many but also not any fans. She is one of those international bureaucrats whose life is travel, travel, travel.

And pronounce, pronounce, pronounce. Last week, she pronounced on the conviction of one Abdallah Abu Rahma in an Israeli military court for inciting protestors to attack Israeli soldiers at the contentious security fence at Bi'lin. Demonstrations against the fence have been a weekly event there for more than a year. And, believe me, soldiers have been attacked and hurt.

Ashton was "concerned" and "deeply concerned" by the conviction.

I myself don't know whether Abu Rahma is guilty or innocent. But, neither, for God's sake, does she.

For the record: the European Union itself, presumably embarrassed by the socialist baroness, downgraded her intrusion in the judicial system of a democratic state. This whole controversy is not a big thing in the context of what's going on. But the E.U. seemed quite embarrassed by the idea that her interjection would be seen as its own.

The Union's website, according to an article in Friday's Jerusalem Post, has now been downgraded to a "Statement by the Spokesperson of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy." So, it seems, it's not even a statement from the lady herself.

In the same paper, but on Sunday, there is a report that Archbishop emeritus Desmond Tutu has also demanded the release of Abu Rahma. Is this the making of another heroic victim?

Source URL: http://www.newrepublic.com//blog/the-spine/77297/baroness-ashton-not-coming-the-party