The US Justification for Extra-Judicial State Murders Outside of Jurisdiction

Sometimes I come across bloggers who are much better than me. This is one of those times.

This is an absolutely brilliant post from emptywheel. The argument is this. Israel claims its standoff with Hamas is the equivalent to an armed conflict in international law, entitling it to take naval action on the high seas. Equally, the US claims its “War on Terror” is equivalent to a formal armed conflict, justifying its extra judicial killings particularly by aerial drone.

This US argument has just been comprehensively rejected by the United Nations in a comprehensive legal report issued this week.

Read the emptywheel piece, and then consider this from the Washington Post:

Commanders are developing plans for increasing the use of such forces in Somalia, where a Special Operations raid last year killed the alleged head of al-Qaeda in East Africa. Plans exist for preemptive or retaliatory strikes in numerous places around the world, meant to be put into action when a plot has been identified, or after an attack linked to a specific group.

The surge in Special Operations deployments, along with intensified CIA drone attacks in western Pakistan, is the other side of the national security doctrine of global engagement and domestic values President Obama released last week.

One advantage of using “secret” forces for such missions is that they rarely discuss their operations in public. For a Democratic president such as Obama, who is criticized from either side of the political spectrum for too much or too little aggression, the unacknowledged CIA drone attacks in Pakistan, along with unilateral U.S. raids in Somalia and joint operations in Yemen, provide politically useful tools.

Obama, one senior military official said, has allowed “things that the previous administration did not.”

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Evidence of Organised Zionist Trolling?

Statcounter has been throwing up some very curious statistics in the last few days. A large number of individuals are coming to the site and staying on it for perhaps four or five hours, hopping exclusively between recent articles about the Gaza convoy. Strangely, all the users with that profile use Firefox not IE, and if they come via a search engine usually arrive on the site via a Yahoo search not a google search.

Download file

Now this is from a significant sample – 500 – and the sample changes in real time, but Firefox has been ahead all the time for the last three days. I have never before seen Firefox even come close to overtake IE among readers of this blog in the five years it has been running – which makes sense if you consider IE has a three times larger market share.

I don’t think I have seen yahoo overtake google before in terms of search engine used to find us either.

All of which leads me to think that for two days we have been targeted by a substantial group of people using standard issue software. We have also been under continual spam attack – there were over 10,000 items of apparently random spam removed yesterday.

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The 4.45pm Link

“The Zionist Federation together with the English Defence League demonstrated opposite the Israeli embassy in support of the Israeli Defence Force action against the Gaza aid flotilla”

Whatever its initial aspirations, the State of Israel has become a vicious racist entity. As you can see by its friends.

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Convoy Murders, Iraq Invasion, and the Zionist Lobby

Commenters may wish to dig around on this one. Just how precise a correlation is there between media supporters of the illegal invasion of Iraq, and media supporters of the illegal attack on the Gaza convoy?

Take both old and new media into account. I think you will find the correlation is approaching 100% – and is a much higher correlation in the media than among politicians.

Now how do you explain this?


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Rachel Corrie To Put In

The Free Gaza movement has just announced that they are sending their ship, the Rachel Corrie, to a port to have a check up in view of apparent Israeli sabotage of some other freedom flotilla ships even ahead of the murderous attacks.

So we are going to make sure the Rachel Corrie is well protected and that Israel is put on notice that anything that happens to her, the passengers and the crew will rest with Israel. As a result of these threats, we’re going to pull Rachel Corrie into a port, add more high-profile people on board, and insist that journalists from around the world also come with us.

I do hope that by well protected they mean physically. Boarding a moving ship from boat or helicopter is not easy, and can be made almost impossible with imaginative deployment of purely defensive measures like razor wire around the rails and razor wire interspersed with sharp metal spikes on open decks.

Interestingly the Free Gaza website is still referring to the Mavi Marmar as Turkish fflagged.

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Why Was the Mavi Marmara Reflagged Just Before Sailing?

Contrary to virtually all media reports to date, it appears the Mavi Marmara was reflagged from Turkey to the Comoros Islands around 20 May, shortly before heading the peace flotilla.

This is very important. While the Israeli attack remains illegal, it means that the injured party – and the party with legal jurisdiction over the event – is the incapable Comoros Islands rather than the highly capable Turkey. It also greatly reduces the NATO angle, unless other attacked ships were flying the Turkish flag.

But the question must be why on earth was the flag changed just before sailing, and who instigated it?

Flags of convenience are normally adopted for purely commercial reasons to escape regulations of s “serious” flag state like the UK or US, in particular on issues like rates of pay, union recognition, working conditions and hours etc. The Turkish owned merchant fleet uses flags of convenience much less than other advance nations – possibly from national pride, possibly because Turkish regulations are not too onerous anyway.

But it would seem remarkable if the owners of the ship decided for commercial reasons to switch flags just before sailing in the “Peace flotilla”. It is on the face of it a remarkably foolish decision. Did the Turkish governrnent influence it to lessen the political responsibility of Turkey in any incident? Did Israel manage to influence the owners in any way? Is the vessel leased? Who are the owners, and just why did they do this?

None of this masks the illegality of Israel attacking a ship under any foregin flag in international waters. But bluntly, it was a stupid decision in practice by the protestors to set sail in a Comoros flagged ship.

Fortunately the MV Rachel Corrie is Irish registered, and the flag state (Ireland) has already shown it takes its duty seriously by telling the Israeli government it expects the Rachel Corrie to pass unhindered.

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Why San Remo Does Not Apply

Every comments thread on every internet site on the world which has discussed the Israeli naval murders, has been inundated by organised ZIonist commenters stating that the Israeli action was legal under the San Remo Manual of International Law Applicable to Armed Conflicts at Sea.

They ignore those parts of San Remo that specifically state that it is illegal to enforce a general blockade on an entire population. But even apart from that, San Remo simply does not apply.

The manual relates specifically to legal practice in time of war. With whom is Israel at war?

There is no war.

Israeli apologists have gone on to say they are in a state of armed conflict with Gaza.

Really? In that case, why do we continually hear Israeli complaints about rockets fired from Gaza into Israel? If it is the formal Israeli position that it is in a state of armed conflict with Gaza, then Gaza has every right to attack Israel with rockets.

But in fact, plainly to the whole world, the nature and frequency of Israeli complaints about rocket attacks gives evidence that Israel does not in fact believe that a situation of armed conflict exists.

Secondly, if Israel wishes to claim it is in a state of armed conflict with Gaza, then it must treat all of its Gazan prisoners as prisoners of war entitled to the protections of the Geneva Convention. If you are in a formal state of armed conflict, you cannot categorise your opponents as terrorists.

But again, it is plain for the world to see from its treatment and description of Gazan prisoners that it does not consider itself to be in a formal position of armed conflict.

Israel is seeking to pick and choose which bits of law applicable to armed conflict it applies, by accepting or not accepting it is in armed conflcit depending on the expediency of the moment.

I have consistently denounced Hamas rocket attacks into Israel. I have categorised them as terrorism. If Israel wishes now to declare it is in armed conflcit with Gaza, I withdraw my opposition and indeed would urge Hamas to step up such attacks to the maximum.

Does Israel really wish to justify its latest action by declaring it is at war with Gaza? That is what the invocation of San Remo amounts to.

Craig Murray is a former British Ambassador. He is also a former Head of the Maritime Section of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. He negotiated the UK’s current maritime boundaries with Ireland, Denmark (Faeroes), Belgium and France, and boundaries of the Channel Islands, Turks and Caicos and British Virgin Islands. He was alternate Head of the UK Delegation to the UN Preparatory Commission on the Law of the Sea. He was Head of the FCO Section of the Embargo Surveillance Centre, enforcing sanctions on Iraq, and directly responsible for clearance of Royal Navy boarding operations in the Persian Gulf.

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

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Israeli Murders, NATO and Afghanistan


I was in the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office for over 20 years and a member of its senior management structure for six years, I served in five countries and took part in 13 formal international negotiations, including the UN Convention of the Law of the Sea and a whole series of maritime boundary treaties. I headed the FCO section of a multidepartmental organisation monitoring the arms embargo on Iraq.

I am an instinctively friendly, open but unassuming person who always found it easy to get on with people, I think because I make fun of myself a lot. I have in consequence a great many friends among ex-colleagues in both British and foregin diplomatic services, security services and militaries.

I lost very few friends when I left the FCO over torture and rendition. In fact I seemed to gain several degrees of warmth with a great many acquantances still on the inside. And I have become known as a reliable outlet for grumbles, who as an ex-insider knows how to handle a discreet and unintercepted conversation.

What I was being told last night was very interesting indeed. NATO HQ in Brussels is today a very unhappy place. There is a strong understanding among the various national militaries that an attack by Israel on a NATO member flagged ship in international waters is an event to which NATO is obliged – legally obliged, as a matter of treaty – to react.

I must be plain – nobody wants or expects military action against Israel. But there is an uneasy recognition that in theory that ought to be on the table, and that NATO is obliged to do something robust to defend Turkey.

Mutual military support of each other is the entire raison d’etre of NATO. You must also remember that to the NATO military the freedom of the high seas guaranteed by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea is a vital alliance interest which officers have been conditioned to uphold their whole career.

That is why Turkey was extremely shrewd in reacting immediately to the Israeli attack by calling an emergency NATO meeting. It is why, after the appalling US reaction to the attack with its refusal to name Israel, President Obama has now made a point of phoning President Erdogan to condole.

But the unhappiness in NATO HQ runs much deeper than that, I spoke separately to two friends there, from two different nations. One of them said NATO HQ was “a very unhappy place”. The other described the situation as “Tense – much more strained than at the invasion of Iraq”.

Why? There is a tendency of outsiders to regard the senior workings of governments and international organisations as monolithic. In fact there are plenty of highly intelligent – and competitive – people and diverse interests involved.

There are already deep misgivings, especially amongst the military, over the Afghan mission. There is no sign of a diminution in Afghan resistance attacks and no evidence of a clear gameplan. The military are not stupid and they can see that the Karzai government is deeply corrupt and the Afghan “national” army comprised almost exclusively of tribal enemies of the Pashtuns.

You might be surprised by just how high in Nato scepticism runs at the line that in some way occupying Afghanistan helps protect the west, as opposed to stoking dangerous Islamic anger worldwide.

So this is what is causing frost and stress inside NATO. The organisation is tied up in a massive, expensive and ill-defined mission in Afghanistan that many whisper is counter-productive in terms of the alliance aim of mutual defence. Every European military is facing financial problems as a public deficit financing crisis sweeps the continent. The only glue holding the Afghan mission together is loyalty to and support for the United States.

But what kind of mutual support organisation is NATO when members must make decades long commitments, at huge expense and some loss of life, to support the Unted States, but cannot make even a gesture to support Turkey when Turkey is attacked by a non-member?

Even the Eastern Europeans have not been backing the US line on the Israeli attack. The atmosphere in NATO on the issue has been very much the US against the rest, with the US attitude inside NATO described to me by a senior NATO officer as “amazingly arrogant – they don’t seem to think it matters what anybody else thinks”.

Therefore what is troubling the hearts and souls of non-Americans in NATO HQ is this fundamental question. Is NATO genuinely a mutual defence organisation, or is it just an instrument to carry out US foreign policy? With its unthinking defence of Israel and military occupation of Afghanistan, is US foreign policy really defending Europe, or is it making the World less safe by causing Islamic militancy?

I leave the last word to one of the senior NATO officers – who incidentally is not British:

“Nobody but the Americans doubts the US position on the Gaza attack is wrong and insensitve. But everyone already quietly thought the same about wider American policy. This incident has allowed people to start saying that now privately to each other.”

Craig Murray is a former British Ambassador. He is also a former Head of the Maritime Section of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. He negotiated the UK’s current maritime boundaries with Ireland, Denmark (Faeroes), Belgium and France, and boundaries of the Channel Islands, Turks and Caicos and British Virgin Islands. He was alternate Head of the UK Delegation to the UN Preparatory Commission on the Law of the Sea. He was Head of the FCO Section of the Embargo Surveillance Centre, enforcing sanctions on Iraq, and directly responsible for clearance of Royal Navy boarding operations in the Persian Gulf.

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

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My Speech in Whitehall Yesterday

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.

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

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The Legal Position on the Israeli Attack

I think that anybody with any fairness is bound to admit that the statement William Hague came out with is much better than anything on Israel which New Labour ever came out with, especially this bit:

“This news underlines the need to lift the restrictions on access to Gaza, in line with UNSCR 1860. The closure is unacceptable and counter-productive. There can be no better response from the international community to this tragedy than to achieve urgently a durable resolution to the Gaza crisis.

I call on the Government of Israel to open the crossings to allow unfettered access for aid to Gaza, and address the serious concerns about the deterioration in the humanitarian and economic situation and about the effect on a generation of young Palestinians


But as I told this afternoon’s tremendous spontaneous demonstration on Whitehall, fine words are not enough and we must now see the kind of sanctions regime we saw against apartheid South Africa.

A word on the legal position, which is very plain. To attack a foreign flagged vessel in international waters is illegal. It is not piracy, as the Israeli vessels carried a military commission. It is rather an act of illegal warfare.

Because the incident took place on the high seas does not mean however that international law is the only applicable law. The Law of the Sea is quite plain that, when an incident takes place

on a ship on the high seas (outside anybody’s territorial waters) the applicable law is that of the flag state of the ship on which the incident occurred. In legal terms, the Turkish ship was Turkish territory.

There are therefore two clear legal possibilities.

Possibility one is that the Israeli commandos were acting on behalf of the government of Israel in killing the activists on the ships. In that case Israel is in a position of war with Turkey, and the act falls under international jurisdiction as a war crime.

Possibility two is that, if the killings were not authorised Israeli military action, they were acts of murder under Turkish jurisdiction. If Israel does not consider itself in a position of war with Turkey, then it must hand over the commandos involved for trial in Turkey under Turkish law.

In brief, if Israel and Turkey are not at war, then it is Turkish law which is applicable to what happened on the ship. It is for Turkey, not Israel, to carry out any inquiry or investigation into events and to initiate any prosecutions. Israel is obliged to hand over indicted personnel for prosecution.

Craig Murray is a former British Ambassador. He is also a former Head of the Maritime Section of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. He negotiated the UK’s current maritime boundaries with Ireland, Denmark (Faeroes), Belgium and France, and boundaries of the Channel Islands, Turks and Caicos and British Virgin Islands. He was alternate Head of the UK Delegation to the UN Preparatory Commission on the Law of the Sea. He was Head of the FCO Section of the Embargo Surveillance Centre, enforcing sanctions on Iraq, and directly responsible for clearance of Royal Navy boarding operations in the Persian Gulf.

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

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Truly Disgusting

I have just spoken to the FCO press spokesman. The line on the legality of the Israeli attack is “We are not getting into that, especially when the details are unclear.” They are waiting for “clarification from our Embassy in Tel Aviv”.

That is a terrible reaction from the coailition government to its first test on human rights. The detail can make no difference to the fact that the Israelis attacked foreign flagged vessels in international waters. That is a priori illegal. Where the hell are FCO legal advisers? Is this government ignoring them just like New Labour?


Demonstration outside Downing St at 2pm. Doubtless it will be small, but I feel obliged to be there.

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What is the Point of Lib Dems Being in Government

if the UK does not condemn this Israeli massacre?

I can tell you categorically, as a former Head of the FCO Maritime Section, that a Turkish flagged ship on the high seas is Turkish territory. This Israeli attack was undeniably illegal.

Having seen so many illegal wars lately, you might be interested to know that in international law Turkey could now with perfect legality declare itself to be at war with Israel. I do not advocate that, but after the fake justification over Iraq I thought you might be interested to see what a genuine causus belli looks like.

But what the UK should be doing is giving voice to the strongest possible condemnation of Israel. What is the point of Lib Dems being in government if we cannot act against this kind of naked atrocity? Economic sanctions against Israel must be a minimum response.

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I Just Can’t Believe This Is Happening

In two and a half hours of coverage BBC News has interviewed the Israeli government spokesman and covered live an Israeli government press conference, while reporters have set out at length the Israeli government view of events nine times. There has been no attempt to interview anyone from the convoy organisers, from the Turkish government, or from the Palestinians, and no expression of scepticism or even reserve by any reporter about the Israeli version of events.

A BBC journalist has stated – quite wrongly – that the blockade of Gaza is legal, and there has been no mention of the fact that it is illegal to board a foreign ship in international waters.

UPDATE BBC producres refuse to put up any interviewee except from the Israeli propaganda regime. The Israeli command on the 10am news was the worst example yet. But my warm congratulations to the female anchor who, despite this backroom manipulation, cut across his mendacity. I fear her career may be damaged.

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Israeli Outrage

So now we have a reported 16 new Rachel Corries, as commandos of the rogue Israeli state massacre unarmed activists taking aid – building materials, purified water and electric powered wheelchairs – to Gaza. At least 60 more are reported injured, some critically.

The nationalities of the dead and injured are not yet known, but one would hope that this would finally turn the tide of unthinking Zionism among senior politicians that has enabled them to overlook Israel’s inexorable trend into a more and more racist, militarised and intolerant state. The brave activists who died will certainly have helped turn the media spotlight across Europe on Israel’s unconscionable treatment of Gaza and the other occupied territories.

The aid flotilla had actually obeyed the Israeli Navy’s order to turn away from Gaza when the ships were boarded. It is worth stating that the boarding of the ships – which were not in Israeli territorial waters – was in itself an illegal act. That is crucial as we wait for the Israelis’ usual lies about the incident, which will predictable claim their heavily armed elite commandos were attacked by the unarmed peace protestors.

It is disgraceful that I can find no reaction from the British government to this.

UPDATE As I predicted, the BBC 8am news reported that the Israeli commandos opened fire after they were attacked with “knives, axes and firearms”. There was absolutely no scepticism expressed at this Israeli claim, and no attempt to seek a reply from any representative of the aid convoy. The BBC has not mentioned – or interviewed anybody who might mention – the indisputable fact that it was illegal under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and in customary international law for the Israelis to board the ships in international waters.

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Anti-Israel Protests Not Anti-Semitic

Happily, a Scottish court has made a very sensible ruling that anti-Israel protests are not anti-semitic and thus do not constitute “racially aggravated behaviour”:

Sheriff James Scott ruled that “the comments were clearly directed at the State of Israel, the Israeli Army, and Israeli Army musicians”, and not targeted at “citizens of Israel” per se. “The procurator fiscal’s attempts to squeeze malice and ill will out of the agreed facts were rather strained”, he said

The Sheriff expressed concern that to continue with the prosecution would have implications for freedom of expression generally: “if persons on a public march designed to protest against and publicise alleged crimes committed by a state and its army are afraid to name that state for fear of being charged with racially aggravated behaviour, it would render worthless their Article 10(1) rights. Presumably their placards would have to read, ‘Genocide in an unspecified state in the Middle East’; ‘Boycott an unspecified state in the Middle East’ etc.

“Having concluded that continuation of the present prosecution is not necessary or proportionate, and therefore incompetent, it seems to me that the complaint must be dismissed.”

It seems to me the Sherrif’s withering logic is indisputable. This is a prosecution that should never have been brought; it seems to me quite extraordinary that the Procurator-Fiscal has indicated that the Crown will appeal against the Sherriff’s decision. If anybody is acting with malice, it is the Procurator-Fiscal.

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Netanyahu’s Lies About Jerusalem’s History

Netanyahu’s speech to a frenzied mob of crazed American Zionists was quite appalling to behold. Juan Cole dissects with a steely brilliance Netanyahu’s wildly unhistorical claims. This should be compulsory reading for all people interested in politics anywhere:

Netanyahu mixed together Romantic-nationalist cliches with a series of historically false assertions. But even more important was everything he left out of the history, and his citation of his warped and inaccurate history instead of considering laws, rights or common human decency toward others not of his ethnic group.

So here are the reasons that Netanyahu is profoundly wrong, and East Jerusalem does not belong to him.

What modern Israel most closely resembles is apartheid South Africa. Those who deny that Israel is a racist state should read this – just one of hundreds of thousands of such personal stories:

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Mossad Murder Forgery Statement

Miliband did his level best today, in his parliamentary statement on the expulsion of the Israeli “diplomat” over forged British passports, to avoid mentioning the murder in Dubai at all. For those who criticised my decision to rejoin the Lib-Dems as “Zionist”, I point out that it was Lib Dem spokesman Ed Davey who first introduced the oppression of the Palestinians of Gaza into the debate.

William Hague also deserves congratulations for pointing out that formal assurances given by Israel in 1987 that such document forgery would never happen again, had been broken. He failed to press home the obvious point that it was therefore otiose of Miliband to ask for a further such assurance now. But in general the Tories have been less blindly pro-Zionist than Labour. I still recall the passion of David Mellor when an FCO minister, on seeing the suffering of Palestinians at first hand. There was a man with the same approach diplomatic as me!

Which brings me back on a stream of consciousness to the moment a few weeks ago that started me towards rejoining the Lib Dems.

Nick Clegg was speaking at Prime Minister’s questions in disgust that Kraft’s takeover of Cadbury was financed by a massive loan from the British taxpayer owned Royal Bank of Scotland. Clegg was visibly moved by real passion on the issue – a feeling I share. The sight of an MP moved by real emotion about the national interest, as opposed to how to make money for himself from expenses and consultancies, was viewed as so risible by both Tory and Labour MPs that they sought to drown him out with catcalls and gusts of forced laughter.

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Greek Orthodox Church Sells Palestinian Lands to Israel

I found this report very interesting. It probably isn’t news to many of my readers, but it is to me.

I have a very jaundiced view of the Greek Orthodox Church since my time working on the Cyprus dispute – in Cyprus the Church is a major player in money laundering and the international illegal arms trade. Is the Greek Orthodox Church the most corrupt major religious organisation in the world? Discuss.

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