By Stuart Littlewood – London
In the run-up to Britain’s general election we’ve heard next to nothing about Middle East policy from the three main party leaders in their much-publicized debates on TV.
They have studiously avoided all mention of the outrage in the Holy Land and the way it impacts so directly on world peace.
The plight of the Palestinian people ever since Britain abandoned its mandate responsibility, and their endless struggle for freedom from Israel’s military occupation, threatens our safety but word of it never passes their lips. And the programme bosses appear to block questions on the subject.
Early in the campaign I received a message from a local Liberal Democrat MP saying: "I urge everyone to get to Norwich and help elect our fantastic candidate Simon W."
But hang on, before rushing to volunteer I wanted to know just one thing. What was Mr W’s personal stance on Middle East policy and especially Israel’s 43-year illegal occupation of the Holy Land?
It’s an important question for the simple reason that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) has such a vice-like grip on the private parts of US congressional representatives that Israel’s interests are put ahead of America’s. And due to the influence of the Israel lobby here in the UK we too are so embroiled in their perpetual strife with the Islamic world that we’ve been sucked into the same stinking swamp.
"Britain is now one of the most hated nations on earth thanks to our cosy association with US-Israeli ambitions in the Middle East. Party leaders talk passionately about cleaning up politics but carefully avoid addressing this, the most corrupting and dangerous influence of all."
Britain is now one of the most hated nations on earth thanks to our cosy association with US-Israeli ambitions in the Middle East. Party leaders talk passionately about cleaning up politics but carefully avoid addressing this, the most corrupting and dangerous influence of all.
A recent Channel 4 Dispatches programme alleged that 80 per cent of Conservative MPs and MEPs are signed-up Friends of Israel. The Conservative shadow foreign minister, David Lidington, has promised that Conservatives will be staunch defenders of the State of Israel.
The Liberal Democrats allow a similar lobby group to flourish within their party. Its main aim is to "maximize support for the State of Israel within the Liberal Democrats and Parliament". And I note that when the MP who contacted me visited Israel and the occupied West Bank he went with a Friends of Israel delegation.
I emailed the candidate Simon W twice with my question but he didn’t reply. Needless to say, he got no help from me.
All our political parties, strangely, have little to say in their manifestos about action (rather than meaningless words) to end the ethnic cleansing and blockading of the Holy Land and the terrorizing of its residents, including the Christian communities. I have seen not so much as a hint of sanctions like those they are eager to apply against Iran for much less reason.
It has been reported that powerful Christian businessmen are now bankrolling the Conservatives. This is the party that backed the Iraq war, has a majority of Israel flag-wavers among its MPs and whose leader, David Cameron, is a self-proclaimed Zionist.
Cameron says: “If I become prime minister, Israel has a friend who will never turn his back on her… Israel is a democracy – Hamas want to create a theocracy. Israel strives to protect innocent life – Hamas target innocent life…” Side-splitting stuff. But what’s truly scary is that if the Conservatives get elected it’ll be business as usual – full steam ahead – with the loons and psychopaths in Washington and Tel Aviv.
The party also has the support of a Christian organization, the Conservative Christian Fellowship (CCF), which claims to include in its ranks a large number of election candidates. The group says it "contributes to the life and thinking of the Conservative Party". When its chairman, David Burrowes, visited the Holy Land the trip was paid for by Conservative Friends of Israel and the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and judging from his remarks in Parliament it is clear that his sympathies lie with the lawless entity that blitzed, vaporized and shredded the jam-packed citizens of Gaza and a year later still has them on the torture rack, allowing a paltry 81 items only to be imported for the starving and homeless among the tiny enclave’s ruins. The huge range of forbidden goods includes jam, chocolate, wood for furniture, fruit juice, tinned fruit, textiles and plastic toys.
Israel has made life for humanitarian groups exceedingly difficult by refusing to actually publish a list of banned items. They make it up as they go along to create a permanent state of confusion and deprivation. Is this the sort of thing real Christians endorse and defend? I don’t thinks so.
Christian Conservatives are put to shame by the Israeli human rights group Gisha, who have been trying for more than a year to squeeze information from the Zionist regime about what exactly they allow and forbid to cross into Gaza, and why.
Gisha has even taken the Israeli authorities to court to force them to come clean. Gisha’s director, Sari Bashi, says: "Preventing children from receiving toys, preventing manufacturers from getting raw materials – I don’t see how that’s responsive to Israeli security needs."
"We’ve arrived at the point where we can’t even take the piss out of Israel’s illegal occupation on the airwaves. Comedian Frankie Boyle was rebuked for doing just that by the BBC governors."
The Israelis explain their rationale thus: "The limitation on the transfer of goods is a central pillar in the means at the disposal of the State of Israel in the armed conflict between it and Hamas." You and I know it as collective punishment. They take their spite for Hamas out on women and kids. Nice "friends" you have there, CCF. You realize, of course, that the thugs who run the Israeli regime are persecuting your Christian brethren as well as the Muslims.
Or maybe they don’t count because Palestinian Christians are some sort of lesser breed?
Now the final straw. We’ve arrived at the point where we can’t even take criticize Israel’s illegal occupation on the airwaves. Comedian Frankie Boyle was rebuked for doing just that by the BBC governors. He explains in an open letter:
In case you missed it, the jokes in question are:
I’ve been studying Israeli army martial arts. I now know 16 ways to kick a Palestinian woman in the back.
People think that the Middle East is very complex but I have an analogy that sums it up quite well. If you imagine that Palestine is a big cake, well … that cake is being punched to pieces by a very angry Jew.
I think the problem here is that the show’s producers will have thought that Israel, an aggressive, terrorist state with a nuclear arsenal, was an appropriate target for satire. The Trust’s ruling is essentially a note from their line managers. It says that if you imagine that a state busily going about the destruction of an entire people is fair game, you are mistaken. Israel is out of bounds.
So there you have it. Party managers, political leaders, election candidates, the mainstream media, the rest of the Establishment, including our state broadcaster, and even the Church and its assorted hangers-on, are all working to suppress any debate about what’s probably the biggest menace to world peace – and praying that most British people go to the polls on 6 May blissfully ignorant of their country’s complicity.
– Stuart Littlewood is author of the book Radio Free Palestine, which tells the plight of the Palestinians under occupation. For further information please visit www.radiofreepalestine.co.uk. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.