This betrayal has shamed and angered right-thinking British people for decades. The Government could apologize and make amends but lacks the moral fibre. In the meantime the spectacle of sick-minded elements of the British Establishment celebrating 100 years of Balfour is beyond all bounds of decency.
It was met with such strong counter-demonstrations that supporters of Israeli apartheid will hopefully feel more isolated from now on. They are relatively few, corralled in their Westminster bubble. We are many, and growing.
But we still have an ignorant, biased mainstream media to contend with. During his visit to join the jollifications Israeli prime minister Netanyahu was given a platform on the BBC’s flagship Andrew Marr Show where he spouted his propaganda lies without serious challenge from the usually forensic Marr. A pity George Galloway wasn’t on hand for the occasion.
The Daily Mail meanwhile accused Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn of snubbing an invitation to the gala dinner with Netanyahu to honour Balfour and the birth of Israel and slammed him for speaking at a MEND (stands for Muslim Engagement Development) event instead. MEND in turn was accused of being a hardline Islamist organisation masquerading as civil libertarians, and extremist with it.
Former communities secretary Sir Eric Pickles called Corbyn’s snub “a slap in the face of Israel, and of all British Jewish citizens of the United Kingdom”. He said: “To not make a dinner is perhaps excusable but to attend a meeting of extremists who are vowed to destroy Israel is contemptible.”
The unswerving devotion by Tory grandees like Pickles to the real extremists, chief among them Her Majesty’s Government’s guest of honour Netanyahu, is nauseating. This hardline nutter, with his repulsive gang, continues to expropriate Palestinian land and property and ethnically cleanse Palestinian citizens from their homeland at gunpoint and with armoured bulldozers. And Pickles calls Corbyn contemptible?
Jennifer Gerber, of Labour Friends of Israel, declared that it was “utterly unacceptable” for the Labour leader to attend an event organised by a group that has repeatedly peddled myths about the Israel lobby. So uncomfortable truths are relegated to myth? In any case what are agents of a foreign military power doing in the Labour Party and using it to influence the work of the British parliament? It’s high time all party leaders shut down the pro-Israel meddlers in their ranks, just as they’d crush interference on behalf of any other rogue state.
Personally I don’t believe Israel has a friend in the whole world apart from those it has bought and the sad folk who have allowed themselves to be perverted by Christian-Zionist pastors and the Scofield bible.
Then Emily Thornberry, Labour’s shadow Foreign Secretary, was criticised for “disgraceful” Balfour comments and accused of having “reflected Corbyn’s view that the Labour party has no place as a mediator in the Israel-Palestine conflict”. Professor Colin Shindler, a Senior Research Fellow in Israel Studies and an advisory board member of the Israel Institute, said: “Corbyn over the last thirty years has never been a mediator between Israel and Palestine but a propagandist for one side and one side only. This goes against all the talk about peace and reconciliation – it doesn’t make any sense at all.”
I wonder, has Shindler tried saying the same to the Conservative Party, with 80 percent if its MPs signed up to Friends of Israel?
Thornberry argued that the Balfour Declaration should not have been celebrated “because I think it was a turning point in the history of that area, and I think probably the most important way of marking it is to recognise Palestine”. This will strike most people as a perfectly reasonable position given that successive British governments over the last 40 years have fielded prime ministers and foreign secretaries who were eager stooges for Israel, happy to turn a blind eye to its crimes and only too pleased to help thwart attempts to win justice for those it has cruelly oppressed in the Holy Land.
The latest fiasco is the crazy adventures of Conservative glamour-girl Priti Patel, the International Development Secretary who had 14 meetings with Israeli politicians (including prime minister Netanyahu and his security minister) during a family holiday in Israel without telling the Foreign Office, her civil servants or her boss Theresa May, and without government officials present. This was not only a two-finger salute to the ministerial code of conduct but a gross breach of security.
She’s accused of freelancing in foreign policy and is said to have tried persuading colleagues to send British taxpayers’ money as aid for an Israeli forces project in the Golan Heights. Like we don’t need the money here, with 300,000 homeless and sleeping rough…. Furthermore she actually visited the Golan. Everyone and his dog knows — except Patel, apparently — that the Golan Heights is Syrian territory stolen in 1967 by the Israelis who have illegally occupied it ever since. Touring it with the thieving occupation army was a monumental diplomatic blunder.
Patel’s meetings are said to have been arranged by Lord Polak. This individual was an official of the Board of Deputies of British Jews in the 1980s, joined the Conservative Friends of Israel in 1989, and served as its director for 26 years until appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for political service and made a life peer. It’s hard to see what political service Polak performed for anyone except the Israeli regime.
The Patel-Polak shambles is a distubing echo of the Fox-Werrity affair back in 2011. The then shadow Secretary of State for Defence Dr Liam Fox had been quoted on the Conservative Friends of Israel website as saying: “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.” The Jewish Chronicle hailed him as “a champion of Israel within the government”.
Fox has continually rattled the sabre against Iran which, of course, is no enemy of Britain but regarded by Israel as an obstacle to its craving for supremacy in the region. So it was well advertised where Fox was coming from. No surprise, then, when he became the centre of an unsavoury scandal involving him, his ‘close friend’ Adam Werrity, the UK’s ambassador to Israel Matthew Gould (who had peviously served at senior level in the embassy in Iran) and Israeli intelligence figures allegedly involved in plotting sanctions against Iran. The Foreign Office and civil servants knew little or nothing about these meetings.
Fox jumped before he was pushed, so did Patel. Pimping for Israel is never seriously punished in the corridors of British power and Fox was speedily rehabilitated in the bosom of the Conservative Party and is now Secretary of State for International Trade. We can expect to see Patel back onboard quite soon.
She is replaced by Penny Mordaunt, also a good loooking woman but with a much more impressive CV — and she’s a Royal Navy reservist.
Another pimp for Israel, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, was giving evidence before the Foreign Affairs Committee the other day. He said of Hamas: “If they want to enter the democratic process, then it’s very clear what they have to do. They have to renounce terror, they have to recognise the State of Israel, and they’ve got to stop spewing out antisemitic propaganda.” I wonder, has he tried saying the same to Netanyahu about the Israelis’ behaviour towards the Palestinians?
In the debate on the Balfour Declaration earlier Johnson said of Israel: “It is a pluralist society, a society that protects the rights of those who live within it. It is a democracy. It is, in my view, a country to be saluted and celebrated.” Completely taken in.
A few months ago Theresa May, if you remember, attacked the successful BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) movement, warning that her government would “have no truck with those who subscribe to it”. 200 legal scholars and practising lawyers from all over Europe promptly pointed out that BDS is lawful freedom of expression and outlawing it undermines a basic human right protected by international convention.
But May is so infatuated with Israel that she never misses a chance to tell everyone how she adores the Zionist entity. It’s time civil society made it clear that we’ll have no truck with her or any other supporter of apartheid and ethnic cleansing. In other words, the Balfour mindset has no place in our society.
This may be a good time to remember George Washington’s wise words: “The nation which indulges towards another a habitual hatred or a habitual fondness is in some degree a slave… a passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils.”
© Stuart Littlewood – 14 November 2017
After working on jet fighters in the RAF Stuart became an industrial marketing specialist with manufacturing companies and consultancy firms. He also “indulged himself” as a newspaper columnist. In politics, he served as a Cambridgeshire county councillor and member of the Police Authority. Now retired he campaigns on various issues and contributes to several online news & opinion sites. An Associate of the Royal Photographic Society, he has produced two photo-documentary books which can be read online at Radiofreepalestine.org.uk and Paperturn-view.com