Britain realises that Israel isn’t perfect and Zionists are shocked

The kind of debate over Palestine that seems almost impossible here in the US or Australia. Unthinking Zionism helps nobody but unthinking Zionists:

David Cameron‘s forthright description of Gaza as a “prison camp” – and its implied criticism of Israel – has struck a chord with many Conservatives but infuriated some commentators.

During a state visit to Turkey the prime minister stoked up the rhetorical pressure on Netayahu’s government without a balancing comment apportioning any blame for the seige of Gaza to Hamas, which controls the territory.

The Conservative Home website recorded strident views from both sides of the debate.

“The Liberal Democrats in the coalition government will approve of Mr Cameron’s tone on Israel but the government in Jerusalem will take a very dim view of the intervention,” the website noted.

“The use of such an emotive term and the lack of any balancing condemnation of the Hamas regime that terrorises Gaza will also disappoint Conservative supporters of Israel.”

One commentator on the site said: “For once I agree with Cameron. It’s about time a leader had the guts to stand up to this terrorist state and condemn it for its brutal actions.”

Others were less keen: “Cameron is clearly sucking up to the Muslim world and bashing Israel is the best way of doing so,” said one.

On the Daily Telegraph website the columnist Mary Riddell supported the prime minister. “[The prime minister] has indicated that Britain will not humour the Netanyahu government over Gaza. There are some encouraging signs that Mr Cameron, oppportunistic and Europhobic in opposition, may evolve a firmer and more creditable foreign policy than many supposed.”

The paper’s executive foreign editor, Con Coughlin, took a contrary view. “The real culprit is the militant Palestinian group Hamas which, having seized control of Gaza through force of arms, has persisted with its policy of campaigning for the destruction of the state of Israel,” he said.

The Liberal Democrats have long supported a loosening of the Israeli stranglehold on Gaza, allowing greater access for construction materials to help citizens rebuild their homes and businesses.

Last month the deputy prime minister and Liberal Democrat leader, Nick Clegg, called on Israel to lift its “unjustifiable and untenable” blockade of the Gaza Strip, following the storming by Israeli commandos of a ship carrying aid to the Palestinian territory.

“Whilst, of course, Israel has every right to defend itself and its citizens from any attack, it must now move towards lifting the blockade in Gaza as soon as possible,” Clegg said.

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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