by Stuart Littlewood
As Western outrage erupts over the relentless destruction of Aleppo and its people, why is there no similar clamour for a halt to the more prolonged pulverising of Gaza and the continuing slaughter of civilians there?
The UK’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Matthew Rycroft, said the other day: “Russia’s actions in recent weeks have exposed just how hollow Russia’s commitment to the political process is. Today we have seen that commitment for what it really is; a sham….
“I echo the words of the Archbishop of Canterbury who described the destruction of Aleppo as the absolute contempt for the human spirit, for the dignity of the human being…. There can be no military justification for aerial attacks that indiscriminately hit civilians, and their homes and their hospitals.”
Aleppo or Gaza: what’s the difference?
A few days later we were treated to the spectacle of our recently-appointed Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson calling for anti-war protesters to demonstrate outside the Russian embassy in London. Russia, he said, risks becoming a pariah nation and should be investigated for war crimes in Aleppo. He predicted those responsible for war crimes in Syria would eventually face charges before the international criminal court.
Johnson was speaking in a Commons debate in which he apparently rejected the idea of a no-fly zone, warning that we might have to confront and perhaps shoot down Russian and Syrian planes or helicopters that violate the zone. In other words: go to war. “We need to think very carefully about the consequences.” Too right Boris. All the same, he’s looking at “kintetic” options such military action as well as intensifying sanctions against the Assad regime and Russia. Perhaps he has forgotten how the last proposal for air strikes in Syria, in 2013, was thrown out by the Westminster Parliament.
One is immediately prompted to ask why Boris Johnson busies himself accusing Russia of war crimes and drumming up demos outside its embassy while remaining stoically silent about the diabolical crimes of top pariah state Israel. Shouldn’t he be at least evenhanded in his criticism of regimes that repeatedly violate all decent norms of human behaviour?
Why won’t Boris go “kinetic” over Gaza?
Israel and its terrorist founders have been slaughtering and robbing the Palestinian people for nearly 70 years. The Tel Aviv regime continues to illegally occupy Palestinian territory and keep its defenceless citizens bottled up in the shredded left-overs of their homeland, and even commits murder and piracy on the high seas to prevent visitors reaching them. Yet we’ve seen no NATO ships or warplanes off the Gaza coast, no no-fly zones imposed over the still-occupied Holy Land, no boots on the ground, and no arms or military advisers for the Palestinian resistance. In fact, nothing that could be described by Boris as “kinetic”.
Israel, whose “absolute contempt for the human spirit” is extremely profitable, simply doesn’t attract the same high-level indignation. So the evil regime’s demolition of thousands of Palestinian homes for so-called administrative and planning reasons, its wholesale destruction of businesses and infrastructure, its excessive violence against non-combatants, its abductions, imprisonments and assassinations, and especially its programme of blitzkriegs on Gaza slaughtering thousands including many hundreds of children, and reducing the place to rubble… they all go unpunished. None of these crimes can be justified on grounds of defence or security. And in the Palestinians’ case they have nowhere to run. They cannot escape. To the best of my knowledge Boris Johnson has never called for those responsible to be brought before the ICC. He hasn’t even threatened sanctions.
Nor is he likely to. For he’s a “very outspoken friend of Israel” according to former ambassador to London Daniel Taub. Yessir, “he is a very enthusiastic supporter, and his relationship with Israel goes back a long way”. Taub also says Johnson’s enthusiasm is such that “he jumped on our idea of an Israeli cultural festival in London, and thanks to his backing it will be happening next year”. We all know how eagerly Britain’s Foreign Office supports the EU-Israel Association Agreement despite Israels’ blatant violation of its key conditions from the very start.
On his visit to Israel last November some Palestinian groups refused to meet Boris after he dismissed British supporters of BDS (that’s the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement) as “lefty academics who have no real standing in the matter and I think are unlikely to be influential… ” BDS is civil society’s non-violent response not just to the international community’s inaction but the major powers’ perverse habit of rewarding Israel for its crimes. Boris said he couldn’t think of “anything more foolish” than to boycott Israel, which he described as “the only democracy in the region, the only place that has in my view a pluralist open society.”
So amusing. But if the boycotts are foolish and ineffectual, as Boris claims, why so many frantic efforts around the world to have BDS outlawed?
Let’s face it, Boris Johnson is a very senior member of the Conservative Party in which 80% of MPs, it is said, are signed-up Friends of Israel. As PM Theresa May recently proclaimed, “the Conservative Party would not be the Conservative Party without CFI [Conservative Friends of Israel].” They wax lyrical about the odious foreign power whose flag they wave in Parliament, as do their fellow stooges in Washington. The insane focus on regime-change in Syria is primarily for the benefit of Israeli expansionism, and the army of highly-placed useful idiots have their orders.
By being part of this grotesque admiration society, and one of Israel’s keenest rewarders, Boris has become the buffoon he always pretended to be. And nudging us towards a second cold war with Russia just to tick another box for Israel’s grisly ambition confirms him as dangerous as well as daft.