My Speech in Whitehall Yesterday 115


Not beautifully crafted, but the situation was somewhat hectic. This is not just a blog, which is perhaps why this blog had 81,490 unique visitors in May.

I have the Financial Times delivered every day in deadwood form. It has an absolutely brilliant editorial today. As I pay them a fortune for my subscription, I am going to reproduce it in full without feeling guilt:

Israel is lost at sea

With Monday’s brazen act of piracy, Israel dealt a blow to the legitimacy of its own struggle. The killing of activists aboard the captured ships sent Israel’s way of defending its security, which it was already imperative to return within the bounds of international law, hurtling into lawlessness.

Israel claims the activists had links with extremist groups and that some attacked Israeli soldiers with knives and sticks (and in some accounts the odd light firearm). Even if true, this would not justify the illegal capture of civilian ships carrying humanitarian aid in international waters, let alone the use of deadly force.

Outrageous as this behaviour was, the true outrage is the illegal blockade of Gaza that it enforced. Since the January 2009 Gaza war, which exposed Israel’s determination to destroy Hamas’s capabilities regardless of the cost to innocent Palestinians, Israel and Egypt have colluded to prevent the enclave’s reconstruction. According to the United Nations, three-quarters of the damage has not been repaired and 60 per cent of homes do not have enough food.

The ostensible goal is to weaken Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood offshoot that rules Gaza (and whose Egyptian incarnation is Hosni Mubarak’s only real opposition). But the blockade aimed at crushing it, besides the illegal collective punishment it implies, only shores up Hamas’s support. If Israel and Egypt wanted to turn Gaza into a mafia-run statelet, they could hardly do better than sever any alternatives to Hamas’s smuggling network, leaving the population even more at its mercy.

Hamas engages in terrorism and fires occasional rockets into Israel, but it is an example of that rarest of Middle Eastern species: a popularly elected government. It has also signed up to the 2002 comprehensive peace offer by the Arab League and the Organisation of the Islamic Conference. If this is a bluff, it is one Israel has yet to call. That is what this is ultimately about. Israel’s government has been pretending it is ready to negotiate for peace, but that there is no one to negotiate with on the other side. The attack on the blockade-busters lays bare the country’s slide into contempt for international law, intolerance of dissent and wilful sabotage of viable representation for Palestinians.

Israel has always known the importance of its conduct being judged legal by the world’s leading powers. Those powers ?” in the body of the Quartet and the UN Security Council ?” must now make clear it has gone too far.

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/cab86fe0-6cde-11df-91c8-00144feab49a.html

I was talking overnight to friends in the UK Mission to the United Nations in New York who were personally sickened by the US role in negotiations. The US threatened to veto any statement which named Israel as the attacker. There is not even a mention of Israel in the security council statement. My friend in New York described the attitude of the American negotiators under Obama as even more aggressively and openly pro-Israel than under Bush.

Reviews of Craig Murray’s War on Terror Memoir, “Murder in Samarkand” – published in the US as “Dirty Diplomacy”:

“It really is a magnificent achievement” – Noam Chomsky

“A fearless book by a fearless man. Craig Murray tells the truth whether the “authorities” like it or not. I salute a man of integrity” – Harold Pinter


115 thoughts on “My Speech in Whitehall Yesterday

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  • js

    The best part is radical islamists would love to cut your head off, video tape it and send it out over the internet. Yet, you sit here and extoll their virtues. Awesome.

  • MS

    Can anyone clarify the legality of Israel occupying territories which belonged to other countries before 1967?

    Does that not mean taking territory not theirs by force and therefore not legal?I mean,Germany did that in 1941 and by doing that war was declared.

    How is it acceptable that Israel gets to keep those territories just by calling them ‘occupied territories’?

    (I’m not being daft,it is a genuine question)

  • Ruth

    Sadly 41 Arabs, 28 British citizens, 17 Palestinian Jews, 2 Armenians, 1 Russian, 1 Greek and 1 Egyptian were blown into little bits by Zionists in the King David Hotel bombing.

  • Courtenay Barnett

    @MS,

    “Can anyone clarify the legality of Israel occupying territories which belonged to other countries before 1967?

    Does that not mean taking territory not theirs by force and therefore not legal?I mean,Germany did that in 1941 and by doing that war was declared.”

    De facto they did it.

    De jure there is an acceptance in international law for “Israel” within the pre-1967 boundaries.

    Law and justice are not the same entities. No one at that level gives much consideration to the manifest illegality of the dispossession of the Palestinians onwards.

    Sad, but true.

  • Tony

    Hi “me in US”.

    Another “Quantum Leap” moment I am afraid. We are back in the 1930’s. Many Israeli and more than a few Washington politicians believe they are the Master Race. Once you are the Master Race in your own heads not only can you do anything you like, but you actually must do anything you like. If you are not in the Master Race, then you are scum – in their heads.

    The next “Quantum Leap” effects is that in US politics we are set in the 1950’s in another McCarthy Period of self-induced paranoid lunacy. The departure of Bush and arrival of Obama has made no difference to this self-harming when it comes to foreign policy. McCarthy belonged in the 1950’s and it was not till December 1954 he was finally taken away kicking & screaming to a Funny Farm. McCarthy had Reds everywhere under the bed, now we have Muslims with AK47’s everywhere under the bed.

    Time will sort this out, given a chance. Let us hope Obama can focus attentions on the many very real problems back home rather than allowing his administration to wander so far off course thinking that the most important thing before all else is to flatten the Middle East with military might.

  • Larry from St. Louis

    Tony,

    I live down the street from a very nice mosque.

    You’re an idiot. Both of your attempts at historical parallel are silly failures.

  • Tony

    Larry. I have no doubt you are a sane guy. I have no doubt you live down the road from a very nice mosque. We have one within four miles of here too.

    That does not make me an idiot for observing that the US Administration and Israel’s Administration seem set on a course to crush Muslims and Muslim states in the Middle East. How much more evidence do you want? Palestine is being crushed before our eyes. Iraq has been flattened. Afghanistan is being flattened. Pakistan is being bombed daily. Next on the list is Iran.

    I do not see how these facts make me an idiot. One of the greatest failings in US Administration decision making in foreign policy is to burn history books and not to learn from what has happened in the past. We should learn from others’ mistakes in the past, not strive to repeat them as though they were new experiences.

    Calling people “idiots” is symptomatic of two attitudes – one that you have limited if not no interest in or knowledge of history – two that you consider yourself highly superior to those who happen not to agree with you 100%, 100% of the time. Please take a cold shower and review what the US is doing in the Middle East before you start calling others silly rude playground names.

  • Larry from St. Louis

    Tony,

    You bring up Hitler and McCarthy and you whine when I call you an idiot?

    Palestine is not being crushed. Could you imagine what Hitler would have done with a belligerent Palestine?

    You seem to know nothing of history. Your express and implied historical parallels are completely unsupported by facts.

    “Next on the list is Iran.” When are people like you going to stop saying that?

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Tony, wonderful posts. Thanks for making these superb points.

    If I may venture to suggest, from my experience on, and observation of, this blog over a considerable period of time, that one be wary of engaging with the very few bloggers who themselves refuse to engage with others and whose sole purpose on all threads seems to be disruption and the conveyance of provocative insult, rather than reasoned debate. Responding to them merely allows them to continue to come back and to divert and undermine reasoned analysis. There may be an irruption of precisely the sort to which I am alluding, sometime following this post. But it will be ignored by me. It is of no consequence. What is of consequence is the matter at hand.

    Thanks very much again for your astute comments. Kind regards.

  • Larry from St. Louis

    Failed doctor, you’re obviously easy to please. All one has to do is bring up Hitler and McCarthy and Israel, and in your simple mind that’s a cogent argument.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    See what I mean, Tony.

    Of course, the theme of the thread is: Israel-murder-boats-international waters-international crime-prosecution-sanction-end billions of dollars of US subsidy to Israel. Now.

  • Larry from St. Louis

    Fine, Suhayl, but you explicitly approved of the above “argument” regarding Hitler and McCarthy. You went out of your way to do so.

    Do you really think those were “wonderful posts”?

  • Arsalan

    Larry the Liar is up to his old tricks.

    So here is my reply, Hitler was a Zionist. Zionism and Nazism are the same idiology.

    Israel is today’s Nazi Germany.

    It is time for us to admit, Zionism has to end. The middle East carve up after WW1 has to be reversed, and the Middle east including what some call Israel has to reunify.

    This can be done peacefully, but I don’t think the racist Nazis of Israel will agree to that, or it can be done by other means. To do it by other means the Muslim countries must unite and so should their armies, and remove the racist Zionist system and state.

  • Jon

    Said @js:

    “The best part is radical islamists would love to cut your head off, video tape it and send it out over the internet. Yet, you sit here and extoll their virtues. Awesome.”

    That’s just demonisation, it doesn’t apply to all Palestinians, and the worst feature of such an argument is that it fails to explain what causes the radicalisation in the first place.

    Most people here will condemn Palestinian suicide bombing, or the Palestinian mothers who think that their sons will go to heaven if they blow up a number of Israelis. But it is important to do so in nuanced terms: +why+ do people do such crazy things? And the blockade, and all its murderous effects, is part of the reason why. The ongoing financial support for Israel is also a factor, as is the one-sided preference amongst pro-Israel policymakers in the states. As is the annual permission to spend US aid on the military (no other state is permitted to do so, afaik). And the wider list of countries hurt by US military and economic imperialism, both recent and long gone, is well known and can be researched easily on the internet.

    I don’t support suicide bombings, but given the numbers of Palestinians dead, and the ongoing persistent racism and poverty they experience every day, I can understand why they sometimes turn to terrorism. It is a consequence of madness, or an expression of futility.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Jon, I agree entirely. Interestingly, for all her faults, a few years ago Cherie Blair said exactly the same thing and got roasted for it in the media.

  • glenn

    Suhayl Saadi: Jenny Tong of LD fame in Richmond said more or less the same and got roasted for it the first time, and thrown off the front bench the second.

  • Jon

    Suhayl, Cherie said that? Crumbs, that is a surprise. I thought she must be stark raving mad to stick with her murderous husband despite being her being a human rights lawyer (and despite her colleagues at Matrix Chambers releasing a legal opinion that there was sufficient evidence to impeach him for high crimes and misdemeanours whilst in office).

    That raises my view of her slightly. But I do take strong exception to her, aside from her choice of husband, because she testily responded to a journalist who enquired about their enormous wealth, by saying “I still regard my husband and myself as socialists”. I think it was a Sunday colour supplement interview, from a British paper, and could probably be found on the ‘net.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Oh yeah, I know. She did say that when meeting Queen Noor of Jordan for some charity work – don’t you recall it, Jon, there was a big media storm over it. I’m not defending her in any way – apart from all the sleaze and hypocrisy that came to define the ‘Court of the Blairs’, she also allegedly personally telephoned female Labour MPs to get them to vote for an attack on Iraq , and much else besides – but I rendered it as an illustration of how even the most powerful people can be brought down in an instant if they for one moment dare to criticise Israel.

  • daliya robson

    I thought gaza and hamma s is at war with Israel and wants their compete annilation. Whats the excitement about?

    If all you activists worked for peace for jews as well as gaza all would be well . For now the bloody jews are at war and want to survive ?Any objections?

    daliya robson

  • Margie

    Twenty people dead? You’re wrong all the way through. Intellectual poverty such as yours needs an easy target and you and your ilk have made Israel into your default whipping boy. You don’t even notice Hamas’s declaration that they want to annihilate Israel and Israelis.

    Israel bad

    Hamas good

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