Dont vote Liberal Democrat if you value Israel

Just when I have my mind on starting another thread George Galloway has hit the headlines yet again. If this man could divide himself into three it wouldn’t be enough.

George is a sometime TV personality, a Respect Party MP, a Radio presenter, a newspaper columnist and one of the most committed pro-Palestinian activists this country has seen. He would fit in well with Liberal Democrat foreign policy but he did an Ariel Sharon and set up his own party after leaving Labour.

Last year on a speaking tour of North America he was banned from entering Canada and now he has been deported from Egypt, according to activists, having tried to get back to the Rafah crossing into Gaza to join the Viva Palestina convoy that crossed into Gaza on wednesday, after much violence and the death of an Egyptian border guard at the hands of a Palestinian sniper.

But why do so many normally reasonably minded people in the world not get what Israel and Egypt both get: That Gaza is trouble.

True, the people of Gaza are hemmed in. But that does not mean they are not receiving basic provisions. As Jonathan Hoffman has reported, in December alone:

– Six more water desalination systems were transferred to the Gaza Strip;
– 15 truckloads of cellular communications equipment were delivered to the Palestinian mobile phone carrier, Jawal;
– Strawberries and flowers were exported;
– Glass was brought in for home repairs and renovations in preparation for the winter;
– 750 tons of aggregate were transferred for maintenance of the North Gaza Wastewater Treatment plant.
– 2179 truckloads (48,237 tons) of humanitarian aid entered via the Kerem Shalom cargo terminal and the Karni conveyor belt.
– 7,173,468 litres of heavy-duty diesel for the Gaza power station and 2276 tons of cooking gas were delivered via the Kerem Shalom crossing and the Nahal Oz fuel depot.

But then you have the leader of one of our more respectable political parties, Nick Clegg MP of the Liberal Democrats, also being consistently anti-Israel.

Nick Clegg MP, Liberal Democrat leader.

For many years this hasn’t mattered but with the British general election in June this year expected to be close we could find the Conservatives or Labour (i.e. the biggest party but not big enough to form a majority) trying to entice the Libs into coalition and one of the jobs offered to the Libdems could be that of Foreign Secretary. Worryingly, David Cameron has suggested that he would work with the Liberal Democrats in coalition.

And the current Liberal Democrat Shadow Foreign Secretary is Ed Davey, who has called on the British Government to act on the Goldstone Report which has accused Israel of committing war crimes during the Gaza War.

Ed Davey MP, Liberal Democrat Shadow Foreign Secretary

It is worrying for Israel that a party of only 63 MPs and 11 MEPs (one of whom, Chris Davies MEP for North West England, told a Jewish constituent that he hoped she enjoyed wallowing in her own filth) is so packed with anti-Israel polemicists.

Then there are Lord Steel of Aikwood, the former leader and Baroness Tonge, who recently said: “The way Israel behaves is just not kosher. Jewish people should be totally ashamed of themselves that they are not doing more to stop them. It’s absolutely disgusting.”

Sarah Teather, the Liberal Democrat MP for Brent East, is also a regular at anti-Israel events.

And now to Nick Clegg, the current leader. He just doesn’t get Gaza or how dangerous it is. If both Israel and Egypt think Gaza is dangerous (both are building walls to keep the terrorists out of these respective countries) what right does Mr Clegg have to call for a complete ban on the sale of arms to Israel, which he did last January when Israel was fighting Hamas.

Now he has called for a lifting of the blockade of Gaza by both Israel and Egypt as if this is all just some big game.

The Liberal Democrats have always been anti-Israel (it still amazes me how many Jews vote for them) but putting the civilians of another country at risk by not selling the country arms to defend itself against Islamist terrorists illustrates how misguided these polticians are.

This thursday afternoon Kassam rockets were once again hitting Israel’s southern towns.

The Kassams were fired by the Popular Resistance Committee. Luckily, no one was injured but Israel hit back and, once again, has dropped thousands of leaflets telling the people of Gaza not to co-operate with the terrorists or approach the security wall.

William Gladstone, Liberal Party founder

The Liberal Democrats have some very reasonably minded people in their party, including Vince Cable and Chris Huhne, and a small but active Liberal Democrat Friends of Israel. But a few individuals apart it is a shame that the party founded by William Gladstone has been brought so low that it can call for a country like Israel, which is defending itself against brutal terrorists who target innocent civilians, to be essentially disarmed.

Things are, sadly, hotting up again on Israel’s southern border and when Israel has to fight Hamas again and Britain has a new government with, possibly, Ed Davey as its Foreign Secretary, don’t be surprised if Britain’s support, minimal as it is now, becomes totally non-existent.

The Liberal Democrats may have some interesting and innovative domestic policies but their biased musings on the Middle East conflict will not contribute to peace in any way, shape or form.

10 responses to “Dont vote Liberal Democrat if you value Israel

  1. Jonathan Hoffman

    Nice article Richard

  2. Sorry, find this article slightly ludicrous – there is more to all parties than the views of a few and to portray people as being against the existance of a state because they criticise the actions of it’ government is pretty nasty stuff.

    Reading this article and re-reading and then dipping into some of the other postings I realise that it’s a pretty crude attempt to scare people off of voting Liberal Democrat full-stop and not per-se about Israel.

    Nasty attackdog stuff and a shame really. It helps neither Israel nor Palestinians nor the wider middle-east.

    Perhaps it’s easy to type a blog – but some of us are trying to deepen our knowledge, make links, generate dialogues. Ranting on line is fun but dangerous and in terms of the greater goal certainly negative and probably detrimental.

    Ed

  3. Mike Plosker

    Interesting, informative and worrying.

  4. richardmillett

    Ed, I suggested voting Libdem in the Council Elections so I can hardly be accused of trying to scare people off voting Libdem full stop.

    But if the Libdems form a coalition and Ed Davey becomes Foreign Secretary, which isn’t too far fetched, then the ramifications for Israel, based on both his and Nick Clegg’s constant ranting against Israel, is very worrying for Israel and for the peace process.

  5. Interestingly, Richard, in 1973, when Israel fought for its life in the Yom Kippur War, Britain’s Conservative Government imposed an arms embargo on Israel. That so-called friend of Israel Margaret Thatcher imposed a similar embargo on Israel in 1982 after the Lebanon War – it was only rescinded many years later under John Major. And William Hague has been berated in some quarters for attacking what he calls Israel’s “disproportionate” actions in Lebanon and Gaza in recent years.

    Given that our current Labour Government’s problems re:- Israel (on food labelling, on arrest warrants for visiting Israelis and on the EU’s approach to Jerusalem) are too many to mention, friends of Israel should surely have questions to ask of all parties, and not just of my party, the Liberal Democrats.

    Regarding my colleague Ed Davey, for whom I have a high regard, here is his speech as Shadow Foreign Secretary at our last party conference, in September 2009: http://www.libdems.org.uk/press_releases_detail.aspx?title=Speech%3A_Edward_Davey_delivers_his_speech_to_Liberal_Democrat_Conference&pPK=98180c8e-0a03-4cc1-8a83-7e2769bd086e. This speech includes much that any friend of Israel would applaud.

    But let’s also remember that in March 2009, Nick Clegg became the ONLY party leader to call on the UK Government to boycott the next month’s Durban II Conference. That Ed Davey wrote this perfectly balanced article (http://www.totallyjewish.com/news/special_reports/?content_id=10747) after visiting the Middle East with Lib Dem Friends of Israel in 2008.

    Let’s recall that Liberal Democrats have always been committed to Israel’s right to thrive in peace and security, alongside a viable Palestinian state, as part of a negotiated two-state solution (http://www.libdems.org.uk/documents_detail.aspx?title=Lib_Dems_call_for_real_action_to_help_the_people_of_Gaza&pPK=507f84b7-17bf-42e5-8d0e-466e6c0d816e). That the Liberal Democrats, and no other party, passed a party conference motion condemning the proposed academic boycott of Israel (http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1189411422298&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FPrinter).

    Yes, Chris Davies is a Lib Dem MEP, but so is Sarah Ludford, who has received an award from the Israeli Ambassador.

    And if you want to know about Liberal Democrat Friends of Israel, details of our last party conference fringe meeting are at: http://www.scribd.com/doc/20529129/Middle-East-Peace-%E2%80%9Ca-When-Not-an-If%E2%80%9D-Says-US.

    I am proud to be a Liberal Democrat friend of Israel, standing shoulder to shoulder with those pro-peace Israeli liberals who count Shimon Peres as their leader, and who include in their ranks many Israeli citizens who have served valiantly in the IDF. It is perfectly possible to understand Israel’s security needs, to support the tough measures that Israel sometimes takes, while also not being an uncritical supporter of everything done by a right-wing Israeli government. If you don’t believe me, just ask Ami Ayalon – a former commander of the Israeli navy and former head of the Shin Bet, who takes exactly the sort of pro-peace line for which my party is being criticised. Is he now to be accused of not “valuing Israel”?

  6. Matthew is right to the extent that the alternative parties can be no less unfriendly to Israel at its times of greatest need. The problem is that across the political class, there is too often a willingness to indulge in lazy thinking which reflects an Arabist line: that peace relies on Israeli territorial concessions, that a two state solution is a panacaea, settlements are illegal, condemnation of disproportionate force etc. I see little difference between mainstream Labour and Liberal Democrats in this sense whereas, in the Conservative party, opinion is polarised between Arabist right wingers with romantic perceptions of the Arab world and Atlanticists with a firmer understanding of Israel’s cause.

  7. richardmillett

    Jeremy, it is one thing being critical of Israel but calling for it to be disarmed is surely on another planet. And with the prospect of either Nick Clegg or Ed Davey as Foreign Minister in a coalition government this a worrying possibility.

  8. Michael Cohen

    “Reading this article and re-reading and then dipping into some of the other postings I realise that it’s a pretty crude attempt to scare people off of voting Liberal Democrat full-stop and not per-se about Israel.” How do you come to that conclusion Ed? In this article all of the Criticism about the Lib Dems relates to there attitide towards Israel

  9. Pingback: Love Jews, Hate Israel. « RichardMillett's Blog

  10. UK liberals are a spent force but now hold the country to ransome on PR. They want PR for Westminster so that small parties and even clowns can have a voice in Parliament. It also opens the way for extremist groups and parties as is the case in Austria, Holland and other EU countries. They talked about many issues but now after the May 2010 election and hung parliament want nothing but agreement on having PR with the other parties as a condition for coalition. The Liberals should be exposed for what they really are and ethnic minorities including Jewish people should be outspoken against them. They clearly want to have any one in the British Parliament because they say that that’s democracy. It surprises me to learn that they can get some nutters from minority ethnic groups to stand for them in election.