By Stuart Littlewood
Having disposed of the Murdoch menace – for the moment anyway – it’s time for the British public to turn the spotlight on the other villains our craven politicians pay homage to.
Public enemy Number One is the pro-Israel lobby. An organization called the Conservative Friends of Israel states it has “twin aims of supporting Israel and promoting Conservatism. With close to 2000 activists as members – alongside 80% of Conservative MPs – CFI is active at every level of the Party".
And the rot goes all the way to the top, with Conservative prime minister David Cameron endorsing it enthusiastically: “I am proud not just to be a Conservative, but a Conservative Friend of Israel; and I am proud of the key role CFI plays within our Party.”
Back in 2006 The Jewish Chronicle ran a report on the backers bankrolling Cameron’s bid for the party leadership. It was sent to the Committee on Standards in Public Life as an example of how the pro-Israel lobby infiltrates government and undermines the very principles the standards watchdog was established to uphold. But Zionist tentacles reach further than you think. The Committee ignored it.
At the time Cameron, a self-proclaimed Zionist, pledged: “If I become Prime Minister, Israel has a friend who will never turn his back on her…”
The Liberal Democrats allow a similar lobby group to flourish within their ranks. Its stated aim is to "maximise support for the State of Israel within the Liberal Democrats and Parliament". Labour also has a virulent Israel supporters club that broadcasts Tel Aviv’s propaganda and, when in power, appoints Israel lobby stooges to key ministerial and other positions.
Britain, as everyone knows, has carved an unfortunate niche for itself as America’s poodle. But not enough people ask the key question: whose poodle is America? American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) has the private parts of US Congress in such a vice-like grip that the Zionist regime’s interests come first in Washington. For example, the US House of Representatives felt obliged to endorse, by 390 votes to 5, Israel’s assault on Gaza in the winter of 2008/9, a massacre that killed over 1,400 (mostly Palestinian civilians including a large number of women and children), wounded and maimed thousands more, left tens of thousands homeless and horrified the rest of the world.
It is amazing how many people with dual passports stalk the corridors of power in Washington. And we all saw the orchestrated adulation with which the Israeli primier was received the other week.
The knock-on effect in the UK is inecitable. We too are so embroiled in the Zionists’ perpetual strife with the Islamic world that we’ve been sucked into the same cesspit. Britain is now one of the most hated nations on earth thanks to our cosy association with US-Israeli ambitions in the Middle East.
Meet the ‘Israel-firsters’
Israel was founded on terror, land theft, ethnic cleansing and extreme brutality. Why would the British Establishment wish to snuggle up to it? Why did Liam Fox, now Defence Secretary, famously say: "We must remember that in the battle for the values that we stand for, for democracy against theocracy, for democratic liberal values against repression – Israel’s enemies are our enemies and this is a battle in which we all stand together or we will all fall divided.”
As if that wasn’t absurd enough William Hague, now foreign secretary, came out with this in 2008: “The unbroken thread of Conservative Party support for Israel that has run for nearly a century from the Balfour Declaration to the present day will continue. Although it will no doubt often be tested in the years ahead, it will remain constant, unbroken, and undiminished by the passage of time.”
Undimished by the passage of crime, too. Tzipi Livni was Israeli foreign minister at the time of Operation Cast Lead and largely responsible for the unimaginable terror and destruction unleashed on Gaza’s civilians. Livni’s office issued a statement saying she was proud of Operation Cast Lead and, lacking all remorse, she later declared: "I would today take the same decisions." Obviously she is on several wanted lists. When a warrant for her arrest was issued in London she went whining to our then foreign secretary David Miliband, who apologized. When the Conservative coalition came in and Hague took over the Foreign Office who can forget how Hague rushed to prove his loyalty by promising that our universal jurisdiction laws would be changed to protect Israel’s suspected war criminals? It was “an appalling situation where a politician like Mrs Livni could be threatened with arrest on coming to the UK” he said.
David Cameron, for his part, told Conservative Friends of Israel: "The ties between this party and Israel are unbreakable. And in me, you have a Prime Minister whose belief in Israel is indestructible."
And he recently told a Jewish audience: "I want to be clear, we will always support Israel… when Iran flouts its international obligations Britain is and will remain at the forefront of the international community in ratcheting up the pressure with tough sanctions. We will not stand by and allow Iran to cast a nuclear shadow over Israel or the wider region."
Considering it is Israel which casts the nuclear shadow, menaces the region and flouts international laws and conventions, that remark was beyond ridiculous. Cameron, like Fox, seems determined to make Israel’s enemies Britain’s enemies when we have no quarrel with any of them.
Who gave him permission to spout such dangerous drivel in our name?
Hague too loves ratcheting up the violence. While still deeply embroiled in an unwinnable Afghan campaign he started bombing Libya months ago – with no end in sight – and is now sending more British aircraft into “theatre” to intensify the carnage, seemingly oblivious to the fact that back home in Britain we are struggling to make ends meet with a monumental economic and financial deficit around our necks.
Who’s he doing all this bloodshed for? Certainly not for us.
Lacking military experience these Israel-firsters, liked Blair and others before them, show an unhealthy lust for death and destruction. They are what I believe our American cousins call ‘chicken-hawks’ – talking tough but taking care never to risk their own worthless skins.
Lawlessness Rules, OK?
Another ardent admirer of the Zionist regime is James Arbuthnot, the Parliamentary chairman of the Conservative Friends of Israel. He told Parliament: "Everyone in this House should have an interest in Israel, because it is a country that embodies the values that we should stand for. Israel [has] become a bastion of the rule of law…”
Israel’s prime minister Netanyahu heads their Likud party, which is the embodiment of greed, racist ambition, lawlessness and callous disregard for other people’s rights. In any other country it would be banned and its leaders locked up. Yet Netanyahu is welcomed like a hero in the US and given 29 standing ovations by Congress.
Likud intends to make the seizure of Jerusalem permanent and establish Israel’s capital there. It will “act with vigor” to ensure Jewish sovereignty in East Jerusalem (which still officially belongs to the Palestinians as does the Old City). The illegal settlements are “the realization of Zionist values and a clear expression of the unassailable right of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel”. They will be strengthened and expanded. As for the Palestinians, they can run their lives in a framework of self-rule “but not as an independent and sovereign state”.
Are these the values Arbuthnot is suggesting we adopt?
Kadima, the party of Livni, Olmert and Barak, is little better and has also pledged to preserve the larger settlement blocs and steal Jerusalem.
As for Arbuthnot’s claim that Israel is a bastion of the rule of law, a UN fact-finding mission, dealing with the assault on the Mavi Marmara last year, declared that “no case can be made for the legality of the interception”.
But here’s Arbuthnot again, arguing the case for Israel… “Given that the flotilla was designed to be provocative and to end in violence, we should not blame Israel for the violence against which it failed to guard itself; the blame lies with those who went on to the flotilla expressly seeking martyrdom.”
The Mission considered that Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza amounted to collective punishment and thus was illegal and contrary to Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. The interception of the Mavi Marmara on the high seas was "clearly unlawful" and could not be justified even under Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations (the right of self-defence).
The Centre for Constitutional Rights agrees that the blockade "cannot be reconciled with the principles of international law, including international humanitarian law".
If the blockade is illegal, why is it allowed to continue? Because subservient Israel-firsters in London, Washington and other capitals won’t act. Lawlessness rules, OK?
Arbuthnot, by the way, is also chairman of Britain’s Defence Select Committee. Worrying, isn’t it?
Conflict of Interests
The British government’s policy of shielding and cosseting Israel’s extremists makes all of us complicit in that regime’s crimes. How does this perverse devotion to a foreign power square with the Seven Principles of Public Life, especially the one about Integrity, which the government is supposed to uphold? The Principle of Integrity lays down that holders of public office should not place themselves under any financial or other obligation to outside individuals or organisations that might seek to influence them in the performance of their official duties.
Do MPs and ministers not understand this simple imperative? If the Israel lobby has no influence, as some have claimed, how do our leaders explain away the 80 percent of Conservative MPs who are Friends of Israel? How do they explain the appointment of a Foreign Secretary who has been a Friend of Israel since boyhood and a minister in charge of Middle East affairs who is a former officer of the Conservative Friends of Israel?
There are rules about conflict of interests. Why aren’t they followed? Do we ever hear an MP or minister, when taking part in a Middle East debate, say “Mr Speaker, I wish the House to know that I am a staunch member of Friends of Israel and Jewish money paid for my election campaign”?
In his infatuation with Israel Mr Hague even stoops to provide cover for its mega-crimes. At the height of the murderous Gaza blitz, Hague announced to Parliament: “The immediate trigger for this crisis… was the barrage of hundreds of rocket attacks against Israel on the expiry of the ceasefire or truce."
The truce with Hamas didn’t "expire". It was violated after five months by Israeli forces in order to provoke Hamas and provide an excuse for the long-planned assault. Israel had also failed to deliver its side of the ceasefire bargain, which was to lift the blockade.
Our Middle East minister, Alistair Burt, is another comedian. He recently announced that Britain would not recognise a Palestinian state unless it emerged from a peace deal with Israel. London, he said, could “not recognise a state that does not have a capital, and doesn’t have borders".
Hadn’t he heard? Palestine’s borders are the pre-1967 armistice lines as defined in UN resolutions and recognised by the international community. Where does Burt suppose Israel’s borders are? Is Israel where Israel is supposed to be, within internationally defined borders? No, it isn’t. Israel keeps its borders fluid, all the time grabbing a bit more land here and confiscating a bit more there. Yet London recognises Israel.
Burt, Hague, Cameron, Fox, Arbuthnot… there are many more like them. How can we be sure where their allegiance lies? Whom do they really work for?
I’ll leave the last word on Israel’s evil machinations to Sir Gerald Kaufman, the straight-talking Jewish MP. He said in a Commons debate in January 2008: "Is it not a fact that only international action can bring to an end the humanitarian disaster caused by collective punishment imposed by the gang of amoral thugs who comprise the Israeli Government and violate not only international law but the historic Jewish conscience?"
Sir Gerald’s family suffered horribly during the Holocaust and his sick grandmother was shot dead in her bed by a German soldier. "They’re not simply war criminals, they’re fools", he said of the Israelis when Operation Cast Lead was launched. "My grandmother did not die to provide cover for Israeli soldiers murdering Palestinian grandmothers in Gaza."
Cameron’s judgement, already wobbly, has finally been shot to pieces by his cosiness with Murdoch’s ‘mafia’, and he should be clearing his desk. Add to that his dangerous obsession with racist Israel which drags us into unnecessary wars against countries that pose no threat, and sacrifices our lads in uniform in an unjust cause, and it’s clear that he must go.
Our elected MPs belong to us, the British voters. Not to some gang of foreign thugs. We must mobilise to make sure they clearly understand this. And we must work to take back our parliament.
– Stuart Littlewood is author of the book Radio Free Palestine, which tells the plight of the Palestinians under occupation. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.