We offer peace and amity to all the neighbouring states and their peoples, and invite them to cooperate with the independent Jewish nation for the common good of all. The State of Israel is ready to contribute its full share to the peaceful progress and development of the Middle East. (From Proclamation of the State of Israel, 5 Iyar 5708; 14 May 1948)

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Down and Dirty at Westminster with the Lefty-Liberal Israel Bashers – a Zionist Questioner is Silenced by Ejection

In an interview with the London Jewish Chronicle (17 September 2010) the distinguished barrister and Lib Dem former MP Lord Carlile, the son of Polish Jews who converted to Christianity, blamed Lib Dem life peer Baroness Tonge’s perceived antisemitic comments regarding Israel as helping to cost Nick Clegg’s Lib Dems two London seats (Hampstead and Kilburn; Islington South and Finsbury) during Britain’s General Election last May. Condemning as “completely outrageous, inexcusable and incomprehensible” her call for an investigation into clims that the IDF was harvesting body parts from Haiti earthquake victims, Lord Carlile, a strong though not uncritical friend of Israel, also warned that “there is evidence of charitable funding collected in this country being channelled through to Hamas and possibly to other Islamist organisations” by British-based front organisations and that much more should be done to stem the problem. Lord Carlile felt quite rightly – that Nick Clegg and Lord McNally, the Lib Dem leader in the upper chamber, were tardy in dealing with Lady Tonge’ outbursts.


Once upon a time, the Liberal Party was a fount of philosemitism. During the 1830s, 1840s, and 1850s, when the ultimately successful campaign for the right for professing Jews to sit in the House of Commons was in full swing, Liberal politicians and public figures were in its forefront. Their stance was exemplified in the noble words of Lord Macaulay, who observed in 1831:
“The points of difference between Christianity and Judaism have very much to do with a man's fitness to be a bishop or a rabbi. But they have no more to do with his fitness to be a magistrate, a legislator, or a minister of finance, than with his fitness to be a cobbler. Nobody has ever thought of compelling cobblers to make any declaration on the true faith of a Christian.”
Liberals were conspicuous in the numerous public rallies that occurred in Britain to protest oppression of Jews overseas – from the Damascus blood libel of 1840 through Tsarist and Nazi persecution. Liberals were also keen supporters of the Zionist movement – I’m thinking in particular of the journalists C. P. Scott and Herbert Sidebotham, who made the Manchester Guardian – forerunner of the notoriously anti-Zionist and even antisemitic Guardian of the present day – the most pro-Zionist newspaper in pre-war Britain.

But I’ve always felt wary of much Liberal support for Jews (with demonstrable justification on my part, given present trends). I view much of it as the “anti-anti-semitism” which Liberal Prime Minister W. E. Gladstone characterised as his own position – an abhorrence of the persecution of the Jews rather than an innate admiration for and empathy with them. It’s a position easily transferred – as we’ve seen increasingly since 1967 – to supporting the so-called Palestinians (known until that publicity coup of Arafat’s in  the 1960s as Arabs) and demonising Jews as persecutors. And this genre of demonisation isn’t confined just to British lefty liberals, of course – this drawing by the notorious Michael Leunig, cartoonist for Melbourne’s Age newspaper, displays the slanders perpetrated against Israel by lefties. Indeed, other anti-Israel cartoons by Leunig, invoking Auschwitz and mocking the comatose Ariel Sharon,show how very low a self-righteous left-liberal can stoop.

During the 1970s, before defecting to Labour and eventually becoming an MP and a minister under Blair and Brown as well as a member of Red Ed Miliband’s present team, the anti-Israel serpent in the still-pro-Israel British Liberal Party’s bosom was Peter Hain. A South African-born anti-apartheid activist with a penchant for publicity, he was chairman of the Young Liberals, and combined campaigning against white rule in South Africa with a parallel crusade against Israel’s very existence. Decades before the idea caught on in sections of the Israel-demonising left, Hain had made the replacement of Israel by a “Secular Democratic State of Palestine” the leitmotif of his frequent inveighing against the Jewish State.

Thus, reported the Jewish Chronicle (5 September 1975), “Calls for the destruction of Israel as a state and for British Government recognition of the Palestine Liberation Organisation were made by more than 1500 pro-Arab supporters who marched from Speakers’ corner to Downing Street on Sunday while the Jewish rally was in progress.” Flanked by some 500 police officers, marchers included Communists, Marxists, Young Socialists, Young Liberals, as well as hundreds of Palestinians, Surians, Iraqis and other Arabs. Hain called on “radicals on the left-wing in Britain” to fight for the Palestinian cause. He was even mean-minded enough to oppose the migration of Soviet Refuseniks to Israel.

His stance dismayed the Liberal Party’s leadership and its old guard, but since then demonising of Israel has become a stock-in-trade of numerous individuals in the party’s successor, the Lib Dems – and some Lib Dem parliamentary candidates at the May 2010 general election were sneaky enough to print up two sets of campaign leaflets – ones distributed to Jewish households having the encomiums to “Palestine” omitted. (richardmillett.wordpress.com/2010/03/.../mezuzah-wars-commence/)


In Robert Fisk’s journalistic stomping ground The Independent (1 February 2010) Lib Dem peer Lord Phillips of Sudbury – a veteran proponent of the Arab cause – wrote an op-ed piece filled with arrant nonsense, such as the assertions that ‘Israel is now more "rogue state" than the "strategic partner" [that then Foreign Secretary] David Miliband recently labelled it’ and that “the abuse of Palestine is the greatest engine” radicalising “working class Muslims elsewhere”. He ended by calling for the West to impose “escalating cultural and economic sanctions” since “carrying on as heretofore would be the sin”.

Last evening, at a Palestine Solidarity Campaign meeting in a committee room at the House of Commons, chaired by the PSC’s operations director Sarah Colborne, Lord Phillips was the first of several speakers. While conceding Israel’s right to exist, he made a highly tendentious speech about its policies and about the state of Israeli public opinion and claimed : "America is in the grip of the well-organised Jewish Lobby". He concurred with Unite trade unionist Richard Allday’s call at the meeting for a boycott of Israeli produce and people. (They’d better be sure to click on this video, then http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=saeky9I5T9c/)

Also addressing the meeting was the leftwing Labour anti-Israel warhorse Jeremy Corbyn MP, who observed: “When it’s in Israel’s self interest they do something”. (Either Corbyn was defaming the motive for Israel’s humanitarian efforts in Haiti and elsewhere, or he has managed to remain oblivious to such efforts!) Andrew Slaughter,MP, another Israel defamer who seems to believe that Hamas are at heart reasonable guys (www.guardian.co.uk/.../2010/.../gaza-deadlock-hamas-engagement) declared the Palestinian Authority “does not have anything to give any more”. (“Recognition!” suggested Zionist Federation co-vice-chair Jonathan Hoffman from his place in the audience – and narrowly escaped ejection by Ms Colborne.)

The final speaker was Mavi Marmara activist Kevin Ovenden, formerly of the Socialist Workers Party and now of the Respect Party’s leadership, and when Ovenden had finished lambasting what he insisted on calling "The Zionist Entity”, Jonathan Hoffman, having remarked that Zionists in the United States comprise people from various backgrounds, challenged Lord Phillips to offer evidence to justify raising the spectre of the Jewish lobby. No evidence was forthcoming. Pointing out the antisemitic and genocidal nature of the Hamas Charter, Hoffman contested Phillips’s contention during his speech that Avigdor Lieberman is more racist that anyone the Palestinian side.   Phillips responded that the Hamas Charter is "a load of bullsh*t" - a (terrorist) leader had told him so!

Finding this answer unsatisfactory, Hoffman remonstrated, only to find that the totalitarian left machine had cranked into full gear – he was promptly given his marching orders by Ms Colborne. The police outside the room enforce any eviction by chairpersons of meetings – no questions asked. So Mr Hoffman went quietly. But in these days of increasing demonisation of Israel and of those who champion the Jewish State, it's perhaps a miracle that, unlike Richard Millett, about whose manhandling by PC Plod I blogged in July, he was admitted in the first place!

8 comments:

  1. Clegg's still a wolf in sheep's clothing and Hain would have shown his fangs if he'd gotten into No 10 as he'd hoped. Hain has to be the worst of that bad lot - a slimy politician sans scruple.

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  2. As far as justice for Israel is concerned, they are mostly a bad bunch, these far lefties, whether Lib Dem or Labour - and if Hain had not been co-opted onto Red Ed's team after failing to get elected to it I fear he might have reverted to his old stance on Israel from the back benches. As things stand, he's still buttoning his lip. I bet he hasn't changed his spots. Red Ed's lack of empathy for Israel is hideous.

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  3. Joe Grimmond was a good guy. I once watched him trounce (Sir) Christopher Mahew in a T.V. debate in the late sixties post the 6 day war.

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  4. Absolutely, Steve! I read about that debate in back issues of the JC when doing that Keith Kyle piece ("The Man who Begat a Multitude...")some time ago.

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  5. Oh - and of course on the Labour side one who stood out as a supporter of Israel was Richard Crossman MP.

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  6. Another quote from Hain the Pain:
    "The present Zionist state," he wrote, "is by definition racist and will have to be dismantled." Such a task, he continued, "can be brought about in an orderly way through negotiation... or it will be brought about by force. The choice lies with the Israelis. They can recognise now that the tide of history is against their brand of greedy oppression, or they can dig in and invite a bloodbath."

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  7. The hatred shows in their faces. The Barrenness, as Pam Geller refers to Tonge, is so ugly, her face is permanently distorted with Jew-hate. the man above has the same sort of face, the mouth is like Soros, no lips,a hole, like a flesh-eating lizard.

    I hope their hatred consumes them.

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  8. Er - well - he's not my idea of a handsome man, but ...

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