Why we should welcome Cameron’s comments on Gaza


5:42 pm - July 28th 2010

by Sunny Hundal    


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The only problem with Cameron calling Israel Gaza a massive “prison camp” is that it doesn’t go far enough. Israel is still building illegal settlements that have all but destroyed any chance of Palestinian confidence in their intentions and the chance of peace.

But nevertheless, even such a small move is important, and unless it is loudly supported by those who want peace in the Middle East, Cameron will only hear pro-Israel frothing from the Tories and Labour.

That will only make him retreat. If we want him to go further, we must support even the baby steps.

It amusing how similar the response to Cameron has been: everyone from ConservativeHome, John Rentoul, P. Staines have posted the same shiny, happy photos from Gaza.

But how about we look at some facts instead?

A few months ago, prior to the Israel’s attack on the aid Flotilla, they tried a PR offensive that put a similar gloss on life in Gaza.

But it was quickly exposed as rubbish in this report:

In the report the Israeli army official admits that over 70% of people in Gaza are in absolute poverty. Unemployment is over 60%.

Aid into Gaza until recently amounted to 4kgs of food per person per week.

Also, it’s rather one-sided of the Guardian to only find right-wing critics of Cameron’s statement. Here is Julian Kossoff from the Telegraph:

But the fact is not even Israel’s greatest allies can stomach the more brutal aspects of Israel’s conflict with Hamas. Israel’s leaders may not be able to distinguish between terrorists and innocent civilians but the rest of the world thinks it can – and it won’t countenance the continued, pointless suffering, any longer.
That doesn’t mean the likes of Cameron and Obama are “anti-Israel” (or even more ridiculous, anti-Semitic) or that they want to jeopardise its security. Both men’s commitment to the future of the Jewish state is unquestionable, they just want Israel to show a little more compassion. And so do I.

The frothing-at-the-mouth brigade, who cannot stomach any criticism of Israel whatsoever, simply help the entire Middle East stay in perpetual state of war.

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Story Filed Under: Blog ,Foreign affairs ,Middle East

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Reader comments


Fair play to call me Dave on this one. But it won’t last. Mad Mel and the pro Israel lobby will soon be telling him the facts of life. IE Don’t say anything bad about Israel or anything good about Palestine.

@2

why?

4. Dick the Prick

Yeah, quite agree in broad terms. It’s been a bit illuminating reading the blog messages from the speccie & guido though (and Old Holborn’s steady & relentless disgust at Israel) in that no-one seems to offer any inclination as to why he said it. To whom was he appealing? There aren’t any votes in it – it’s hardly gonna make Labourites think he’s a good lad. The EU expansion thing is drivel that the Turksih press have slam-dunked. Is he just on a bullshit mission to the rest of the world to get a few headlines a la Blair?

Sure, he can say what he wants, get the headlines and then proceed directly to do sweet FA about it but considering that the ruptures in the co-alition can now be timed & pinpointed – CSR October, AV & regional & local elections next May, is he in any way serious. When Vince calls the immigration cap bollox (when he’s in the same room as Cammo) – I just don’t get it. Bibi told Obama to sod off a few months ago so at what level does he think that they’re gonna give a monkeys what dave thinks? It’s almost as if Israel in some way welcome international oppribrium in that it encourages self reliance. Armanidinnerjacket does the same whenever he’s got elections looming – pick a fight, any fight, stand tough.

yeah, welcome but at this stage, slightly wiffy!

This is common purpose

http://www.cpexposed.com/

To whom was he appealing? There aren’t any votes in it – it’s hardly gonna make Labourites think he’s a good lad.

Well, there are centrists on foreign policy too, hard as it is to believe. Besides, it syncs more with Obama’s policy to try and put pressure on Israel to change its position on the settlements.

Bibi told Obama to sod off a few months ago so at what level does he think that they’re gonna give a monkeys what dave thinks?

If the general atmosphere is that Europe and the US are increasingly disconcerted with Israel’s actions – either Israel retreats back into its own shell, which will backfire, or it listens to it friends.

@5

Um, that website links to David Icke and a weirdo right-wing thing called “nhsexposed”. It also calls David Miliband a “Marxist”(!) so forgive me if I don’t take it too seriously… It seems like yet another oh-noes-the-world-is-a-evil-marxist-plot conspiracy website, frankly.

8. Doc Trough

I am certain that less than 2% of the electorate know anything abot Common Purpose. Would like to see parties extramural ambitions and affililiations clearly laid out and fully explained in manifestos. Not having it ffs.

9. Dick the Prick

@6 – Sunny. Yeah, I guess you’re quite right there – certainly food for thought.

@7 Mr S Pill – Common Purpose is a bit of a bete noir in that it’s claimed that they’re the enemy within. Someone sent me a database with loads of public body officers names on it a few months ago, what courses they’d attended and which organisation paid for it. I dunno – there’s no transparency about it and absolutely zero democratic accountability – officers helping officers. I completely disagree with it and its authority is somewhat disgusting as they become life-long alumni. Kind of like the Masons but without the charity work.

@9

Are there any reputable (ie: not batshit crazy tinfoil hat wearing swivel eyed wingnut (*you get the idea*) conspiracy theorists) sources regarding common purpose? first I’ve heard of ’em.

I found myself agreeing with a lot of what Young Dave said. The impression was only reinforced when Iain Dale started banging on about his speech having been written by FO “Arabists”, which is verging on paranoia.

I reckon Cameron wrote most, if not all, of that himself.

You quote Paul Staines’ typically clueless take on this: why not encourage him to go for a beer on the beach in Gaza, as he suggests? See how he enjoys his can of Maccabi when it comes with a landmine up the jacksy.

12. Dick the Prick

@10 – sort of. I accidently got a bit drunk on a Friday lunchtime and bumped into the chief scrutiny officer who I knew was a ‘graduate’ (I shit you not, they call themselves graduates) and he really shat himself that it was public domain. They run under the banner of ‘leadership academies’ or some other drivel and they get speakers in (usually weekend per month) but it’s the networking that’s the main thing. A self perpetuating, publicly funded, nominations only, insidious organisation. I think a lot of the stuff out there is tin foil hat stuff and certainly the list of members is widely available in Tory circles but it’s the fact that these guys can form friendships over regions, within roughly the same line of work, gossip, whinge, berate & generally create an opinion of themselves that is wholly illegitimate when dealing with the democratic process.

It was kinda my job to mistrust everyone and, ultimately I guess, I got killed by officers but I just don’t like clubs, internally paid for and secretive. It really is a dodgy organisation and, other than that, I don’t really care any more.

@12

“A self perpetuating, publicly funded, nominations only, insidious organisation.”

Sounds like all political parties and community orgs, to an extent 😉 it does sound a bit shitty but nothing more than to be expected, I don’t go with the whole conspiracy nonsense (even from my own side regarding ruling elites etc) so I guess this is just a storm in a teacup really.

14. Richard W

Dave’s comments in Turkey and visit to India has to be seen in the whole context of the ConDem plan to increase net exports. To put it bluntly it does not serve British interests to be seen to be too closely aligned with Israel. There is more business to be gained from increasing trade with the rest of the Middle East. Take a look at Arab demographics to see how big a market it is becoming. The British relationship with Israel no longer serves much purpose but it is a barrier to British interests. Therefore, condemning Israel and being more evenhanded will be an increasing British response.

India is now the second biggest investor in the UK, trailing only the US. Currying favour with India by having a dig at Pakistan serves the British interest.

“India is now the second biggest investor in the UK, trailing only the US. Currying favour with India by having a dig at Pakistan serves the British interest.”

But isn’t that dig at Pakistan, however merited it is, as likely to alienate potential customers in the Middle East?

16. Dick the Prick

@13 – I dunno, if you’re in a political party then it’s a necessity to publicize it. If you’re an employee then cabals should be functional. It’s being monitored though, so……

Have any of the Labour candidates said anything about Gaza? Or are they neocons to a person?

The only problem with Cameron calling Israel a massive “prison camp”

…is that he didn’t.

19. Oh Reilly?

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jacob-shrybman/gaza-strip-mall-did-the-e_b_650362.html

Oh please, how much longer will you people promote this guff about poor impoverished Gaza??

20. FlyingRodent

…how much longer will you people promote this guff about poor impoverished Gaza??

I think at least three more comment links to that supermarket will make us all realise that Gaza must be a lovely place. What are the property prices like? I might just move there myself, since they have a shopping mall.

On this tangent, I’ve also seen photos of people going about their business in Sderot, for instance, without being terrorised by rockets from Gaza – ergo, there are no rockets and terrorism is just a media invention. Right?

This kind of stuff is easy, when you know how.

It’s been a bit illuminating reading the blog messages from the speccie & guido though (and Old Holborn’s steady & relentless disgust at Israel) in that no-one seems to offer any inclination as to why he said it. To whom was he appealing? There aren’t any votes in it – it’s hardly gonna make Labourites think he’s a good lad.

I suspect, with relation to both Gaza and Pakistan comments (and, in fact the ‘junior partner’ comment in the US), he said them because they are what he believes.

There’s an argument that certain obvious truths (the ISI has been assisting the Taliban for 20 years; Israel’s actions in Gaza and the occupied settlements are, at best, counter-productive; Britain and the US have had a thoroughly unequal relationship for 60 odd years) shouldn’t be said because they are undiplomatic. But there’s an equally good argument that difficult or unpalatable truths are none the less true, and it’s patronising for politicians to pretend they don’t exist.

not long came back from israel/i was talking to a few people from both sides of the border.it looks a bit one sided the truth be told.cant see it being settled for a long time sadly.

@22 Tim

I think there is a lot in what you say, altho I’m too suspicious of Tory motives to take Callme Dave’s “down home” homilies at face value.

The criticism here of his junior partner commet revolved more around the fact it appeared to relate to the relative efforts of the UK and US during WW2 didn’t it, rather than it being a startling re-assessment of the relative positions since? In truth the “special relationship” has always been more special to the UK than it has to the US. What actual advantages in terms or “realpolitik” has being so closely aligned to US interests brought us? It’s not as if we get any particular economic benefits or special treatment when compared with e.g. Germany or France et al.

Similarly with his comments about India, it makes sense in general geo-political and economic terms. Pakistan is effectively a failed state, and has been ever since it was formed.. it’s rarely been under civilian rule for long, and even when it has it’s been unstable and hopelessly corrupt. the armed forces and sinister groups like the ISA represent more or less a state within a state. The tragedy for Pakistan, and muslim states in general, is that they never managed to transform themselves into a moderate, functioning democracy. The UK and indeed the West in general would be far better served promoting India economically and politically than either Pakistan or China.

Israel has always complained that the FO was a nest of Arabists, and there may have been some justice to the claim. However recent history has indeed shown that much of Israeli policy is counter productive, and that the failure of the US, UK and others to exert sufficient pressure on the Israelis to compromise, on the Arabs to accept Israel’s right to exist and a 2 state solution, and our supine acceptance of odious anti-democratic regimes in the Arab world, has simply poured petrol on the flames, and given ammunition to islamists claiming we are bent on the destruction of their faith/way of life.

The criticism here of his junior partner commet revolved more around the fact it appeared to relate to the relative efforts of the UK and US during WW2 didn’t it, rather than it being a startling re-assessment of the relative positions since?

It was probably because he fluffed the delivery. In the article for the WSJ he referred to the UK having been the junior partner since the 1940s – which is demonstrably and unambiguously accurate. In the interviews he said since 1940 – which is much more debatable. There’s still a reasonable case to make for it (the destroyers for bases deal being a prime example of unequal bargaining positions) but in my opinion it unfairly downplays the role played by Britain in 1940-41.

26. FlyingRodent

…much of Israeli policy is counter productive

I’m not really sure about this. Recent Israeli policy would certainly be counter-productive if we assumed that its aim is to foster a lasting peace settlement based upon concessions and the creation of a stable, non-insane Palestinian state that could have at least lukewarm relations with Israel. Why, that would make no sense at all.

On the other hand, if the point is to quietly hoover up as much land as possible in the west bank by a publicly regretted but privately endorsed building programme that’s 100% aimed at thwarting any prospect of a functional Palestinian state… While intentionally immiserating 1.5 million Gazans in the hope that they’ll bugger off, well, it makes perfect sense. In fact, it makes so much sense that the only logical conclusion is that this is what the Israelis are actually doing.

I mean, the fallout from the Mavi Marmara incident, for instance, is this – Turkey are annoyed; the Americans stampede through an agreement allowing the Israelis to investigate themselves; Some Europeans indicate that they aren;t pleased and the Israeli government bluntly tell each and every one of them to fuck off for their troubles. I imagine Bibi will be able to live with that.

Summary – Cameron is a horrible little tit, but he’s done us the basic respect of not openly lying to our faces about Israel/Palestine, which is more than that fork-tongued, bomb-happy arse Tony Blair managed in a decade. A positive step, I think.

27. Dick the Prick

@24 – Galen 10

“Pakistan is effectively a failed state, and has been ever since it was formed.. it’s rarely been under civilian rule for long, and even when it has it’s been unstable and hopelessly corrupt. the armed forces and sinister groups like the ISA represent more or less a state within a state. The tragedy for Pakistan, and muslim states in general, is that they never managed to transform themselves into a moderate, functioning democracy”.

Sod that for a game of soldiers – any management is better than no management at all and if it’s a choice between martial law and theocratic mayhem then i’d plump for the former. I’m loving China’s prosperity, they’re being forced out into the open and have to make decisions on stuff rather than being insular and worried about the Ruskies. Kashmir’s still hanging about though, ready for a war in a few years probably. Anyway, screw Pakistan – what about Bangladesh? That ain’t a failed state, it’s a fucked state.

@4: Bibi told Obama to sod off a few months ago so at what level does he think that they’re gonna give a monkeys what dave thinks?

Bibi doesn’t care what Dave thinks, because Bibi thinks Dave (and Europe in general) are merely windbags. But if the EU were to credibly threaten sanctions against Israel, Israel would soon dance to a different tune.

So I welcome what Cameron said about Israel.

Regarding Cameron’s detractors such as Conservative Friends of Israel, is it really appropriate for Conservatives to be friends of a country that forges British passports and abducts our citizens on the high seas? I think it’s rather unpatriotic of them.

@4; no-one seems to offer any inclination as to why he said it

I hate to break it to you, but politicians do actually sometimes say things because they believe them, not because they think they can gain some advantage from it 🙂


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Liberal Conspiracy

    We should welcome Cameron's views on Gaza http://bit.ly/daEoEW

  2. Tom Wheatcroft

    RT @libcon: We should welcome Cameron's views on Gaza http://bit.ly/daEoEW

  3. sunny hundal

    Why se should welcome Cameron's comments on the Gaz crisis: http://bit.ly/daEoEW

  4. sunny hundal

    Why we should welcome Cameron's comments on the Gaza crisis: http://bit.ly/daEoEW

  5. Symon Turner

    RT @sunny_hundal: Why we should welcome Cameron's comments on the Gaza crisis: http://bit.ly/daEoEW

  6. House Of Twits

    RT @sunny_hundal Why we should welcome Cameron's comments on the Gaza crisis: http://bit.ly/daEoEW

  7. Old Holborn

    RT @libcon We should welcome Cameron’s views on Gaza http://bit.ly/acLe6v

  8. Dez

    “@sunny_hundal: Why we should welcome Cameron's comments on the Gaza crisis: http://bit.ly/daEoEW”

  9. Tony Davis

    RT @libcon: We should welcome Cameron's views on Gaza http://bit.ly/daEoEW

  10. andrew

    Why we should welcome Cameron's comments on Gaza | Liberal Conspiracy: it does sound a bit shitty but nothing more… http://bit.ly/agCQk9





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