Weirdly, disgraced British former MP Denis MacShane’s byline found its way into the pages of Jerusalem Post. The June 19th article badgering Israel to recognize Kosovo was probably among the “number of commentators [urging] Israel to recognize the independence of Kosovo,” which J-Post columnist Michael Freund was referring to in his June 24th counter-opinion.

It might have been relevant for the newspaper to mention somewhere, either in a disclaimer or in MacShane’s bio, that he has defended Hashim Thaci’s honor (!) in publications like The Wall St. Journal, and has been so typically and reliably pro-Albanian over the years that if, unlike virtually all the dignitaries in Albanians’ pockets, he hasn’t been taking money, he certainly should have been. Of course, we already know MacShane is corrupt, ultimately resigning from the Labor Party after an expenses scandal in which the inquiry found “his conduct was the ‘gravest case’ of wrongdoing ever to have been investigated.” (The Telegraph) A two-minute Google search would have revealed MacShane as a passionate defender of the notorious gangster-prime minister Thaci, and a disgraced former MP, both things being somewhat important to the context of the article and making MacShane’s “opinion” on the matter somewhat corrupted. Instead, the J-Post bio reads, simply, “The writer is a former UK foreign minister and author of Globalising hatred: the New Antisemitism (2008) and Why Kosovo Still Matters (2011).”

An abridged version appears below; note the expected mention of the monument to Jews, which I just finished making fun of:

The Kosovo case: Punishing friends, rewarding enemies (Jerusalem Post, June 19, By Denis MacShane)

The monument is of the most perfect simplicity. A plain, upright marble slab.

In Albanian, Serbian, Hebrew and English it records the site as the ground where the last synagogue in Pristina stood…

Yugoslavia’s pre-1939 Jews suffered not just from the arrival of the Nazis in 1941 but from the openly anti-Semitic Ustashe Croats. In Serbia, the local Gestapo boss in Belgrade reported to Berlin in August” 1942: “Serbien ist judenfrei” – the first of the conquered lands in the Nazi imperium to rid itself of Jews. [Indicating just how much Germany was in control of Serbia after Serbian blood flowed to have it not so.]

The one temporary haven was in Kosovo, which had been occupied by Italy under a deal between Hitler and Mussolini. Kosovan- Albanians continued the Ottoman tradition of shelter, including for Jews.

Again, notice that instead of doing the usual — naming Albania as the shelter for Jews and Albanian Albanians as saviors, MacShane diverts right to Kosovo, which previously had been too problematic to bring up. But Kosovo is what Greater Albania and its human purchases such as MacShane are after at the moment, and so we’re suddenly being told about “Kosovan Albanians.”

…As the Germans moved south through the Balkans into Greece…Jews living in Kosovo also perished.

…In an impressive ceremony in Pristina. Kosovo’s prime minister, Hashim Thaci, spoke of the need to learn from the Jewish emphasis on reconciliation. A senior Israeli diplomat, Ambassador Yossef Levy laid a wreath along with Kosovo’s president.

Now there are plans to build a museum to the history of Kosovo Jewry and the Anglo- Israeli architect, Ron Arad, has been commissioned to draw up plans.

All the major democracies in Europe and North America have recognized Kosovo. The most recent to recognize Kosovo include Tanziania [sic] and Yemen…But the most curious and illogical recognition refusenik is Israel.

Most illogical! Why wouldn’t Israel just follow the lead of countries like Yemen?! Surely Yemen’s Islamists have a good reason to recognize Kosovo! Meanwhile, a refusenik is someone who is refused something, not someone doing the refusing, so even MacShane’s attempt at a pun exploiting Jewish history fails.

In a startling reversal of normal diplomacy, Israel’s approach to Kosovo is to punish its friends and reward its enemies. Despite Ambassador Levy’s warmly received presence, Israel stands with many of its own enemies in not recognizing Kosovo.

As it would if it were to recognize Kosovo, but let’s just gloss over that.

For years, Western diplomats have urged Arab countries to establish normal diplomatic relations with Israel. Even at the height of Franco-German enmity, when Germany occupied and annexed the Alsace-Lorraine region of eastern France, Berlin and Paris maintained diplomatic ties. So why does Israel irritate its friends by refusing to recognize Kosovo?

What bizarre point is he making here? Has MacShane had a little too much of the UK’s Albanian-imported heroin? Is he comparing Kosovo and Israel to WWII Germany and France? Is he acknowledging that a diplomatic relationship with Kosovo would be, gee, no more complicated or futile than Israel dealing with its Arab enemies?

The formal reason is that to recognize Kosovo might encourage the recognition of the Palestinian state. Yet the very countries in the forefront of pushing for diplomatic recognition of Palestine – Brazil or South Africa for example – are those that refuse to recognize Kosovo.

Because a policy’s merits can be judged strictly by who’s on what side of it, right? Hey, neither Russia nor China rings my bell exactly, but they happen to be right on Kosovo. Similar point: What did a flag-waving conservative like me have in common with the anti-American and consistently anti-war likes of Democracy Now!, Ramsey Clark, or the World Socialist Web Site? Nothing until 1999. Because even a broken clock is right twice a day.

…[Kosovo] needs to play a full part in international bodies from the World Bank to the Council of Europe. [So it can make sure that nothing like the Council of Europe’s exposee of Kosovo’s leaders ever happens again?]…The Serb-Russian bitterness over Kosovo’s independence is counter-productive diplomacy. One can understand why anti-Western governments endorse it but Israel’s nonrecognition of Kosovo makes no sense. Kosovo is a natural friend of Israel and Israeli diplomacy should recognize the fact.

So, on June 19th MacShane wrote that Israel is punishing its FRIENDS the Albanians. On June 20th came this:

Rally of support for Turkish PM in Albania (World Bulletin and Turkish Weekly, June 20)


The rally “We are with you, Erdogan” was organized by the New Albania Movement Party in the capital of Tirana.

The New Albania Movement Party (NAMP) has organized a rally on Wednesday in the capital of Albania, Tirana, in support of Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan.

The rally was named “We are with you, Erdogan.”

The leader of NAMP Edmond Vlashaj made a speech at the rally on “martyrs boulevard”, to which Albanians and Turks living in Albania responded with the slogan “We are with you, Erdogan.”

“The friends of Turkey both in Albania and in other Balkan countries have attended the rally,” said Vlashaj.

Vlashaj also stressed that their target was to do service to justice and development, adding, “Nobody can prevent us on the way to justice and development…”

“Our leader and also teacher is Erdogan on the way to justice and development, so Albanians are with leader Erdogan,” said Vlashaj.

Sounds like Albanians have something in common with Palestinians and Bosniaks, who see Erdogan as their leader.