Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Are the LibDems Becoming the Anti-Israel Party?

Both Labour and the Conservatives have pressure groups allied to their parties putting the causes of both Israel and Arab interests. Conservative Friends of Israel and Labour Friends of Israel compete (in a friendly manner, I should emphasise) with the Conservative Middle Eastern Council and Labour Friends of Palestine.

The LibDems also have a group called LibDem Friends of Palestine and a LibDem Friends of Israel. I imagine LDFI will want to have a word in the ear of LibDem maverick MEP Chris Davies, who has blogged his views on the current conflict...
It is time for Liberal Democrats to call a halt to the attempt to ride two horses and to try not to upset the Israeli lobby. Our support for the Palestinian cause is well enough known amongst those (by no means all!) in the Jewish community who will not countenance criticism of Israel. It is not well enough known amongst the majority who are appalled by Israel´s behaviour.
We should make clear that we will campaign tooth and nail for a viable and independent Palestinian state and will demand an end to deals with an Israeli government that bases its policy approach on a stance that is fundamentally racist.

Well, it's quite clear where he stands, but it's a disgrace that he calls the Israelis racist. You might expect him to be disowned by his leader. At least Ming Campbell had the guts to sack him from his position as leader of the LibDem MEPs when he told a jewish constituent she could wallow in her own filth after she complained he had likened Israel to the Nazis. Nice bloke, eh?

So LDFI has some work lobbying on its quite clear aims and objectives, among which are...

1. To influence the Party’s Middle East policy so it places a high priority on Israel’sright to peace and security.

2. To ensure Liberal Democrat parliamentarians are aware of the up-to-date situation in the Middle East.

3. To provide parliamentarians with briefing material for parliamentary debates, questions to Ministers and public appearances.

4. To rebut attacks on Israel in the media, Parliament and the Party.
They could start by countering Chris Davies's vile views. But they also have some work to do with their leader, Nick Clegg, if his comments yesterday were anything to go by, when he suggested that there should be an arms embargo on Israel.

*****

During an armed conflict like this, views become more polarised than ever. You pick your side, you makes your choice. But whichever side one falls down on, it does not hide the fact that virtually everyone agrees that the only long term solution is for a Palestinian State to be created to co-'exist peacefully alongside an Israeli State. But that cannot happen until both sides agree that the other has a right to exist. And Hamas (nor Hizbollah to the north) will never, ever do that. That's where the real issue lies. How can you negotiate with people whose goal is to destroy you? People often draw analogies with the IRA. The IRA was never out to destroy the British State - they had a cause which, whether you agreed with it or not - was over an issue on which you could - if you were preared to - negotiate. I cannot see how Israel can be expected to sit down to talk with people whose only goal in life is to encourage its destruction.

33 comments:

Jimmy said...

The IRA's position was equally unrealistic. Set out at Cheyne Walk in 1972 and continuously thereafter, they insisted on British withdrawal within the lifetime of a single parliament. They didn't get it and I imagine even in 1972 there were those in the leadership that knew they never would. There are Hamas leaders who have indicated they would (albeit grudgingly) accept a two state solution if the voters endorsed it.

Anonymous said...
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Marden Forum said...

O/T - Just set up an unofficial Forum for Marden Village

http://mardenforum.blogspot.com/

and am sending links around Kent based bloggers. Apologies for interrupting.

On topic I cannot understand the Liberals stand on anything. What a waste of time the lot of them are!

Dick the Prick said...

One for the watch list - d'oh!

Unknown said...

Iain,

Cmon, Hamas may have that in it's program but that does not preclude there being elements of Hamas who, if Israel behaved differently, would not either split from it or drive the 'destroy Israel' extremists out. If you look at the conditions it is setrting for a ceasefire then it is mainly focused around Israel ending it's blockade; not that it vanishes into the sea.

I know it suits your line of argument to simplify complicated things but still...

Pretty much the same goes about your argument that the Lib Dems are becoming an 'Anti-Israel' Party...when will supporters of Israel's position be bold enough to stand-up and say there is a legitimate argument against what Israel is doing that is not the product of a 'foaming-at-the-mouth' prejeudice???

Oncewerefree said...

The Israelis and their supporters treat the Palestinians as lower than dirt. The lives of their children are viewed as worthless. In Israel the non-Jews do not have the full rights of Jews. Yes, Israel is racist and so are many of its supporters. As a libertarian I support the right of those who want to support racists, but they should at least be honest.

David Lindsay said...

Well, the BNP is certainly the pro-Israel party - http://thurrockpatriots.blogspot.com/2009/01/europes-jews-face-marxist-wrath-over.html

Will B said...

Jimmy's right. The IRA sought the destruction of the British state in Northern Ireland. Is Israel more important to the party and the country than it's own people?

Vi_Sa said...

Apologies for nitpicking - but surely this should be 'Israelis' without the apostrophe.

"it's a disgrace that he calls the Israeli's racist. "

It is bad enough to see 'your' instead of "you are"/"you're", apostrophes used indiscriminately, etc. by youngsters today (and quite a few of my colleagues :( but et tu?

On Topic - the Israelis need to up their media-act. The coverage on Channel 4 and the BBC is disgracefully biased towards the Palestinians but they need to counter it.

Jimmy said...

"The coverage on Channel 4 and the BBC is disgracefully biased towards the Palestinians but they need to counter it."

They've already banned the press, what more can they do?

Patrick said...

I suppose the Israeli attitude to Arab citizens of Israel is racist. It limits their rights.

However, and this is a big however - Israel wants to and has the right to exist. Granting a 'right of return' and equivalent voting rights to all Muslims thus enabled would guarantee a Muslim majority soon enough. The next day the Jews would get it in the neck.

The problem facing Israel is that it must deal with peoples whose only ambition is to destroy Israel.

I don't know how they can deal with that without occasionally stepping over the boundaries of what is normal is another democracy which is not similarly threatened.

If the Muslims would accept Israel's right to exist then all of the issues could be resolved in time. Without such acceptance there will never be peace.

Jimmy said...

Right of return may not be as big a problem as supposed. Data is limited, but what there is suggests that the vast majority of Palestinian exiles have no the slightest wish to go back.

Man in a Shed said...

"It is time for Liberal Democrats to call a halt to the attempt to ride two horses ...."

But that's their core competence !

Tom King said...

The last paragraph of your post strikes me as somewhat ironic. Israel's incredibly disproportionate attacks on Gaza make a mockery of any suggestion that they are prepared to admit that an already-existent, democratically elected Palestinian state has a right to exist.

In fact, the last sentence could just as well be turned on its head: "I cannot see how Gazans can be expected to sit down to talk with people whose only goal in life is to encourage their destruction."

jailhouselawyer said...

I think anyone with an ounce of common sense ought to be part of the Anti-Israeli Party. Don't forget had a Tory Foreign Minister, Arthur James Balfour, not pampered to The Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland to create a Promised Land, stolen from the Arabs, the present conflict would not have occurred.

Perhaps America should concede a large chunk of Alaska and give it to the Jews so they can have their damned Promised Land?

Dick the Prick said...

Stolen from the Arabs?? Hee hee hee. Ah bless.

rob's uncle said...

Jailhouselawyer: re: ' . . Don't forget had a Tory Foreign Minister, Arthur James Balfour, not pampered to The Zionist Federation of Great Britain . . ' I agree with your point but suggest that 'pandered' ['to indulge the tastes, whims, or weaknesses of another.'] is what you intended.

Note however that getting their hands on Palestine was not exactly a 'whim' of the Zionists, it was their raison d'etre. I therefore suggest 'supported'. Any road, we must take a share of the blame for the creation of Israel, even though we did our best to hinder it in 1948.

As ever, Iain's amazement that other people disagree with his views amazes me.

Prodicus said...

Does it matter? They are hardly likely to be in any position to influence anything.

They blow with the wind like the unpleasant, pointless and heavily subsidised turbines they wish to force upon us because they have adopted the new religion - another wizard wheeze to make themselves look good (or that's the theory) at least until that wind, too, changes direction.

They are completely unscrupulous and will be Left when the wind's from the left, Right when the wind's from the right. When there's no wind, they are silent, having nothing to gain by taking any position, and their venality and irrelevance become even more clear.

If I were an Israeli, I would rather have Clegg and his appalling, piss-and-wind, gissajob-Gordon, principle-free shower against me. God help anyone who has to depend on the LibDems for principled consistency in, oh, anything, really, except blind Europhilia.

jailhouselawyer said...

robs uncle: Yes, I meant pandered and not pampered.

dick the prick: "Ah bless". Thanks.

Colin said...

You may recall that jenny tong, a silly and confused old woman and the liberal democrat MP for Richmond at one time, has form in the area of anti jewish sentiment.

Happily she called it a day as a MP. Sadly, she was replaced by an equally silly and confused old woman - susan kramer.

Paul Halsall said...

Everything they are saying about HAMAS never agreeing to peace, they used to say about the PLO years ago.

I detest HAMAS, and the PLO come to that, but I simply refuse to condone the bombing of children, and Israeli government spokespeople on TV - esp. Mark Regev and Avital Leibovitch, plus hundred of messages posted on the Ha'aretz website seem to me to exhibit a position which does not see Palestinians as fully human. And that is racist.

Anonymous said...

How can Iain Dale and Guido Fawkes be so deluded as to support Israel?

Professor Arnon Sofer, the government consultant who helped plan the isolation and imprisonment of Gaza, in a interview with the Jerusalem Post in 2004: “When 2.5 million people live in a closed-off Gaza, it’s going to be a human catastrophe. Those people will become even bigger animals than they are today, with the aid of an insane fundamentalist Islam. The pressure on the border is going to be awful. It’s going to be a terrible war. So, if we want to remain alive, we will have to kill and kill and kill. All day, every day.... The only thing that concerns me, is how to ensure that the boys and men who are going to have to do the killing will be able to return home to their families and be normal human beings.”

Sofer described this as the purest expression of Zionist ideology. “Unilateral separation doesn’t guarantee 'peace'; it guarantees a Zionist-Jewish state with an overwhelming majority of Jews.”

So the people being killed today are the ones for whom there is no room in Zionist Israel. They are excess population to be confined to a ghetto, shot, or bombed into the ground.

Neither Dale nor Fawkes is wicked. So they must be ignorant and deluded.

Tony

Anonymous said...

Well, if Israel doesn't "sit down and talk" then the violence will continue forever. More innocent people will die. There are no winners here. Everybody loses. Both sides need to compromise.

Hamas are dreadful but they are the legitimately elected leadership of the Palestinian National Authority. Many people will ask > why does the West only promote democracy when it suits them?

Israel act like bullies and they are sometimes their own worst enemy.

Tristan said...

Israel is founded upon the principle of a homeland for Jews. That is racist (considering that Jew in this sense includes atheists of Jewish heritage).

Now, that could be a good, bad or neutral thing, but it is a description of truth.

Also, witness the treatment of Israeli Palestinians - they are generally treated as second class citizens.

As for the right's support for Israel no matter what, that is truly disgraceful. Israelis do have the same right as anyone to be free of attack, but their government is going out of their way to kill innocent civilians.
The fact that the Israeli state makes the people of Israel less safe is an irony lost on the statist right.

(for the record - those who support Hamas are just as wrong, but its a more understandable reaction when you see a state bombing schools and civilian areas whilst hiding behind 'colateral damage')

Unknown said...

I think the best comparison for the situation in Palestine and Israel today is that that existed in South Africa during the apartheid regime.

If you have one racial group lording it over the other racial group and treating them as second class citizens their will always be strife.

I am at a complete loss to understand how any individual or nation can support the Israels when they condemned the South African's under Smith.

Malcolm Redfellow said...

Gawd 'elp all poor souls at sea!

There's no way I'm going to attempt a credible comment on the Gaza issue in this little box, except that most nations, including ours under both main parties, in a (reasonably-) civilised world have allowed it to persist and fester for decades. At least, the US President prior to Dubya made some efforts.

Yes, Israel has a right to exist. No, it is gut-clenchingly wrong to make a mini-Warsaw out of Gaza City. Heaven forfend.

As far as I can see, all the cheerleader groups mentioned in the header post exist in large part to provide freebies to sympathisers: they learned that trick from the CIA-fronts. The LibDims are, perhaps, merely negotiating in public for their fair share of the future treats.

Quite what this small hecatomb of the innocents has to do with old scores (the IRA, South Africa et alia) escapes me. However, I do note, on my visits to Northern Ireland, the use of Israeli/PLF flags as surrogates for the Union Flag and the Tricolour: tells us more about the ignorance of the natives in their laagers and ghettos (and, apparently, also about the BNP) than much else.

Oscar Miller said...

Peter - what utter rot. It is absolutely resoundingly clear to anyone who hasn't had their brain addled by tosh like this, that the armed struggle has been a complete and utter disaster for the Palestinian people. PLO, Hamas, Hezbollah - they have all steadily contributed to the complete and utter and total erosion of opportunity for Palestinians to build a peaceful state alongside Israel. Until the armed struggle is abandoned and genuine constructive, strategic, political development is allowed to hold sway they will be condemned to their ever worsening cycle of decline. Unfortunately numbskull ideologues - from the Islamist fanatics of Hamas to the useful idiots over here who are happy to act as apologists for them, recycling their contemptible lies and propaganda - seem determined to keep the Palestinians trapped in a neverending cycle of useless, masochistic violence. The truth is that such people would rather hate and demonise Israel and Israelis than do anything to help Palestinians.

DB said...

LibDem blogger Irfan Ahmed:

Iain Dale has asked if the Lib Dems are the "Anti-Israel party" and I have to say I agree with him that the Lib Dems are becoming the anti Israel party and they is nothing wrong with that...
I support any calls upon the Israeli's whether they come from MEP's or MP's but I do not support people who are just sitting back and watching this disgusting behaviour by the Jews!


Via LibDem Friends of Hamas

(Beat you to the Chris Davies thing, too)

Hywel said...

"But that cannot happen until both sides agree that the other has a right to exist. And Hamas (nor Hizbollah to the north) will never, ever do that"

Paisley sat down with McGuinness....

JasonDB said...

Whilst accepting that Israel hasn't helped itself by banning foreign correspondents from Gaza (although imagine the outcry at Jeremy Bowen's sad demise as collateral damage), one has to be shocked by the lack of inquiry by this country's major broadcast news organisations about the veracity of reports coming out of Gaza. Interviews with a Norwegian doctor who praised 9/11, figures mathematically contrary to even the UN's figures accepted without question, no report on the 75 Gazans shot by Hamas since the start of the war, no consideration of why after Israel gives the Gazans forewarning of precisely where it intends to strike civilians are still there hours later when the strike happens, no mention (as happened in the initial Iraq war coverage) of the fact that all reports out of Gaza are Hamas controlled and should therefore be considered in that context.

The war may not be comfortable viewing - war always looks nasty. But I can't think of any other country making as much effort to avoid civilian deaths in the fields of war as Israel, yet that gets no airing as it doesn't suit the leftist media's story.

Alex said...

"...everyone agrees that the only long term solution is for a Palestinian State to be created to co-'exist peacefully alongside an Israeli State. But that cannot happen until both sides agree that the other has a right to exist."

Where does this "right to exist" come from? Israel and Palestine have no more of a right to exist than any other country, including this one. Countries exist by common consent of their people and by the recognition of their neighbours, not by virtue of some nebulous right.

There will be peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians as soon as one side decides that it really once peace on terms acceptable to the other side as well as its own side, and that is something we have not seen yet from either side.

The Israelis have won every miltary conflict in the region since 1948, but they have singularly failed to establish a satisfactory peace after each conflict leading to ever deteriorating relations between the two sides for the last 60 years.

Neither side is going to disappear. So long as the two sides are hostile the Palestinians will send rockets, suicide bombers, etc into Israel. The Israelis will hit back with bombs, tanks and troops but never go so far as a total annihilation, so the current situation will persist.

The only solution is to sit down and talk with the enemy (even if he has vowed to destroy you), and convince him that there is a mutually acceptable solution.

Lord Blagger said...

But that cannot happen until both sides agree that the other has a right to exist.

Israel has every right to exist.

However, Israel doesn't have the right to exist at the expense of another countries right to exist.

Why should the Palistinians put up with being destroyed, put into a Ghetto, because of Israel need for Lebensraum?

If Israel needs land to exist, then I suggest Germany, or perhaps the US donates Mexico and solves their border problem to boot.

WIT AND WISDOM said...

The answer to your question is no. As a Tory under Dave's leadership you will have difficulty understanding how a political party can take a clear position but that's what the LDs have because it is right.

In this conflict,Israel is supremely powerful. It has the overwhelming majority of arms and it is useing them shamefully against a civilian population which has been coralled, starved and discriminated against for decades.

As a democratic state, this is simply unacceptable and no amount of bleating about generally ineffectual missiles sent into Israel can hide that fact that, compared to the Israeli casualties, the death toll among Palestinians is shocking.

Yes, all Israel casualties are wrong and these missiles should not be fired by Hamas but this cannot for a moment justify the slaughter Israel is inflicting on Gazans.

If you can't see that, dumb just doesn't do you justice.

The bottom line is that Israel's actions will never, ever achieve peace. Only sensible negotiations which recognise the right of both countries to exist will resolve this ghastly problem.

Go on, see the wood for the trees for once. And when your party has any policies about anything, then criticise the LDs.