By R. Ellis – The West Bank
As this article is being written it is still not clear what shade of government will take office in the UK. For the first time since 1974 no party has a clear majority in the House of Commons – the main legislative body. Four days of behind -the-scenes talks between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats have yet to produce a deal. After the most exciting election in years an exhausted public waits anxiously to know its fate.
But following the drama of the last few days from afar, in occupied Palestine, has in truth been the usual disappointment. Debate on Israel/Palestine has once again been conspicuous by its absence. No mention of Israel’s continuing illegal occupation, of its flouting of international law, of its flagrant breaches of human rights, of its never-ending theft of Palestinian land. Not a word about how British support for Israel endangers our interests in the Middle East, how it wants to drag the West into another disastrous ‘war for Israel’ this time with Iran, how it puts us all in danger. But it is not hard to explain the silence.
There is an old anarchist saying which goes something like this; "Whoever you vote for, the government gets in". Applying this to British elections and the Israel/Palestine question means that, whatever the result and, in the case of the 2010 election, whatever outcome of any deal, the new UK government will be firmly and blindly pro-Israel.
Gordon Brown, Labour leader and soon to be ex-Prime Minister, is a Friend of Israel; so too is Conservative Leader, David Cameron. Both are patrons of the Jewish National Fund, an outfit which is involved in the confiscation of Palestinian land. Funds from wealthy Zionist supporters keep the party machines rolling – but at a price.
But what, you may ask, of the Liberal Democrats and their leader, Nick Clegg? Isn’t he different? Didn’t he criticise Israel for its murderous attack on Gaza in 2008/9? Won’t he make a difference if he is part of the new government? Judging by the amount of interest, or should I say panic, he has aroused on the other side of the apartheid wall from where I sit and within some Jewish circles in the UK, one would think ‘yes’.
One Israeli official was so alarmed at that he told an Israeli newspaper, "Clegg is bad news for Israel. His party is running on a human rights platform and the atmosphere is hostile to Israel. We remind the Liberal Democrats of South Africa in the apartheid years,". Very damning. He dares talk about human rights – must be an anti-Semite.
But fear not, Israel. Help is at hand, from the man himself. Summoned by the UK’s Jewish Chronicle to explain himself, he failed to use the dreaded ‘occupation’ word, avoided any mention of Israel’s failure to adhere to international law and ignored its violations of human rights. True, he did mention operation Cast Lead in which 1400 hundred Palestinians were killed and illegal weapons were used on civilians.
"When I speak out over Gaza, for example," he told the Chronicle’s editor’"’ it is because I genuinely feel that Israel’s policy runs counter to its best interests. That is not a view unheard of amongst the Jewish community. It is no contradiction to be a strong friend of Israel while being critical of the policy of its government." So the slaughter of innocents in Palestine is not immoral and a crime. It is just not in Israel’s best interests. So much for the ‘human rights platform’.
Not content with reassuring the supporters of Zionism in the UK, Clegg then went on to tell the Israeli daily Haaretz of his impeccable credentials. "As to accusations that I am hostile to Israel, my actions prove the opposite. I have always sharply opposed various efforts to impose academic and cultural sanctions on Israel. I have tremendous admiration for the state of Israel and its people,” he gushed." When I visited, I was once again exposed to the genius of this nation which has managed to maintain a democratic regime and an open economy despite its existence under a constant threat. This is a great achievement." Yes, Nick, you have been exposed.
I was going to finish this piece once I knew the outcome of the party horse-trading. But then I realized I already know. The Zionists got in.
– R. Ellis contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.