“If opposing Israel is anti-semitism then what do you call supporting a state that has been engaged in brutal ethnic cleansing for seven decades. What does that make you?” It’s a question posed by Miko Peled, an Israeli Jew and son of an Israeli general, former Israeli soldier and now a leading voice in the struggle for Palestinian freedom. You couldn’t find a more authentic insider.
What else has Peled been saying about Israel?
- “The name of the game: erasing Palestine, getting rid of the people and de-Arabizing the country…”
- As for talk about Israel giving up the West Bank for a Palestinian state: “If it wasn’t so sad it would be funny. It shows a complete misunderstanding of the objective of Zionism and the Zionist state…. By 1993 the Israelis had achieved their mission to make the conquest of the West Bank irreversible.”
- Peled also describes the Israeli army, in which he served, as “one of the best trained and best equipped and best fed terrorist organisations in the world.”
So let’s repeat Peled’s question. What does supporting Israel make you when Israel has been busy ethnically cleansing the native Palestinians for seven decades? What should we call people who defend the indefensible?… who admire the despicable?… who applaud the expulsion at gunpoint of peaceable civilians and the confiscation of their homes and land?
Give them a name, one that will stick.
The claim by Conservative Friends of Israel that 80 percent of the party’s MPs and MEPs are members is alarming and reveals how lacking in integrity we are at the heart of government. It puts us almost on a par with US Congress which is almost totally controlled by the Israel lobby through AIPAC.
Being a Friend of Israel, of course, means embracing the whole rotten kit and caboodle, including the terror and racism on which the state of Israel was built. It means embracing the dispossession and oppression of innocent Palestinians. It means embracing the discriminatory laws against those who remain n their homeland. It means embracing the jackboot thuggery that abducts civilians — including children — and imprisons and tortures them without trial. It means embracing the theft and annexation of Palestinian land and water resources, the imposition of hundreds of military checkpoints, severe restrictions on the movement of people and goods, and maximum interference with Palestinian life at every level.
It means approving the bloodbaths inflicted by Israel on Gaza and feeling comfortable with blowing hundreds of children to smithereens, maiming thousands more, trashing vital infrastructure such as hospitals, schools, power plants and clean water supplies, and causing $6bn of devastation that will take 20 years to rebuild. And, by the way, where is the money coming from?
It means embracing the strangulation of the West Bank’s economy and the vicious ten-year blockade on Gaza. It means embracing the denial of Palestinians’ right to self-determination and return to their homes. It means embracing the religious war that humiliates Muslims and Christians and prevents them from visiting their holy places. It means endorsing a situation in which hard-pressed American and British taxpayers are having to subsidise Israel’s illegal occupation of the Holy Land.
And if, after all that, you are still Israel’s special friend, where is your self-respect?
It is ludicrous that a foreign military power which has no regard for international law and rejects weapons conventions and safeguards can exert such influence on foreign policy in the US and UK. Pandering to Israel has been immensely costly in blood and treasure and stupidly damaging to our reputation.
Everyone outside the Westminster/Washington bubble knows perfectly well that there can be no peace in the Holy Land without justice. In other words no peace until the occupation ends. Everyone knows that international law and countless UN resolutions still wait to be enforced. Everyone knows that Israel won’t comply unless sanctions are imposed. Everyone knows that the siege on Gaza won’t be lifted until warships are sent.
What’s more, everyone now knows that the US is not an honest broker, Israel wants to keep the pot boiling and justice won’t come from more sham ‘negotiations’. Nor will peace. Everyone knows who is the real cause of turmoil in the Middle East. And everyone knows that Her Majesty’s Government’s hand-wringing and empty words serve no purpose except to prolong the daily misery for Palestinians and buy time for Israel to complete its criminal scheme to make the occupation permanent.
Churchgoing British prime minister Theresa May praises Israel for being “a thriving democracy, a beacon of tolerance” when it is obviously neither. It’s an obnoxious ethnocracy. She says our two countries share “common values” when we obviously don’t — although her rotten party probably does.
Given the Israeli regime’s endless crimes against humanity and cruelty to the rightful inhabitants of the Holy Land her remarks are insulting to anyone who lives by Christian values. She even claims that Israel is a country where people of all religions “are free and equal in the eyes of the law” and “Israel guarantees the rights of people of all religions, races and sexualities, and it wants to enable everyone to flourish”. Her ignorance in these matters rivals Trump’s.
And May would do well to call off her efforts to ciminalise the successful BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) campaign. She warns that her government will “have no truck with those who subscribe to it”. But Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights bestows on everyone “the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers”. So she boobs even on that.
In an interview with Jonas Alexis, Miko Peled sounds upbeat about BDS. As long as Israel has a blank cheque from the US and the UK and is undefeatable militarily and diplomatically, BDS “is possibly the only positive change one can point to at this time.”
Many of us have urged beefing up BDS, extending its reach and orchestrating its efforts globally. There seems no other way to force the spineless international community to finally impose the sanctions they should have slapped on Israel decades ago.
It has got to the point where I wouldn’t mind seeing individuals among the political élites targeted by BDS if they deserve it. And many of them surely do.
3 January 2018