How Denmark is handling Gillon
By Rasmus Sonderriis
Reporting From Denmark
When Carmi Gillon, a former Israeli intelligence chief was appointed by his
close friend and foreign minister, Mr. Peres, as ambassador to Denmark,
his officially-stated background as a torturer - and his continuing
defence of that policy - provoked immediate protests to the Danish foreign
ministry: "refuse this posting or arrest him upon arrival in compliance
with the UN Convention against Torture," demanded the Israeli human rights
group B'Tselem, the Danish Centre for Rehabilitation of Torture Victims and
some Danish politicians, using the Pinochet case as a precedent for denying
him diplomatic immunity.
After much speculation in the Danish press whether our queen could shake
hands with a known torturer, the Danish foreign minister, Mr. Mogens
Lykketoft finally spoke. He condemned torture, but then stressed that
Gillon was Israel's supreme choice and said:
"He (Gillon) is an extremely authentic and genuine representative of the
country and the foreign minister (Mr. Peres) who are sending him"
Mr. Lykketoft then clarified that any criticism of Gillon is besides the
point, as this is not just a personal issue, but one between states.
Israeli policies should be the target of criticism. In this way, he was
echoing - like a boomerang - Sharon's anger that "any attack against Gillon
is an attack against Israel." Mr. Lykketoft went on to point specific blame
against the two Nobel Peace Prize winners Rabin and Peres, who clearly
accepted, even authorised Gillon's torture. He asked if anyone really
imagined Denmark could arrest Peres (answering: no, of course not, -
leaving others to think: though strictly speaking, we ought to). Finally,
he criticised the settlements, the occupation, the killings etc.
The Middle East policy of the social democratic Mr. Lykketoft has recently
been criticised by the Danish right for being "too pro-Palestinian". Jews
were nearly all saved by the native Danes during the holocaust, and Israel
has traditionally been a very close ally. Meanwhile, the left has claimed
that his ministry's rubber-stamping of Gillon's appointment is "besmirching
Denmark's reputation as a nation in the forefront of the combat against
Manoeuvring between these attacks, Mr. Lykketoft's hidden point is this:
the longer Gillon stays in Denmark, the greater the political opportunities
to focus on Israeli disregard for international law. This is why
the foreign minister is essentially saying to all this press furore over
Gillon: "If he really wants to, just let him come!"