Sunday, July 30, 2006

Mark Regev: A Star in the Making

The man pictured is Mark Regev. He is the Israeli Foreign Affairs Ministry Spokesman, and if his 15 minute interview on this morning's Julian Worricker show on Radio 5 Live is anything to go by, he is a star in the making. Anyone who heard him would have been impressed, regardless of where they stand on the current dispute. Calm, honest and assured he answered every question put to him with a dignity and honesty unusual in Government spin doctors. I wouldn't be surprised to see him have a great future in Israeli politics. More on him HERE.

I didn't get much of a look-in on the programme, but to be honest, with what was going on in Beirut this morning I didn't expect to. However, I did get to put a question to former Clinton policy adviser Nancy Soderberg. She was heaping scorn on George Bush's foreign policy and asserting that he had not idea what diplomacy meant. She then said that Bush and the Israelis were at fault for not doing anything about Hezbollah much earlier, when they knew that they were digging in in Southern Lebanon. I asked her what she thought the reaction would have been if the Israelis had bombed Hezbollah positions a couple of years ago with no provokation at all. I said the Israelis had shown great restraint over the last few years but in the end their patience had snapped. I told her I thought it was a cheek for a Clinton advisor to criticise Bush for doing nothing about Hezbollah when if Clinton had acted more strongly against the Al Qaeda threat he could have possibly stubbed it out before it became so dangerous. She refuted that entirely and said that Clinton had tried to have bin Laden killed.

The decision by the Lebanese PM not to meet Condi Rice is probably a significant development. There's no doubt that it is a blow to US diplomatic efforts. But to those looking for a European initiative I would say to them that it is highly improbable. The positions of the British and French governments are totally unreconcilable. But while the British Foreign Secretary suns herself in her Derbyshire garden the Italian Foreign Minister is at least trying to do something. The Israelis will not agree to a ceasefire which would allow Hezbollah to rearm themselves with fresh supplies delivered through Syria via Iran. But there is a school of thought which thinks the Israelis should call Hezbollah's bluff and announce a 24 hour ceasfire to allow humanitarian aid through. They believe that Hezbollah would be very unlikely to respect such a ceasefire and if they didn't they would hand the moral high ground to Israel. I'm not sure what any of that would achieve, but I suppose it's possible. I cannot see what other conditions there might be for a ceasefire, but there's no doubt that this morning's attach which killed 37 children and 57 in all was a terrible error and must not be repeated. Israel can rightly say that it told civilians to leave Qana, and that Hezbollah were undoubtedly using the town as a launchpads for their rockets, but the scenes of devastation and carnage which have been shown all round the world following the attack are very damaging to the Israeli cause. We have a 24 hour news media which will devour such pictures with relish. Even the silky words of Mark Regev will not be enough to explain this sort of carnage.

The final part of the programme was a review to today's newspaper backpages. Julian Worricker asked me what my advice would be to Wayne Rooney when he meets Cristiano Ronaldo tomorrow in training for the first time since the World Cup. I said I would urge him to follow Alan Shearer's advice and 'deck him'. My Labour counterpart on the programme, Lorraine Davidson, went one further and urged him to 'nut him'. Such irresponsibility on national radio...!

73 comments:

Andrew Woodman said...

tut tut tut, advocating such thuggery!!

Ronaldo does deserve a good kicking though. This season will be hell for him. Reap what you sow and all that.

Neil Craig said...

If Clinton tried to assassinate bin Laden he didn't try very hard. Bin Laden has been identified as bing in Bosnia (specificly in the Predident's office) at a time when the US was flying in Mujahadden & guns (in flagrant breach of mandatory UN sanctions) to help our genocidal friends. Since the place was also crawling with CIA they could have offed him easily.

Tim Montgomerie said...

I agree wholeheartedly Iain - I thought he was the best spokesman for Israel I have heard.

Sir Bentley Pauncefoot said...

"The positions of the British and French governments are totally unreconcilable."

Not least, one imagines, because the Elysee isn't in political hock to its Special Envoy to the Middle East.

The price of Peerages has risen. (Official)

CityBlue said...

While Hezbollah are using the Lebanese population as human shields and while there is such anti-Israel bias in the world's media with the BBC (Al-Beeb) in pole position the Israelis are in a no-win situation. That being the case they have nothing to lose by going for Hezbollah's throat - There will be collateral damage, but its either that or the Islamofacists get a step further to establishing their Caliphate.

The Indie, the BBC an the guardian don't get it but Southern Lebanon is the Front Line in a clash of civilizations and the Israelis are on OUR side.

Go on Israel. Destroy Hezbollah and do us all a favour. The Islamic world blames its characteristics of violence, poverty on everybody but itself. It is time to realise that Islam and not Israel is the region's problem. The destruction of Hezbollah's poisonous mix of superstition and oppression will make the world a much better place.

Anonymous said...

"...but there's no doubt that this morning's attach which killed 37 children and 57 in all was a terrible error and must not be repeated."
Does error = abomination?

Jock Coats said...

It's so easy isn't it, to say "collateral damage".

From here.

There's nothing in my opinion that could give any state a high enough moral ground to be doing what they are doing. 40,000 pieces of artillery munitions that has managed to take out a UN post and "accidentally" civillian areas is gutter warfare.

I'm changing my mind. Falluja, for all that it was horrifying at the time, was more of a "surgical strike" than Israel seems capable of right now. At least there were masses of people on the ground able to call in air strikes when they could see, eyeball to eyeball that civilians were out of the way, or those that wanted to be out of the way had been helped out of there.

The "rules of war" were designed specifically to stop what is currently going on. As a sovereign state and party to many treaties, Israel has a higher moral obligation than do the criminal Hizbollahs to see that these are observed, and where their opponents don't care or try, they need to care and try for them.

It's simply not enough to drop a few leaflets and then shell somewhere from afar.

phone cam foolery said...

AHHH ISRAEL
Talking of peerages I note that Sir David Garrad multimillionaire thatcherite openly stated that he donated money to nulabour soley due to to the fact that we invaded Iraq, have a look at the background of some of the other untytpical labour donors and have a good think.
Im not jew bashing, but will happily israel bash(its not the same thing)

CityBlue said...

Jock Coats

Read Stehen Pollard and Melanie Phillips - The UN post was being used by Hezbollah, UN personnel are as good human shields as any. Israel's response may seem disproportionate but they are fighting a war of national survival in comparison to our war on an abstract noun. Note also Beirut is not being razed to the ground as Al Beeb would have you believe - The areas being targeted are discrete parts of the North of the City by the airport and in the South West. Hezbollah have a very sohisticated media operation and the sheep of Al Beeb and CNN will take anything as long as its a stick to beat Bush and Israel.

Anonymous said...

'deck him'? You're just a sweet hoodie at heart, Ian. I'm sure the A-list awaits some day.

The US tried to kill Castro too. And Gaddafi. Would we approve if the boot was on the other foot? Of course not! Global assassination is apparently the foreign policy tool of choice only when you think you're always innocent and in the right. The other side(s) of course never think that sort of thing.

Now remind me who's killed the most innocent civilians in recent years, Bush or Ahdmedjadi? remember that 'munition factory' bombing in Sudan. How many asparin-manufacturers were torched that day?

strapworld said...

Iain,

If Ronaldo was English you would be praising him to the hilt. You are being stupid. All English players have also 'cheated' have also tried to get an opposition player sent off or booked. So please none of this ridiculous moral highground stuff that English only play in the true corinthian spirit. I could name quite a few West ham players who deserved Oscars for their performances in diving , so lay off the lad.

That you advocated violence and the Labour politician also speaks volumes and denigrates yourself. You are nothing less than a West Ham Boot Boy. Frankly you should be ashamed of yourself. It is through supposedly educated people like yourself that violence took place on the terraces and we now have to sit, when true football fans prefer to stand.

I have always supported true football that is why I support Leyton Orient.

strapworld said...

city blue is spot on.

Just what have the UN been doing all these years? They would have witnessed everything and did absolutely nothing.
But I suppose some got very rich in the process!

I support Israel.

Iain Dale said...

Strapworld, have you lost your sense of humour today? Name the West Ham players then!

You rather undermine yourself by your startling admission that you support Orient!

Anonymous said...

I am always amused (cf: offgepissed) when I see the phrase 'clash of civilizations' being bandied around. What, pray, is the other one?
I well remember the leaflets distributed by the attackers (if 'terrorists' is too strong for you) before 9/11, 7/7, madrid etc.....as I'm sure you do too.
......and at least I understand that Israel is fighting our war for us. Believe me, a time will soon come when we have to join them; or suffer what could be irreversible consequences.

Anonymous said...

Oh yes, 'amused' anonymous, i am sure we will be joining in wars on the israeli side against the 'other' terrorists. Get real! I bet you wouldn't even defend a woman who had a drink spilt down her in a pub.

Chris Doidge said...

Clinton came a hell of a lot nearer to a Middle East peace deal than Bush has since, so I couldn't really argue with what his former policy advisor said.

Benedict White said...

Iain, It is hzboulah's official position that the rocket strikes are in retaliation ofr the arial bombardment, so if Israel stopped in theory so would they. It would be right to say that if hezboulah did not then Israel would be on firmer ground.

On the clash of civilisations front, this seems like wing nuterry to me. The Shia used to be the silent oppressed in the Lebanon, and indeed still are in many parts of the Arab world. Iran is a primarily Shia country which got rid of its last oppresive and imposed leader in favour of its current lot. At the time the Ayatolah was popular. What the Shia seemed to have learnt is that only through radical Islam can they get "justice". It would help if we tried harder to shore up moderate Shi'ism and indeed tried to persuede some of the Sunni leader ship of the Arab world that oppressing the Shia is not in any bodies interests as it plays into the hands of the loons that are in and around Tehran.

It would also have been very helpful if the US and UK understood what effect a sucesssful operation in Iraq would have on Shia Islam (Moving its center from tehran to Najaf and Karbala, and to much more moderate leadership) and then thought a bit more about what the loons would do about it, and have the resource to deal with it. Oh, and making half a million armed men (mostly Sunni) unemployed in Iraq was not a good idea either.

If people think that you can beat radicalism out of people I think you may have a hard time doing so. I don't think we want to "beat" Islam, but we do need to make the loons irrelevent. Them and the end timers in the US.

On the star is rising bit, Benjamin Netanyahu (Sorry about the spelling) was good in the same role in the first gulf war.

Croydonian said...

Minor technical, if I believe, important point: The IDF has rendered the main Syrian / Lebanese road impassible, so Iran would find it harder to arm Hizbollah than before. Perhaps a 24 hour pause could be observed without the Israelis being any more threatened after it than before.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous @5:43

Neither I nor the women I know would go to a pub where drink is thrown around aggressively but I'm sure you have enough experience for both of us.
....and, my!....those blinkers do suit you.

Anonymous said...

Good point Sir Bentley(!) Blair has to keep on the right side of Levy while the police conduct their inquiries.

Given Levy's devotion to Israel, I imagine Blair's poodle antics are pretty much forced. Upset Levy and well ...

permanent expat said...

I prefer to come out with a name rather than remain anonymous

beethoven writes said...

I've never left a comment on any of your previous posts on Israel/Lebanon as my expertise in this area is not great.

However, you don't need to be an expert on the Middle East to realise that Israel's continuing offensive in South Lebanon is not only totally disproportionate but in my view an act of mass murder. The fact that these attacks are being carried out by a State "in defence of its citizens" is no excuse. The apologies that Israel is issuing for killing UN observers and civilians are a sick joke.

Tempting as it might have been to lob bombs on Dublin when IRA activity in London was at its peak in London in the 80's and 90's, we never did it. Is Israel's position that different? Maybe a little bit but not hugely.

If Blair had any guts, and we know he doesn't, he would condemn the Israeli offensive completely.

I, for one, condemn it.

permanent expat said...

Injured cyclist:

The IRA was outlawed in the Irish Republic.
'Proportionality' appears to be a new word for some who probably read it in their Gruniads & then checked the dictionary.
Hizbollah use village & urban complexes & Untied Nations outposts fom which to launch their attacks. (You have to hand it to them for excellent psychological planning). Despite forewarning from the IDF to get the hell out, stubboners choose to remain, to the absolute delight of the terrorists who know that there is then no alternative to collateral damage which, cleverly propagandized with the callow help of the likes of the BBC & Robert Fisk, is lapped up by the unthinking chatterati.

CityBlue said...

Injured Cyclist

The IRA never threatened to wipe the UK of the map. That is exactly what the Hezbollah's main sponsor, Iran, has said. There is no comparison between the IRA's attacks in London and Birmingham and the 1500 missiles that Hezboillah have fired at Israel. Israel's response is certainly robust but if Hezbollah insist on using the Lebanese populatrion as human shields, then tragically and inevitably civilians will be killed. The responsibility is Hezbollah's and the blood of both Lebanese and Israeli casualties in the current conflict is on the hands of Nasrullah, Ahmedinajad and Assad.

Sabretache said...

"...there's no doubt that this morning's attack which killed 37 children and 57 in all was a terrible error and must not be repeated"

Laudible sentiments but utterly banal. When I read things like that, plus much of the rest of what passes for supposedly intelligent comment on what is going on in Lebanon and the wider Middle East right now, I frankly despair for the future.

As someone has already said, Israel is fighing for National survival. In war, things like that happen - and will continue to happen so long as that war continues. But the whole Middle-Eastern mess is far bigger than even Israel's National survival. At stake is the US's - and by extension the whole Western Alliance's (including those tetchy Europeans) strategic purpose in being anywhere near the Middle East at all - access to and a measure of control over what remains of the planets oil endowment in a nutshell.

In my judgement, Syria and Iran are close to calling what they see as the bluff of that purpose. If they do, they will be joined in short order by the Arab States we now number as 'allies' (The Saudi Royal family have already made public their intention to review their long-standing offer to recognise Israel's 'right to exist' if it returns to pre-1967 borders). Anyone who pays attention to Al Jazeera and other Arab news sources knows that Hizbollah have practically the entire Muslim world rooting for them and that semantics about their 'terrorist' status are just that - SEMANTICS. The whole region is a powder keg in other words. We are approaching 'the big one' with the US intent on - in the words of Condi Rice "remaking the entire Middle East"

If we come through this without closure of the Persian Gulf (with all that means for the West's vast dependance on the oil that passes through it) and the US/West seeing that as a green light to 'do what the US has gotta do' to be rid of those pesky ayatollahs once and for all, involving nuclear weapons use, I will eat my hat. That's how serious it is.

Who 'started it' is utterly beside the point. It might easily have been engineered by either side because there are far bigger issues at stake than the existence of Hizbollah in Lebanon - and even the continued existence of Israel.

Benedict White said...

Can I just point out on the civilians not leaving the area when ordered to do so, that many people in New Orleans were not able to leave through poverty.

Can I also point out that my family only left Beirut in 1976 when the security was there to do so. It would have been noce to have left sooner, but was too dangerous.

On the evidence against Hezboulah shown on TV so far, I have seen one rocket launcher operating, and then a seperate vidio of a large vehicle which may have been the same but also may have been a small bus also seen afterwards approaching a building. We do not see teh full connection between those two events and the hit on the building we are talking about. I look forward to seeing what other material there is.

What does surprise me is taht the rockect launcher appears not to have been hit straight away.

I also note Blair looking visibly shaken, and moreover almost calling for an immeadiate ceasfire.

Anonymous said...

Let's hope Sabretache is wrong because Blair, Cameron and even Campbell do not seem to be wanting to do that much about it.

On the brighter side, I used to think our immigration service was c**p but if permanent expat is to be believed about his status then someone must be doing something right. Shame they haven't taken Cityblue with him!

Tone made me do it - he's a bad influence said...

I don't understand how you (and many other blogs and fast-food web sites) can support vocally Israel's all-out war on Islamo-fascism, whilst seemingly ignoring continued large scale Islamic immigration into the UK.

How can you support Israel getting tough in a violent manner, whilst all the UK needs to do is get tough in a bureaucratic manner- eg by re-introducing the primary purpose qualification on marriages.

If you want to support Israel in the future you surely must recognise that many Western nations are sleep walking into Sharia Law by:
1.demographics
and
2.by a gangster-style unspoken threat of the consequences to the non-Muslim population of western countries of not yielding to islamo-fascism, domestically and in their Foreign policy.

This is where the Conservative party is starting to loose me: many MP's and spokesmen, such as you Iain, are prepared to stick your neck out over support for Israel, without doing so over continued large scale immigration.

If you don't start to speak out about large-scale Islamic immigration now will you feel safe supporting Israel vocally in the future? It just seems like wooly short-term thinking on your part; many Tory MP's stopped supporting the Unionists publicly, after Airey Neave and Ian Gow were murdered.

Anonymous said...

Aaargh!!! it's UKIP - they've stopped kipping. Is the moon out tonight?

Tone made me do it - he's a bad influence said...

Well if they are kipping at least they're not sleep-walking to,...to....
(I have never voted for UKIP, I said that the Conservative party looses me on this issue.)

Yak40 said...

As suggested, maybe civilians haven't evacuated due to lack of funds - al-Beeb has reported enormous fares being demanded.

Permanant Expat (me too) says stubboners choose to remain, I suggest that it's not impossible that Hezbollah themselves force some to stay as bodies in the rubble help the media war.

Iain Dale said...

tone at 8.08, You said: "This is where the Conservative party is starting to loose me: many MP's and spokesmen, such as you Iain, are prepared to stick your neck out over support for Israel, without doing so over continued large scale immigration."

Where have you been? We could not have been more explicit both during the last election campaign about immigration and since. But the fact of the matter is, look where it got us.

Just for the record, I oppose all forms of illegal immigration - whether the perpetrators are Islamic or anything else.

Verity said...

It is the cowardly socialists who have forced the world to this juncture.

Islam should have been contained 30 years ago. And there is no "clash of civilisations". There is one civilisation that has allowed a primitive, superstitious, violent and territorially aggressive cult/religion to worm its way in to the West.

(Not all Islamics are primitive. The Jordanians are civilised and on the right side.)

steve69 said...

theinjuredcyclist said:

"However, you don't need to be an expert on the Middle East to realise that Israel's continuing offensive in South Lebanon is not only totally disproportionate but in my view an act of mass murder.

There is a disturbing tendency for people to proclaim highly opinionated and usually extreme views on the basis of little (or no) knowledge, and no relevant expertise. It is particularly apparent over the islamic/Israel war. Those who criticise freely invariably offer no analysis, no remotely feasible alternative and no understanding of the, often, appaling likely consequences of their uninformed prescription.

I think 'bigot' is the most appropriate word here.

The 'mass murderers' in this case have, as I read it, acted in accordance with Protocol 1 of the Geneva Convention.

(http://www.genevaconventions.org/)

Hizbollah, by indiscriminantly targetting centres of civilan population, have not.

Perhaps theinjuredcyclist could explain to me why the Geneva Convention, or my interpretation of it, is wrong, and what feasible alternative the injured party (Israel) has but attempting to eliminate the source of the crimes.

Otherwise, if the cap fits ...

permanent expat said...

anonymous at 8:07

Your second para. reads like gobbledygook. Since when has Immigration had anything to do with emigration...or maybe you know little about prefixes.
Those many folk who have left The Septic Isle in disgust are, paradoxically, among the most concerned about its wellbeing, & therefore the most critical. We are appalled at the 'rights' brigade who can't even spell the word 'responsibility' let alone understand what it means. Yes, sometimes we tend to go a tad over the top. When you are witnessing the land of your birth, run by welfare Yahoos, on the road to self-immolation, there is a tendency to get a little upset.

David said...

I'm shaking my head at the likes of jock coates....

1. The IDF DOES have people on the ground using laser etc to pinpint targets as well as UAV eye in the sky etc. The Un is backing off fast ont he UN post being a deliberate attack as it becomes more and more apparent that Hezbollah posts have been sharing water and telephones with some of the UN posts for years. UNIFIL and the UN have failed their men and failed to even part complete their mission by only doing one part - making sure Israel elft and then standing idly by whilst Iran helped Hezbollah build their infrastructure in the South.

2. There were many rocket attacks BEFORE the latest incident where Hezbolloah invaded a sovereign state and killed 8 soldiers and kidnapped two others. If I'd taken my patrol across the border from Crossmaglen to attack the Irish Army or in hot pursuit of the IRA would you have told the Irish to stand by and do nothing?

3. How can you even think to hold Israel to a high moral ground and ignore the fact that Hezbollah will NOT even consider trying to fight with the rules of law? Human Rights Watch have released a report stating that Hezbolloah have been guilty of numerous war crimes yet the BBC seem to say it is the Israelis all the time! Even the UK doesn't tell people first before shelling them! If anything the Israelis are fighting with one hand behind their backs as they try to minimise casaulties!

4. I note you say the IDF have 40,000 pieces of artillery munitions;are you referring to shells or artillery pieces ie cannons or self propelled guns?

I also note that the protestors and media whinging about the resupplies to Israel via Prestwick etc are not saying a thing about the attempted resupplies to Hezbollah by Iran and Syria.....more moral bankruptcy from those who scream free Iraq yet forget it was "a charnel house above ground and a mass grave below"

Tone made me do it - he's a bad influence said...

...but do you think support for Israel is a vote winner?

Also I think the popular view on Immagration, both legal and illegal shifted after the election, just as the Conservatives seemed to shift the other way.

Iain Dale said...

Tone, I don't care if supporting Israel is vote winning or not. It's right. Sometimes you just have to support what you think is right even if it is not popular.

As for your further point about immigration, the same guy is in charge of the policy as was before. His name is David Davis. Do you really think he has gone all floppy on the issue? I think not.

Emma F shares the wealth said...

True about David Davies Iain, he comes out well recently on most things and (perhaps you agree!) would have been a better leader than Cameron right now, despite the apparent charisma of the latter.

InjuredCyclist, you appear to be confused about the context of the Israeli situation viz-a-vis Ireland; the Irish never harboured a group within their borders who fired missiles across the water into Cardiff or Holyhead, which would be the analogy. If that had happened, as other commentators have noted on Iain's excellent blog, the British would have sent in the tanks make no mistake. What we actually had in Northern Ireland was a classic "low-intensity" struggle that hurt a lot more people there, which successive British governments to give them credit did try to tackle in intelligent ways once they'd gotten over early mistakes.

The Israelis make mistakes too, some of them very grevious and stupid and hurtful, but they are not wicked. They are trying to live in a new land they carved out, sometimes through war. Now that has hurt a lot of Palestinian people, who also deserve land, peace and prosperity and we need to press Israel to allow that to happen. But that doesn't mean we need to back up the worst elements in Palestinian society who use terror - that way we play into the hands of something that has happened at the same time - the rise of a new fanatic extremism within a small segment of Islam. That is a severe threat to us, and to our way of life, and it is stupid to ignore it.

In that way, Israel is our front line, but we need to think about ways to not use the Jewish people in Israel who are frightened and defensive to further that goal of ours; I think on some future level we will need to engage in more dialogue with extreme elements in Islam, even though that is very difficult and they may not want to for a long time. In the meantime, if they use terror, we must respond firmly. And we have to get a grip on the lies and misinformation feeding such strands here within the UK, one of the key ones of which is that Israel is the devil. It isn't, but a heck of a lot of ordinary Muslims think it is.

Cinnamon said...

". I cannot see what other conditions there might be for a ceasefire, but there's no doubt that this morning's attach which killed 37 children and 57 in all was a terrible error and must not be repeated. Israel can rightly say that it told civilians to leave Qana, and that Hezbollah were undoubtedly using the town as a launchpads for their rockets, but the scenes of devastation and carnage which have been shown all round the world following the attack are very damaging to the Israeli cause."

Iain, Hezbollah has killed those people by their actions.

The Israelis are completly within their legal rights to attack military positions that use human shields.

As this is war, there is no choice for Israel but to accept that Hezbollah has sacrificed their own people as collateral damage for some great photo opportunities.

I totally understand your want that no-one is killed or hurt, but, your thinking here is the equivalent of wanting your cake and eating it, then expecting that you don't put any weight on as a consequence.

If you have a better idea that works, say so. But requiring the Israelis to suspend reality in order to fit people's moral dream of a humane and just war that only hits the guilty is not fair. :(

malcolm said...

Another disastrous day for Israels reputation.It takes quite some doing for an issue not of our national defence to unite most MPs from the Conservative,Liberal Democrat and Labour parties but I think that's what the inaction of the Bush-Blair axis of doing sod all has achieved.

Rick said...

Mark Regev is good, There was a time when Israel had some very poor Press Officers with Central European accents and poor English - the Russians sounded so polished in contrast with silky smooth operators.

It was a strange reversal which has now been corrected - it is just the Israeli Ambassador in London that cannot speak English

Yak40 said...

tone made me do it: I agree, large scale immigration into the British Isles is NOT a good idea just from sheer numbers alone. When you include the fact that many despise the way of life and have no wish to assimilate then there's a recipe for trouble especially when the major parties keep their heads in the sand.
Sweden appears to have surrendered already, their Democracy Minister has been quoted as saying "We must be open and tolerant towards Islam and Muslims because when we become a minority, they will be so towards us."

beethoven writes said...

Well there's nothing like a bit of controversy!

steve69: You can sleep comfortably at night knowing that Israel is murdering civilians en masse can you? To try to justify it under the Geneva Convention is ridiculous! You are blinkered to the Israeli cause. How many suicide bombers do you think Israel is now going to face in its cities after this slaughter? I'll let you chew on that one. Israel is becoming the master of its own destruction. The word bigot should be applied to yourself not me.

emma f: Your naivety is matched by your youth. You said "the Irish never harboured a group within their borders" They may not have harboured them but they certainly had a lot of sympathy from certain people in the South. The Irish constitution used to lay claim to Northern Ireland.

the injured cyclist (not a bigot as you describe steve"69")

Benedict White said...

Emma F shares the wealth, I have to share much of your analysis. The palestinians, Lebonease and indeed Israeli's are frequently nice people.

The issue is the only people who seem to get results are the loons. We seldom take any notice of a ligitimate greivence until it is taken up by a loon when frequently it is much harder to deal with.

The Israeli's frequently do things which are at best counter productive. For example in the early 1980's they helped Hamas, so they would be a counter weight to Fatah and the PLO. This now appears to me to be a mistake, though I could be wrong. I could go on.

What we need to do is be prepared to deal with issues faster when they are in the hands of the moderates.

We also have to finese the Iran nuclear issue carefuly, because we do not want to bolster support there for the loons. There is a counter revolution brewing just under the rader. What will scuper that is the threat of external force.

Incedently the Israeli's have just called a 48 hour cease fire, so we will see if Hezboulah's bluff is called.

I note the way the lebonease PM seems to be using his weakness as his streangth.

The Voice of Reason said...

Iain trying to make a case for the Israelis just makes you look silly.

Even a blind man in a dark room can see they have lost the TV war big time.

Peace is the new Black, get into it before you're a figure of derision .

Iain Dale said...

old cynic,

do i look bovvered?

Anonymous said...

Injured cyclist seems to be the bane of common sense on this blog. Is there any chance of having a lie down in a darkened room for a couple of hours before you post? Emma F makes a good solid point - namely that the IRA never lobbed missiles every day into Wales from Ireland - and you rubbish it with something both irrelevant and illogical. I think there may be a future for you as a lawyer. Oh, yes, I see from your profile that you are one. Surprise surprise.

billy said...

In my ideal world I would like to see the British and US armies fighting side by side with the Israelis against the Islamic terrorists, but do we have any full time soldiers left?
I know a postman who has done two tours of Iraq and one of Bosnia with the Terriers. It seems a sad state of affairs that our army is reduced to relying on part timers.

The Voice of Reason said...

If you're not bothered about looking silly or being an object of derision and you don't think peace is the best answer then you're part of the problem.

I think you should do your blog from down town Beirut, the world is full of macho men who never leave the comfort of their living rooms, armchair soldiers. Speaking as someone who's shit myself in a dugout and buried the bits and pieces of innocent people I hold you and your ilk in complete contempt.

Iain Dale said...

Old Cynic, the feeling is entirely mutual.
Nothing I have written on this is "silly" or subject to "derision" apart from in your mind. There are always two viewpoints in any argument. It's just a pity you choose to ignore one of them. At least I recognise there is another side to the debate, even if I choose to disagree with it.

Grow up.

And for your information, I have been to downtown Beirut when it was a pile of rubble in the early 1990s.

beethoven writes said...

anonymous 1059pm: Did I ever say that the IRA lobbed missiles into Wales everyday? Those are your words not mine. As for little lie downs in darkened rooms, perhaps you could do us all a favour and stay there!

Isn't it interesting how anonymous posters always come out with the most vitriolic abuse while named bloggers actually take a little more time to explain their arguments and avoid personal abuse?

The Voice of Reason said...

When the bombs were raining down or when it was safe for the media?

It's a pity they haven't perfected the smell of burning flesh through your TV so you too can smell it in your armchair.

Until you've experienced war, been driven half mad, twitched yourself to sleep, woke 20 minutes later in complete despair then please don't write about the rights and wrongs of it because you have no idea.

Iain Dale said...

Old Cynic, No, I have never experienced war, but that should not preclude me writing about it.

My interest in politics was sparked partly by the Falklands War - which i then edited a book about.

I am sure Ruth Rendell has never committed a murder, yet she writes about it.

The Voice of Reason said...

Ruth Rendall writes books for entertainment. No one dies during the writing.

A lot of innocent people died today, brothers, sister, mums and dads, all gone now. Dead.

Verity said...

I'm with Sabretache and Cinnamon every word of the way.

The Injured Cyclist says: "Isn't it interesting how anonymous posters always come out with the most vitriolic abuse while named bloggers actually take a little more time to explain their arguments and avoid personal abuse?"

And isn't it interesting how bloggers with handles retreat into anonymity when they're losing an argument?

Finally, Old Cynic says: "if you don't think peace is the best answer then you're part of the problem." Oh, duh! No one ever thought of that before! Peace,eh? Hmmmmmmm ... sounds like a good idea! OK, we all think that peace is an ace idea! Now what? Oh, wait a minute, Hezbullah is still using houses and neighbourhoods from which to launch its rockets! And Israel is still fighting for survival.

steve69 said...

the endured injuredcyclist

I didn't actually call you a bigot (your 11.24), although admittedly the evidence is mounting. And I did give you the opportunity to explain yourself, which you clearly failed to accept. So I can understand why you might feel defensive.


Your 11.46 post complains about someone putting words in your mouth. Well, you put "You can sleep comfortably at night knowing that Israel is murdering civilians en masse can you?" in mine. They are offensive, untrue and have no basis in anything I have written. Typical of the behaviour of someone who holds extreme views (mass murderers) without knowledge (failure to come up with anything constructive).

oop norf said...

If the innocent deaths don't convince you that this action is a bad idea then this should - Qana was bombed by Israel in an attempt to eradicate Hezbollah, killing many innocent civilians in the process.

Ten years ago.

It didn't help anyone then, and it won't help anyone now.

Neil Craig said...

Hezbollah launched rockets at Israeli civilians & used Arab children as human shields to deter counter battery fire.

Everybody knows that & it is obscene to blame the Israelis & reward Hezbollah.

Of course the whole war in Lebanon has cost only 1/10th of the deaths in Kosovo under our occupation but that doesn't get reported because Jews are responsible for Lebanon & we are responsible for Kosovo.

Anonymous said...

Neil Craig is practicing cranial self-proctology here. Why should we pick one set of rterrorists over another. Does he really believe that the only casualties in Lebanon would be those of the first few days of the present escalation level in his stupid 'comparison' with Kosovo.

Neil Craig said...

I take it you disagree Mous.

There is, unfortunately, some difficulty in reporting killings in Lebanon before they happen - we must therefore judge TV coverage by its proportionality to the events which have currently occured. I suspect there will be more coverage of Lebanon if more deaths happen there & almost none of Kosovo if the NATO police (fromerly our picked KLA terrorist friends) kill in NATO controlled territory.

I don't believe I actually did say we should pick one set of terrorists over another but in fact we should. The difference between bad & worse is a tougher one than that between good & bad & for that reason cannot morally be ducked. The attitude of "they are all evil & we are nice so lets bomb everybody & go home" while common, is not moral.

Anonymous said...

"The attitude of "they are all evil & we are nice so lets bomb everybody & go home" while common, is not moral."

Indeed not Neil, but it appears to be your position.

Most people who say 'there are only two sides to this at the moment and 'A' are worse so let's back 'B' are deliberate liars.

Neil Craig said...

Mous
For the 2nd time you should read my position before you tell me what it is.

Would you perchance be on record as, over the last 6 years, having criticised the genocide going on under our rule in Kosovo or alternately (the only alternative)would you be one of those you call deliberate liars who pick which killings to oppose to conform to your prejudices.

The Voice of Reason said...

Verity FYI the rockets being fired at Israel must be launched from open ground not buildings.

Even the Israeli army says that Hezbollah are hiding in tunnels not apartment blocks.

What Israel is doing is called Collective Punishment. That is a war crime. The names of all Israeli ministers and military officers are being collated and if they step foot in the EU warrents can be applied for.

Hague is too good for them.

Verity said...

Old Cynic - They are hiding out in neighbourhoods. To kill them, the Israelis sadly do collateral damage. If the Israelis want to destroy the terrorists, in which task we should be cheering them on, for God's sake, they inevitably will kill civilians as the cowardly terrorists hide amongst women and children. That is war.

That does not mean the Israelis should give up, saying, "Oh, I may kill an innocent woman or child if they target terrorists living in their midst." They are war. To root out terrorists whose next stop may be London or Amsterdam or Stockholm.

Don't you care that Israeli soldiers were kidnapped from Israeli soil? Don't you care that this is a war crime? Or as you might put it, a War Crime?

Do you really believe that Israel should not defend itself because terrorists have hidden themselves among women and children?

What you also fail to recognise is, Israel is fighting for the Western ideal and for democracy.

I'm not Jewish, but I am 100% pro Israel.

By the way, Mel Gibson makes me sick. Fortunately, I've never spent a dime going to see any of his movies or renting/buying his videos.

The Voice of Reason said...

verity you are ill.

Verity said...

Why is it, Old Cynic, that lefties never make an arguement? Only throw around epithets? "You're ill, because you have an opposing point of view!" "You're a racist!". You're a "homophobe!" (which means a fear of the same, incidentally). And, if you have nothing specific to produce with a self-righteous flourish, "You're sick!"

Well, you're right, Old Cynic. I'm sick of lefties trying to pervert the meaning of language.

Neil Craig said...

Old Cynic
You have laid yourself open to the same question. NATO, by its own admission, killed & cluster bombed civilians in a war which was undeniably not self defence. Are you & your friends currently swearing out warrents against, Blair, Kohl, Jack Straw etc in case they should ever be found within the EU or alternately (the only alternative) applying different standards to Jews as to Brits & Germans?

Cinnamon said...

We're being had by Hezbollah over the 'attrocity' at Qana, it would apprear. See here:
http://eureferendum.blogspot.com/2006/07/milking-it.html

Verity said...

I can't believe that no one else has commented on Mel Gibson! ABC has just pulled a new miniseries he was producing on ... the Holocaust.

I think I was the only woman in the Western world who did not think Mel Gibson is attractive. I always thought there is something not right about his face. I can't place what's wrong, but it doesn't hang together somehow. I just instinctively didn't like him.

The Voice of Reason said...

I do think Blair should stand trial. Likewise Bush and a host of other people who ordered bombs to be dropped on civilaians.

That includes Arabs.

Is the protection of innocents too much to ask of the 'civilised' West?

Neil Craig said...

I accept what you say old cynic. Nonetheless you did say "The names of all Israeli ministers and military officers are being collated and if they step foot in the EU warrents can be applied for." & have not answered the question as to whether your friends are applying for warrents for Bliar & co over their bombing to help the KLA commit genocide.

Anonymous said...

verity - don't agree with everything you say, but you are bang on the button about Mel. I've heard that his chummy on-screen persona is completely different from his real self, apparently a real horrible person. As General John De Chastelain said when asked a question in his role verifying the decommissioning of IRA weapons 'I would never argue against a woman's intuition'.