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British Parliament sends a message to Obama: the people see Israel as a ‘bully’

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Yesterday the British Parliament voted overwhelmingly (274-12) to recognize a Palestinian state, and if you listened to the debate, one theme above all else explains the crushing victory: The British public has been horrified by Gaza and its opinion of Israel has shifted. Even Conservative members of Parliament cited pressure from the public. As Labour’s Andy Slaughter said, Britain has witnessed a new “barbarism”:

I think that the British people have been on the same sort of the journey as the right hon. Member for Croydon South [Conservative Sir Richard Ottaway] described—it is certainly true of the Labour movement—from being very sympathetic to Israel as a country that was trying to achieve democracy and was embattled, to seeing it now as a bully and a regional superpower. That is not something I say with any pleasure, but since the triumph of military Zionism and the Likud-run Governments we have seen a new barbarism in that country.

Slaughter and a fellow Labour member, Kate Green, said that just as the British Parliament sent a message to Obama a year ago in voting to oppose the Conservative Prime Minister on attacking Syria, a vote Obama heeded in reversing course on a Syria attack, today the British Parliament aims to influence U.S. policy on Palestine.

The Parliamentary debate was conducted in moral terms throughout, a fact that the parliamentarians described as historic. And the discussion was astonishing in its contrast to the stifled debate on these issues in the US Congress. (The debate can be found online: Section one here.  Section two is here. Section three is here.)

Below I have made excerpts of the debate, emphasizing the powerful ideas the parliamentarians sounded that you would never hear in Washington. One lawmaker says that the occupation is “much worse” than apartheid in South Africa. Another says that the Balfour Declaration of 1917 now seems like a “sick joke,” because it never guaranteed freedom to Palestinians. Many members offer frank descriptions of Israeli detention of children and unending settlement expansion. Several describe Israeli actions in Gaza as war crimes. One mentions the use of terrorism by Mandela and Begin long before Palestinians used the tactic. Labour and Conservative members alike speak about the role of the Israel lobby in the United States. I should note that all these pols also supported the two-state solution. (I’ve largely ignored those portions because I believe the 2SS is a dead letter. But you can find the arguments at the links.)

Here are my excerpts. First, the sponsor of the legislation, Grahame M. Morris, Labour, on Britain’s historical responsibility, and the failure of Oslo:

As the originator of the Balfour declaration and holder of the mandate for Palestine, Britain has a unique historical connection and, arguably, a moral responsibility to the people of both Israel and Palestine. In 1920, we undertook a sacred trust—a commitment to guide Palestinians to statehood and independence. That was nearly a century ago, and the Palestinian people are still to have their national rights recognised. This sacred trust has been neglected for far too long. As the hon. Lady has just said, we have an historic opportunity to atone for that neglect, and take this small but symbolically important step…

It is now more than 20 years since the Oslo accords, and we are further away from peace than ever before. An entire generation of young Palestinians—the Oslo generation—has grown up to witness a worsening situation on the ground. We have seen a significant expansion of illegal Israeli settlements, heightened security threats to both sides, punitive restrictions on Palestinian movement, economic decline, a humanitarian crisis in Gaza of catastrophic proportions and the construction of an illegal annexation wall through Palestinian land.

It is clear that both Israel-Palestine relations and our foreign policy are at an impasse, which must be broken…

Morris emphasized the Israeli responsibility for the crisis:

Let us make no mistake about this: to make our recognition of Palestine dependent on Israel’s agreement would be to grant Israel a veto over Palestinian self-determination…Recognition is not an Israeli bargaining chip; it is a Palestinian right. It is one that has to form the basis of any serious negotiations. Indeed, the lack of equity between Israel and the Palestinians is a structural failure that has undermined the possibility of a political settlement for decades. As it stands, Israel has little motivation or encouragement—perhaps little incentive is a better way of putting it—to enter into meaningful negotiations. The majority of Israeli Government politicians flat-out reject the notion of a Palestinian state. There are currently no negotiations and, as Secretary of State John Kerry admitted, it was Israeli intransigence that caused the collapse of the latest round of talks…

Those Palestinians who have pursued the path of diplomacy and non-violence for more than 20 years have achieved very little. We need to send them a message and give them encouragement that it is the path of peace and co-operation, and not the resorting to force of arms, that will actually lead to a lasting and just peace….

Richard Burden, Labour, describes Palestinian persecution in ways you would never hear in the US congress:

Over the years, I have spoken about the things I have seen for myself, whether that has been settlements growing in violation of international law and successive resolutions; the barrier that snakes in and out of the west bank, cutting Palestinian communities off from each other and farmers from the land; or Palestinian children being brought in leg irons into Israeli military courts, accused of throwing stones, and being subject to laws that vary depending on whether one is Palestinian or Israeli. I have sat with Palestinian families in East Jerusalem who have had their homes destroyed and who are no longer allowed to live in the city of their birth. I have seen for myself the devastation of homes, schools and hospitals in Gaza. I have met fishermen who are fired on if all they do is try to fish. Yes, I have been to Sderot as well and know that Israelis have spoken about their real fear about rocket attacks from Gaza. I also know the fear that Palestinians in Gaza feel daily because of the constant buzz of drones overhead, 24 hours a day, that could bring death at any moment.

I have not merely read about such things; I have seen them for myself. They are why a negotiated settlement is so important. ..

Sir Alan Duncan, a Conservative, echoed Conservative Richard Ottaway (whose speech on Israel-has-finally-lost-me we excerpted yesterday) in describing the personal journey that many have had to make to support Palestinian rights, as well as the political “intimidation” factor:

I cannot think of any other populous area of the world that is subject to so many resolutions but is not allowed to call itself a state. After the civil war, albeit two years after 1948, we recognised the state of Israel. It was still not the tidiest of Administrations. Its borders were not clear; they still are not. It had no agreed capital—it wanted Jerusalem; at the moment, it has Tel Aviv—and no effective Government…

So many of us go on a personal journey on this issue, as I have done over the past 20 years. Recognition of statehood is not a reward for anything; it is a right. The notion that it would put an end to negotiations, or somehow pre-empt or destroy them, is patently absurd; Palestine would still be occupied, and negotiations would need to continue, both to end that occupation and to agree land swaps and borders. Refusing Palestinian recognition is tantamount to giving Israel the right of veto…
A lot of people feel intimidated when it comes to standing up for this issue. It is time we did stand up for it, because almost the majority of Palestinians are not yet in their 20s. They will grow up stateless. If we do not give them hope, dignity and belief in themselves, it will be a recipe for permanent conflict, none of which is in Israel’s interests.

Jack Straw, former foreign secretary, now a Labour MP, says Israel pays no price for the settlements:

Israel has been occupying Palestinian land for nearly 50 years. It fails to meet its clear international legal obligations as an occupying power. In the last 20 years, as we have heard, it has compounded that failure by a deliberate decision to annex Palestinian land and to build Israeli settlements on that land. There are now 600,000 such Israeli settlers in East Jerusalem and the west bank. The Israelis are seeking to strangle East Jerusalem by expropriating land all around it, and two months ago, they announced the illegal annexation of a further nearly 1,000 acres of land near Bethlehem. The Israeli Government will go on doing this as long as they pay no price for their obduracy. Their illegal occupation of land is condemned by this Government in strong terms, but no action follows. The Israelis sell produce from these illegal settlements in Palestine as if they were made or grown in Israel, but no action follows.

Israel itself was established and recognised by unilateral act. The Palestinians had no say whatever over the recognition of the state of Israel, still less a veto. I support the state of Israel. I would have supported it at the end of the 1940s. But it cannot lie in the mouth of the Israeli Government, of all Governments, to say that they should have a veto over a state of Palestine, when for absolutely certain, the Palestinians had no say whatever over the establishment of the state of Israel….

Andrew Bridgen, Conservative MP, businessman, talks about the Israel lobby:

 Does my hon. Friend agree that, given that the political system of the world’s superpower and our great ally the United States is very susceptible to well-funded powerful lobbying groups and the power of the Jewish lobby in America, it falls to this country and to this House to be the good but critical friend that Israel needs, and this motion tonight just might lift that logjam on this very troubled area?

Gerald Kaufman, Labour, says what Rev Bruce Shipman lost his job at Yale for saying, that Israeli actions foster anti-Semitism:

The Israelis, with the checkpoints, the illegal wall and the settlements, are making a coherent Palestinian state impossible.

That is why it is essential to pass this motion, because it would be a game changer. The recognition of Palestine by the British House of Commons would affect the international situation. This House can create an historic new situation. I call on right hon. and hon. Members on both sides of the House to give the Palestinians their rights and show the Israelis that they cannot suppress another people all the time. It is not Jewish for the Israelis to do that. They are harming the image of Judaism, and terrible outbreaks of anti-Semitism are taking place. I want to see an end to anti-Semitism, and I want to see a Palestinian state.

Nicholas Soames, Conservative, says that the conflict exacerbates tensions in the region, and the legislation will put pressure on the United States:

Ninety-seven years later, the terms of the Balfour declaration are clearly not upheld with respect to the Palestinians, and in Britain that should weigh very heavily upon us indeed. It is in our national interest to recognise Palestine as part of a drive to achieve lasting peace. We face so many dire emergencies in the middle east today; we cannot afford to add to them the continuing failure of the middle east peace process and the inevitable death of the two-state solution….

What does impede peace is a dismal lack of political will to make the necessary concessions and a tendency in Israel to believe that it will always be sheltered by the United States from having to take those difficult steps. Recognition by the United Kingdom would be a strong signal that the patience of the world is not without limit.

Mike Wood, Labour, explains that conditions in Palestine are much worse than under apartheid in South Africa.

The situation is far worse than that in apartheid South Africa, which has been mentioned. It has been regularly referred to as a parallel to what is going on in Palestine, but the situation in Palestine is much worse than apartheid. The white junta in South Africa accepted that somewhere in the country—preferably not near them —there would be land for black people. It was the worst possible land and a long way from the ruling white group, but none the less the junta accepted that there would be a place for the blacks. A one-state solution in Israel does not accept such a thing. There is no place in Israel and Palestine for the Palestinians….

What Israel is looking at in a one-state solution is a continuation, year after year, of war and violence such as we have seen building in the past 20 years. The Israelis have just finished a third incursion into Gaza in 10 years. Are we suggesting that every two years another 1,500 people should be killed and another 100,000 people rendered homeless as a continuation of the process of driving everybody who is not Jewish out of what is considered to be greater Israel?

David Ward, Liberal Democrat, described Jewish desire for safety in the wake of the Holocaust and Israel’s inability to ever have security so long as Palestinians resist:

Quite apart from the Zionist agenda, the need for a place to be safe somewhere was so important because of the failure to find safety from persecution in many other places. All that is perfectly understandable, but what I do not understand is why the Palestinians should have had to pay such a terrible price for the creation of the state of Israel, where it was believed that security could be created, or why the Israelis believed that the brutal expulsion and continued suppression of the Palestinians would ever lead to the sense of security that they seek.

I remember a meeting not too long ago in one of the big Committee rooms in the House of Commons at which there were lots of members of the Palestinian community. I said that the Israelis were winning; I was in despair at the lack of progress. I said that they will not negotiate and asked why should they when the immense support
of the US and the inaction of the international community at large meant that they were gaining, day in and day out, and could ignore international law, continue to act with impunity, and, of course, increase their holding of Palestinian land. But a Palestinian rebuked me, saying that they were not winning because “We have not forgotten and we never will forget.” How can the Israelis believe that they can ever have security, because the Palestinians will never forget?

Bob Stewart, Conservative, immediately brought up the right of return:

My wife, who is a delegate of the International Committee of the Red Cross, met many Palestinians in south Lebanon who still have keys round their neck on a string from the house that they were ejected from in the late 1940s. They will not forget.

Ward mentions the Nakba:

Israel is in breach of the contract set out in the Balfour declaration stating that

“nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine”.

In the light of the Nakba and everything since, that seems like a sick joke. The failure of the international community to recognise the state of Palestine has helped Israel to ignore this commitment.

Anas Sarwar, Labour, emphasized the global attention on the vote:

There are moments when the eyes of the world are on this place, and I believe that this is one of those moments. What message will we send to the international community? There will be those living in Palestine who keep hearing that word, “peace”, while at the same time seeing a continued occupation, an ongoing blockade, further expansion of illegal settlements, and the never-ending cycle of violence and bloodshed, causing fear on both sides of the conflict.

To go back to the issue of previous false dawns in Palestine, the people there have been hearing warm words for decades, but I am sorry to say that words are no longer enough. Our best chance of seeing a rejection of violence and militant forces is by rekindling hope so that people can stop hearing the word peace and start living its true meaning…

Neil Carmichael was one of many Conservatives who spoke of self-determination and justice:

If we believe in internationalism and self-determination, is it not wholly unacceptable, unjust and illogical not to allow the Palestinians to have a state?..

Tobias Ellwood, a Conservative, was unflinching in his description of the shocking nature of the Gaza blockade.

I will start by addressing the terrible situation in Gaza, which I visited last week. I was profoundly shocked and saddened at the suffering of ordinary Gazans. More than 100,000 people have been made homeless by the conflict, and 450,000 people—about a third of the population—have no access to water….Let me be clear: we do not want to see a return to the status quo. This is the third time in six years that conflict has broken out in Gaza and reconstruction has been needed. To illustrate the problem, in 2000, more than 15,000 trucks of exports left Gaza. In 2013, the figure had dwindled to only 200 trucks. The UN estimates that it could take 18 years to rebuild Gaza without major change. It says that Gaza could become unliveable by 2020. If the underlying causes are not addressed, it risks becoming an incubator for extremism in the region.

Mike Hancock, Independent, emphasized the historic nature of the vote:

If we give this motion our blessing, there is not a single thing that will harm Israel, but it will send a powerful message which is crying out to be heard for the people of Palestine, whether they are in the refugee camps—where four generations have now lived—or in Gaza, the west bank, Lebanon, or wherever. The people of Palestine have waited 65 years to get the justice they deserved. We did not listen then: when we could have given a two-state solution in ’48, we chose not to do it. People made that biggest mistake.

Julie Elliott, Labour, told a personal story about statelessness:

For me, the issue is very straightforward and very simple and I am going to keep my comments brief and end on a personal story. I have a friend who came to Sunderland—my city—in the early ’80s to study at what was then the polytechnic and is now the university. He was born in Gaza and on his travel documents his nationality is given as “Palestinian”, but his brother, who was born in precisely the same place seven or eight years later, had “stateless” on his travel documents. No child should have that on their travel documents; it is wrong, it is immoral and it should stop. That is why, on a personal level, I will support the amendment and the motion. It is the right and the moral thing to do.

A moving speech on terrorism as a political tool, from Mandela to the Irgun, by Andy McDonald, Labour:

My father served with the Army in Palestine from 1945 to 1948 during the currency of the British mandate. He did not say much about it, but he did tell me that, at the end of his tour of duty, he had a chit for leave to spend a last night in Jerusalem. However, his comrade pleaded with him to let him have the chit as he wanted to see a girl in town. He had fallen in love with her and did not know when he might see her again, so he was desperate. My dad let him have his chit, but sadly the vehicle that took the soldiers into town that night was attacked by terrorists and the seat that the love-struck soldier sat in bore the brunt of the attack and he was killed outright. That could have been my dad’s seat.

There were other terrorist attacks—on trains and, famously, on the King David hotel. Among the terrorists were Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir, both of whom went on the hold the highest office in the newly formed state of Israel. The point I am making is that committed individuals and groups who pursue self-determination might at one time be deemed to be terrorists but then perceived as freedom fighters and, ultimately, statesmen. We need look no further than the journey made by the great Nelson Mandela, as well as taking a glance across the water to the island of Ireland.

Andy Slaughter, Labour, on the shift in British public opinion, to viewing Israel as a bully:

I think that the British people have been on the same sort of the journey as the right hon. Member for Croydon South (Sir Richard Ottaway) described—it is certainly true of the Labour movement—from being very sympathetic to Israel as a country that was trying to achieve democracy and was embattled, to seeing it now as a bully and a regional superpower. That is not something I say with any pleasure, but since the triumph of military Zionism and the Likud-run Governments we have seen a new barbarism in that country. We have seen it in the Lebanon invasion, in the attack on the Mavi Marmara and the flotilla, and, above all, in the three attacks on Gaza, Operation Protective Edge, Operation Cast Lead—

Kate Green of Labour emphasizes the American role, and notice Slaughter saying that the Parliament influenced America/Obama on Syria a year ago.

Does my hon. Friend agree that the message sent from the British Parliament tonight will also be noted by the American Government and the American people, and that although our influence may not be strong directly on Israel, our relationship with America enables us to use its influence with Israel also to convey that sense of horror?


I agree with my hon. Friend; I think this will be exactly as the vote in Syria was last year.

As I was saying, Operation Protective Edge, Operation Cast Lead and Operation Pillar of Defence have all been, despite how the names sound, attacks by a major military power on a civilian community.

Karen Buck, Labour, talks about Palestinian rage:

My hon. Friend and I went to Gaza together in 2009, in the immediate aftermath of Operation Cast Lead. Does he agree that, in addition to the staggering level of destruction wreaked on Gaza then, which has now tragically been repeated, one abiding story is the frustration and rage that the people feel about the peace process no longer being a realistic option and about how something needs to be done to break the logjam? I hope that we are starting to do that tonight.

Slaughter says public opinion demands action:

The motion is a positive step, but my constituents wish to see more. They would like us to stop supplying arms to the Israelis when those arms are being used for the occupation and to kill people in Gaza. They would like us to stop importing goods from illegal settlements—illegal under international law. They cannot understand why, if the settlements are illegal, the goods should not be illegal as well. The motion does not ask for any of that. It was supposed to be consensual motion that simply proposes giving the same rights to the Palestinians as we extend to the Israelis. This is about equity.

Sarah Champion, Labour, on the dignity of Palestinians and their right to recognition:

The Palestinian people have been arguing for self-determination for more than 50 years and that is a request that we cannot and should not ignore. More than 100 states have already recognised Palestine, joined by Sweden only two weeks ago. It is now our turn. It is our moral duty to treat Palestinians as the people they seek to be treated as. That should not be conditional on negotiations, the views of Israel or those of any other state. It should be conditional only on the views of the Palestinian people….

This is not an issue for the Israelis to decide, even if they want to. It is not an issue for negotiations. It is an issue for the Palestinian people and the Palestinian people alone. Israel should have no veto over the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination. This is a right that is not contingent on the views of other states.

There is a practical issue here as well: the recognition of the state of Palestine would mirror our historic recognition of Israel. It has been 54 years since we recognised Israel. When we did so, we did not ask the permission of the Palestinians or, indeed, any of the surrounding states. The recognition of Palestine should have happened a long time ago.

Andrew Griffiths, Conservative, remarks on the shift in the views of the British public: Gaza has shifted opinion against Israel:

It is remarkable that there has been a shift in tone, and in the concerns of the House, during the debate. That shift should worry the Government of Israel, because it is clearly losing the moral high ground when it comes to the people in Gaza and the Palestinian issue. I have become increasingly concerned about the way Israel is operating since seeing on my television screen pictures of the recent crisis. It is impossible not to feel the suffering and hopelessness of the people of Gaza. It is only right that we should have this debate and discuss the issue. I would not be a friend of Israel if I did not speak out when I saw it doing the wrong thing, heading in the wrong direction and causing the unnecessary deaths of too many Palestinians. It is for that reason that I take part in today’s debate.

I recognise that Israel has a right to defend itself. …  The response must be proportionate.

According to the UN, during this summer’s conflict, a total of 2,131 Palestinians were killed. Of those, at least 1,473 were civilians—young, innocent civilians, in many cases. On the Israel side, 66 Israeli defence force soldiers were killed, and five Israeli civilians. I do not believe that that response is proportionate. Israel has lost the moral high ground in the way it acted….

It is impossible not to want to speak out and act when we see such suffering .

Some of the acts committed by Israel were clearly unacceptable. Why was it necessary to blow up Gaza’s only power station, leaving already stretched hospitals to rely on generators? Why was it necessary to bomb hospitals and schools, when, as we saw, the threat of loss of life to Israeli civilians was small in comparison? By adding to the suffering of the Gazan people, the Israeli Government have lost the support of the House, and it should cause them great concern.

Lyn Brown, Labour, describes the public groundswell:

Over the past weeks my in-box has been flooded with hundreds of letters from my constituents. Their strength of feeling is undeniable, their arguments are heartfelt, and their conviction is deep-seated—and for good reason. I share those arguments and that conviction.

Of the thousands of letters and e-mails I have received, there is one from Mia Thomas, extracts from which I would like to read today.

“I am a 21 year old medical student and I have just returned from 5 weeks in Ramallah in the West Bank. I am feeling oncreasingly helpless and frustrated, as every day the death count of innocent Palestinians grows higher and there seems so little we can do about it and our Government will not act decisively…”

Ms Thomas is clearly a brave woman. She came back impassioned, disillusioned and angry. That anger and disillusionment was not just about the conflict she had witnessed; it was about her frustration that those of us in this House were not giving her a voice. Today I want to give her a voice, in the same way that I believe we must give Palestinians a voice.

Robert Jenrick, Conservative, opposes the motion but cites public opinion:

I am not alone in having received hundreds of e-mails and letters urging me to support this motion. I appreciate the urge to respond to the horrors of the summer in Gaza and the continued, impossibly frustrating impasse.

Jonathan Ashworth, Labour, on the will of the people:

There are times when this House has to send a message—when this House has to speak. I believe that the will of the British people is now to support Palestinian statehood. Many have questioned what is the practical purpose of supporting this motion; well, I ask what is the practical purpose of opposing it. If we oppose the motion, this House will be sending a message that we endorse the status quo, and I do not believe that that is the will of the British people.

Sir Edward Leigh, Conservative, says this is not just the left, it’s all who care about suffering. He cites Bethlehem as an inspiration and calls on the Israelis to open their hearts:

My other Damascus moment came when I was standing at the Bethlehem checkpoint and saw the appalling humiliation heaped on Palestinian people. I spoke to a nurse at a hospital I visited as part of a charity I ran. She lived in Bethlehem, just a few miles from Jerusalem. It was just a short walk away, but she was never able to go to the city without enormous difficulties. Bethlehem, of all places, should be a beacon of hope.

I know we will be accused of making a gesture today and I understand the Government’s position, but they should listen to the voice of this House. Virtually everybody who has spoken—not just lefties waving placards in Trafalgar square, but virtually every Conservative MP—has said that now is the time to recognise the justice of the Palestinians’ case.

I am not speaking in anti-Israeli terms—I am proud to be a friend of that state—but they have to open their hearts. They have to start relaxing controls in and out of Gaza.

Mark Durkan, Social Democratic and Labour Party, emphasizes public frustration at Israeli intransigence:

Where does the international community stand when human rights are sacrificed again and again, and what is its will when international law is violated again and again? Of course, we hear from the Dispatch Box and elsewhere that the Israeli Government are told not to be disproportionate and warned against occupations, and yet the situation continues.

People are increasingly fed up with this screensaver politics, where shapes are thrown, images projected and impressions generated, but nothing real goes on in relation to the substantive issue. People in our constituencies find it frustrating, but the people for whom it must be most frustrating are those moderate people in the middle east, including those in Israel who know that their security will never come from drenching people in Gaza with bombs, and those in Palestine who know that their peace, rights and liberation will not come through lobbing rockets into Israel.

The importance of the vote, internationally. A Conservative, Crispin Blunt, says he’s never been asked for so many international interviews:

As the chief cheerleader of “Get real, United Kingdom” about our place in the world, I say to my right hon. Friend the Member for Hitchin and Harpenden (Mr Lilley), and perhaps to my hon. Friend the Member for Newark (Robert Jenrick) and others who have questioned the importance of this debate, that having had media bids from France, Turkey, al-Jazeera, Channel 4 and the BBC World Service in connection with this evening—unknown for me—I must say to the House that people are listening to the debate, and in the Occupied Palestinian Territories they will be listening very attentively because of our history.

I am immensely proud to have my name on tonight’s motion after that of the hon. Member for Easington (Grahame M. Morris), and I also support the amendment …

And Blunt then says that Palestinians have gotten an “appalling deal from history:”

The Palestinian negotiating position, in the words of Saeb Erekat, is nothing: the Palestinians have nothing to give in the negotiations. The one thing that we can give them by this vote this evening is some moral and legal authority for their position. Even if it is only a small amount of moral and legal authority, it can begin to help the Palestinian moderates face down those who think violence against Israel is an intelligent course of action. Violence has, of course, been an utter and complete disaster for the Palestinian cause. Israel responds, as we have seen in Gaza, with disproportionate force—I use that term advisedly. The explanation for Israeli action simply does not stand the test. The Israeli Government, faced with the political problem it has in bringing a settlement, has all too often not sought to find the ground on which to deliver that settlement. By this vote tonight, we can give the Palestinians, who have had an appalling deal from history, a little bit of moral and legal authority.

Diane Abbott, Labour, dismisses the anti-Semitism charge:

When we have these debates, there is sometimes a tendency to imply that being against any policy of a particular Israeli Government at a point in time makes a person anti-Israel, anti-Jewish and even an anti-Semite. Let me say this: I represent Hackney, one of the historical centres of the Jewish community in this country. We had the oldest synagogue in the country in Brenthouse road, and there is an impressive roll-call of illustrious persons of Jewish origin who came out of Hackney: Moses Montefiore, Nathan Mayer Rothschild, Jack Cohen, Alan Sugar and Harold Pinter. I think that is one of the finest roll-calls in the country, and I deprecate the suggestion that just because somebody disagrees with the Israeli Government at any point, that makes them anti-Israeli. Of course I support the Israeli people and of course I support the right of Israel to exist, and I believe that that is mainstream public opinion. But it is also mainstream public opinion that something must be done to move the peace process forward, because the peace process is effectively stalled, and it is also mainstream public opinion that the public were horrified by what they saw—the sights and the killing—in Gaza over the summer, and I think the British public will be very disappointed if we do not have a decisive vote on these matters today…
I believe that the time for justice for the Palestinians has come and the time to recognise Palestinian statehood is tonight in this House of Commons, and I believe that our own constituents, and above all Palestinians overseas, are looking to this House tonight to do the right thing.

Lisa Nandy, Labour, describes British shame at not supporting Palestine:

If not today, then when will this country and this House give the Palestinian people the hope that things will get better? Too many Palestinians can see, as I can, that this process is not a negotiation between equals. The current situation, to which the UK remains wedded, allows Israel—in practice if not in principle—a right of veto over Palestinian statehood. In what sense can those negotiations be called meaningful?…

It shames us in Britain, with our historical obligation to the Palestinian people, that 135 nations have now taken the step of recognising Palestine while we remain among the handful of states in the United Nations that refuse to join them. Half the population of Gaza is under the age of 18. Their lives are characterised by suffering, humiliation and despair.

Lilian Greenwood, Labour, emphasizes the importance of Gaza:

More than 60 years of history frames today’s debate, but this summer’s violence in Gaza is very much in our minds. All of us were horrified by the images we saw from Palestine this summer. We saw shocking images of dead and wounded civilians—men, women and of course children—shattered homes and wrecked lives. I am sure that we were also appalled by the indiscriminate rocket attacks on Israeli civilians from positions within Gaza. We cannot stand by and allow this conflict to continue. Sadly, it seems that the window of opportunity for a two-state solution is narrowing. That is why it is time to show political leadership in an effort to break the impasse, providing, as my hon. Friend the Member for Wrexham (Ian Lucas) said, a bridge to negotiations.

Britain recognised the state of Israel in 1950. Recognising Palestine now is about equality of treatment. It is about sending a message that a peaceful lasting solution depends on both parties, Israel and Palestine, coming to the negotiating table as equals. It is about sending a message to Israel that it should recognise the state of Palestine as the state of Palestine has recognised Israel. It is about sending a message to Palestinians that gives them hope that freedom is possible, resolve in rejecting the path of violence that brings no solutions and belief that a diplomatic and political settlement can be reached.

Mike Gapes, Labour, emphasizes the historic moment, even as a supporter of Israel, and calls on the U.S. to listen:

I have been denounced as some kind of Zionist child killer by certain people in e-mails and on Twitter. I was even attacked today when I said I was going to vote for the motion by somebody who thought, “No, he can’t possibly be.” The fact is that this is an historic moment because the Palestinian people need a way out of the despair they face. We as an international community—the United States must also heed this message—must help the moderate forces in Fatah by getting their strategy, which is to take the issue internationally, to provide the way forward.

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is senior editor of and founded the site in 2005-06.

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113 Responses

  1. Justpassingby on October 14, 2014, 2:20 pm

    Good article but your headline(s) are a bit tabloidish.

    • Horizontal on October 14, 2014, 6:19 pm

      Sometimes the street provides the more perfect context. I think this works well here. “Monster” would have also been acceptable.

    • Kathleen on October 15, 2014, 11:17 am

      I like it. Israel is a bully… so is the US..

  2. amigo on October 14, 2014, 2:54 pm

    “, and it is also mainstream public opinion that the public were horrified by what they saw—the sights and the killing—in Gaza over the summer, and I think the British public will be very disappointed if we do not have a decisive vote on these matters today…”Diane Abbott.

    I wonder if she or any of them imagined such a comprehensive victory.

    I was amused by the reaction of many of the MP,s to the Hasbara messenger boys and Girls.Much head shaking and grinning and invitations to “sit down”.It was very enjoyable to watch Israel,s spin doctors getting a swift kick in the posterior for a change.

    • catporn on October 15, 2014, 11:20 am

      The ‘comprehensive victory’ was guaranteed, the party leaders warned dissenters away (still 80% of Labour party voted yes, including the opposition leader Ed Miliband), in return the bill was symbolic, only recognizing the state of Palestine (along with the state of Israel) at some later date if it helped aid peace, and even that was ‘non binding’.
      What it did achieve was a rare platform for British politicians to speak openly about Israel’s conduct, not just this summers barbarity in Gaza, but actions taken since it’s inception, and the continued abuse of non Jews.
      Even though no real action has been taken I think this will go a long way to overcoming media censorship, their was a poll taken a few years back and the majority believed it was Israel that was under occupation, I’m not joking, and this was only 3 or 4 years ago. Max Keiser quit a financial show he had on BBC because he was told never to mention Israel and true to form there’s been scant coverage of this vote in the UK press.

      The day after the vote former senior minister Alan Duncan gave a speech at the RUSI with a scathing attack on Israel’s “reprehensible” behavior, I’m glad to say this rarity (think dodo) did garner some attention.
      Here’s 10 key points from his speech:
      1. Israeli settlements are the worst, most destructive, aspect of the military occupation. Their continued expansion demonstrates that the occupier has little or no intention or ending that occupation or of permitting a viable Palestinian state to come into existence.

      2. Settlements are theft. They should be called what they are and not by some euphemistic alternative.

      3. Settlement activity is systematically initiated, implemented and supported by the Israeli Government. This is reprehensible.

      4. In addition to being illegal, settlement activity is very often violent, nasty and brutal, but the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) is required to be the guardians of illegal Israeli settlers, not the protectors of Palestinian victims.

      5. The illegality of settlements is so fundamental a matter of principle that until Israel admits as much, they forfeit their moral standing.

      6. It is unacceptable to question Israel’s right to exist. It is also unacceptable, however, to deny that settlements are illegal.

      7. Settlement endorsement- meaning the denial that they are illegal and the support for their consequences- should be considered a form of extremism.

      8. No settlement endorser should be considered fit to stand for election, remain a member of a mainstream political party, or sit in a Parliament.

      9. Too many public representatives of Jewish groups seem to feel obliged to defend Israel for everything it does. Whereas Israel has adopted a policy of making itself a self-defined Jewish state that should not mean that Jews in all other countries should be required to become spokesmen for all that Israel does.

      10. UK political parties should stop conflating British Jews with the pro-Israeli lobby. We need British Jews for the Conservative, Labour, or other parties; not the Israeli lobby for any party.

  3. lysias on October 14, 2014, 2:58 pm

    Are the 12 MP’s who voted against the motion listed anywhere?

    • Shmuel on October 14, 2014, 3:02 pm

      Sir Alan Beith – Liberal Democrat, Berwick-Upon-Tweed

      Bob Blackman – Conservative, Harrow East

      Jonathan Djanogly – Conservative, Huntingdon

      Nigel Dodds – Democratic Unionist, Belfast North

      Mike Freer – Conservative, Finchley and Golders Green

      Dr William McCrea – Democratic Unionist, South Antrim

      Nigel Mills – Conservative, Amber Valley

      Dr Matthew Offord – Conservative, Hendon

      Ian Paisley Jr – Democratic Unionist, North Antrim

      Jim Shannon – Democratic Unionist, Strangford

      David Simpson – Democratic Unionist, Upper Bann

      Robert Syms – Conservative, Pool

      • seafoid on October 14, 2014, 3:26 pm

        5 Ulster Unionists. The most backward Parliamentarians in the House of Commons. Also chosen people, originally colonists, also ran a bigoted statelet. People also have problems with education and challenges with dead memes.

      • lysias on October 14, 2014, 4:14 pm

        Thanks. I notice Ian Paisley’s son in that list.

        Surprising to see a LibDem, but I believe Beith has announced that he is standing down at the end of this Parliament.

      • Shmuel on October 14, 2014, 4:27 pm

        I notice Ian Paisley’s son in that list.

        Like father like son:

        I’ll bet the other four are also members/supporters of NIFI.

      • Bumblebye on October 14, 2014, 9:35 pm

        I’m hugely surprised that Louise Ellman isn’t on the list of nays! She was so passionately arguing against, with everything in the hasbara arsenal. Maybe her abstention serves as a message to Israel that it’s had all the juice wrung out of it.

      • Shmuel on October 15, 2014, 1:38 am

        I’m hugely surprised that Louise Ellman isn’t on the list of nays!

        She’s Labour and it was a whipped vote.

  4. Taxi on October 14, 2014, 3:16 pm

    A stunning display of righteousness.

    But action is still needed.

    Nevertheless, it’s a stellar victory for Palestine.

    I’d love to see a list of the names of the 12 zio-nays.

    • bryan on October 15, 2014, 9:06 am

      Taxi – “righteousness” is unnecessarily harsh. There are not many occasions when one can put one’s hand on one’s heart and say that makes me proud to be British (except when we beat the Aussies in the cricket Ashes, or when one compares British television, British ceremonial or the general professionalism of the British armed services with that of other nations) but last night was one. The debate was sober and non-partisan, passionate yet respectful, principled, generally well-informed and incredibly honest. The references to the “will of the British people” which motivated many long-standing Israel supporters to vote for the motion were I think genuinely sincere. If our colonial allies (USA and Israel) did not have such tawdry imitations of the Mother of Parliaments then this conflict could be resolved.

      • Shingo on October 15, 2014, 9:38 am

        There are not many occasions when one can put one’s hand on one’s heart and say that makes me proud to be British (except when we beat the Aussies in the cricket Ashes, or when one compares British television, British ceremonial or the general professionalism of the British armed services with that of other nations) but last night was one.

        Well mate, as much as I loved seeing our boys take the Ashes last year, I would happily give them back to see our sorry bunch of leaders demonstrate the moral clarity we witnessed from your leaders this week.

      • bryan on October 15, 2014, 1:59 pm

        Agreed. Moral clarity and politics seldom meet each other, but from my reading of the entire debate that is what we saw, even from right-wingers whose economic and social policies I generally loathe. Hopefully a few politicians in other countries will have listened.

    • Taxi on October 15, 2014, 10:44 am

      Looks like Palestine will be liberated before the ‘edit’ function on MW is duly restored.

      What’s the hold up?


  5. Bumblebye on October 14, 2014, 3:35 pm

    How odd! That suggests that Robert Jenrick, against the vote despite his constituents letters and emails, either didn’t vote or did indeed vote aye! Wonder what (Israeli) wife has to say!

  6. just on October 14, 2014, 3:43 pm

    So many truths spoken– finally, out loud and with careful consideration. Many thanks to the good people in and out of the House of Commons who made this happen.

    Compare and contrast with John Kerry’s speech at the donor’s conference.

    Shameful silence about the Occupying Massacrists/Marauders and those who suffer from their heinous, brutal and illegal actions. Fully informed consent given to Israel.

  7. RobertB on October 14, 2014, 3:48 pm

    Here are all the countries that recognize Palestinian statehood [WORLD MAP]

    • Kay24 on October 14, 2014, 5:09 pm

      That map truly shows just where Israeli lobbies are, what nations “controlled” and why they seem okay with the brutal occupation and illegal settlements.

    • Boomer on October 14, 2014, 6:52 pm

      Sweden needs to be added to the “green” countries.

  8. JLewisDickerson on October 14, 2014, 3:51 pm

    RE: Another says that the Balfour Declaration of 1917 now seems like a “sick joke,” because it never guaranteed freedom to Palestinians.”

    MY COMMENT: It was no joke. It was the work of anti-Semitic*, racist** devotees of the British Empire.

    * ■ SEE: “How Britain’s Biggest Racists Created Zionism”, by Mark Burdman

    [EXCERPT] . . . Like Lord Salisbury, Balfour was a public exponent of Zionism — in Balfour’s case starting no later than 1906, when doing so was still a relatively rare public thing for a top-level oligarch. In the 1920s, the aging Balfour was still issuing public appeals for the Zionist cause and helping to motivate various international Zionist pressure groups.
    Simultaneously, his dislike for the Jews was quite unabashed. In 1905, as pogroms mounted in Russia, he proclaimed that “the persecutors have a case.” In 1917, during the peak of Balfour Declaration manipulations, he responded, “Of course, these are the reasons which make you and me such ardent Zionists” when American Zionist Louis Brandeis confided that “every Jew is potentially an intellectual and an idealist and the problem is one of the direction of those qualities” — i.e., into Zionism and not “revolutionary movements.”
    Balfour’s Zionist pontifications were legion: on one occasion, he asserted that the “reconstruction of a Jewish kingdom in Palestine” would be an “interesting experiment” and an “even more interesting end of the world.” On another occasion he intoned, “I am a great believer in separate nationalities” and moaned that the Romans’ destruction of the Second Temple in the first century A.D. was “one of the great wrongs” of history that had to be redressed by “giving the Jews back their ancient home.” . . .


    * ■ ALSO SEE: “An account of the Guardian’s racist endorsement of the Balfour Declaration, by Nu’man Abd al-Wahid, Mondoweiss, April 30, 2012
    LINK –

    * ■ FROM WIKIPEDIA [Arthur Balfour]:

    [EXCERPT] Arthur James Balfour, 1st Earl of Balfour, KG, OM, PC, DL (/ˈbælfʊər/; 25 July 1848 – 19 March 1930) was a British Conservative politician and statesman. He served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from July 1902 to December 1905, and was later Foreign Secretary in 1916–1919.
    Born in Scotland and educated as a philosopher, Balfour first entered parliament in the 1874 general election. At first seen as something of a dilettante, he attained prominence as Chief Secretary for Ireland from 1887–1891. In this post, he authored the Perpetual Crimes Act (1887) (or Coercion Act) aimed at the prevention of boycotting, intimidation and unlawful assembly in Ireland during the Irish Land War. . .
    • Background and early career
    Arthur Balfour was born at Whittingehame, East Lothian, Scotland, the eldest son of James Maitland Balfour (1820–1856) and Lady Blanche Gascoyne-Cecil (1825-1872). His father was a Scottish MP; his mother, a member of the Cecil family descended from Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury, was the daughter of the 2nd Marquess of Salisbury and a sister to the 3rd Marquess, the future Prime Minister. . .
    • Personality
    Balfour was unusual for himself as much as for his politics. He developed a manner well known to his friends, which has been described as the Balfourian manner. Harold Begbie, a journalist of the period, wrote a book called “Mirrors of Downing Street”, in which he criticised Balfour for his manner, personality and self-obsession. Begbie wrote as one who disagreed strongly with Balfour’s political views, but even his one-sided criticisms do not entirely conceal another facet of Balfour’s personality, his shyness and diffidence. The sections of the work dealing with Balfour’s personality have been reproduced below:

    This Balfourian manner, as I understand it, has its roots in an attitude of mind—an attitude of convinced superiority which insists in the first place on complete detachment from the enthusiasms of the human race, and in the second place on keeping the vulgar world at arm’s length.
    It is an attitude of mind which a critic or a cynic might be justified in assuming, for it is the attitude of one who desires rather to observe the world than to shoulder any of its burdens; but it is a posture of exceeding danger to anyone who lacks tenderness or sympathy, whatever his purpose or office may be, for it tends to breed the most dangerous of all intellectual vices, that spirit of self-satisfaction which Dostoievsky declares to be the infallible mark of an inferior mind.
    To Mr. Arthur Balfour this studied attitude of aloofness has been fatal, both to his character and to his career. He has said nothing, written nothing, done nothing, which lives in the heart of his countrymen. To look back upon his record is to see a desert, and a desert with no altar and with no monument, without even one tomb at which a friend might weep. One does not say of him, “He nearly succeeded there”, or “What a tragedy that he turned from this to take up that”; one does not feel for him at any point in his career as one feels for Mr. George Wyndham or even for Lord Randolph Churchill; from its outset until now that career stretches before our eyes in a flat and uneventful plain of successful but inglorious and ineffective self-seeking.
    There is one signal characteristic of the Balfourian manner which is worthy of remark. It is an assumption in general company of a most urbane, nay, even a most cordial spirit. I have heard many people declare at a public reception that he is the most gracious of men, and seen many more retire from shaking his hand with a flush of pride on their faces as though Royalty had stooped to inquire after the measles of their youngest child. Such is ever the effect upon vulgar minds of geniality in superiors: they love to be stooped to from the heights.
    But this heartiness of manner is of the moment only, and for everybody; it manifests itself more personally in the circle of his intimates and is irresistible in week-end parties; but it disappears when Mr. Balfour retires into the shell of his private life and there deals with individuals, particularly with dependants. It has no more to do with his spirit than his tail-coat and his white tie. Its remarkable impression comes from its unexpectedness; its effect is the shock of surprise. In public he is ready to shake the whole world by the hand, almost to pat it on the shoulder; but in private he is careful to see that the world does not enter even the remotest of his lodge gates.
    “The truth about Arthur Balfour,” said George Wyndham, “is this: he knows there’s been one ice-age, and he thinks there’s going to be another.”
    Little as the general public may suspect it, the charming, gracious, and cultured Mr. Balfour is the most egotistical of men, and a man who would make almost any sacrifice to remain in office. It costs him nothing to serve under Mr. Lloyd George; it would have cost him almost his life to be out of office during a period so exciting as that of the Great War. He loves office more than anything this world can offer; neither in philosophy nor music, literature nor science, has he ever been able to find rest for his soul. It is profoundly instructive that a man with a real talent for the noblest of those pursuits which make solitude desirable and retirement an opportunity should be so restless and dissatisfied, even in old age, outside the doors of public life.
    —Begbie, Harold (as ‘A Gentleman with a Duster’): “Mirrors of Downing Street: Some political reflections”, Mills and Boon (1920), p. 76–79 . . .

    SOURCE –

    * ■ SEE: “Zionism versus Bolshevism”, by Winston Churchill, Illustrated Sunday Herald (London), February 8, 1920, pg. 5

    [EXCERPT] . . . The National Russian Jews, in spite of the disabilities under which they have suffered, have managed to play an honourable and useful part in the national life even of Russia. As bankers and industrialists they have strenuously promoted the development of Russia’s economic resources and they were foremost in the creation of those remarkable organisations, the Russian Co-operative Societies. In politics their support has been given, for the most part, to liberal and progressive movements, and they have been among the staunchest upholders of friendship with France and Great Britain.

    International Jews.

    In violent opposition to all this sphere of Jewish effort rise the schemes of the International Jews. The adherents of this sinister confederacy are mostly men reared up among the unhappy populations of countries where Jews are persecuted on account of their race. Most, if not all, of them have forsaken the faith of their forefathers, and divorced from their minds all spiritual hopes of the next world. This movement among the Jews is not new. From the days of Spartacus-Weishaupt to those of Karl Marx, and down to Trotsky (Russia), Bela Kun (Hungary), Rosa Luxembourg (Germany), and Emma Goldman (United States), this world-wide conspiracy for the overthrow of civilisation and for the reconstitution of society on the basis of arrested development, of envious malevolence, and impossible equality, has been steadily growing. It played, as a modern writer, Mrs. Webster, has so ably shown, a definitely recognisable part in the tragedy of the French Revolution. It has been the mainspring of every subversive movement during the Nineteenth Century; and now at last this band of extraordinary personalities from the underworld of the great cities of Europe and America have gripped the Russian people by the hair of their heads and have become practically the undisputed masters of that enormous empire.

    Terrorist Jews.

    There is no need to exaggerate the part played in the creation of Bolshevism and in the actual bringing about of the Russian Revolution by these international and for the most part atheistical Jews. It is certainly a very great one; it probably outweighs all others. With the notable exception of Lenin, the majority of the leading figures are Jews. Moreover, the principal inspiration and driving power comes from the Jewish leaders. Thus Tchitcherin, a pure Russian, is eclipsed by his nominal subordinate Litvinoff, and the influence of Russians like Bukharin or Lunacharski cannot be compared with the power of Trotsky, or of Zinovieff, the Dictator of the Red Citadel (Petrograd), or of Krassin or Radek – all Jews. In the Soviet institutions the predominance of Jews is even more astonishing. And the prominent, if not indeed the principal, part in the system of terrorism applied by the Extraordinary Commissions for Combating Counter-Revolution has been taken by Jews, and in some notable cases by Jewesses. The same evil prominence was obtained by Jews in the brief period of terror during which Bela Kun ruled in Hungary. The same phenomenon has been presented in Germany (especially in Bavaria), so far as this madness has been allowed to prey upon the temporary prostration of the German people. Although in all these countries there are many non-Jews every whit as bad as the worst of the Jewish revolutionaries, the part played by the latter in proportion to their numbers in the population is astonishing. . .


    P.S. And shame on Netanyahu for having a picture of Winston Churchill on a shelf behind his desk! ! !


    When Britain lost control of Egypt in 1956, Prime Minister Anthony Eden said he wanted the nationalist president Gamal Abdel Nasser “destroyed, murdered, I don’t give a damn if there’s anarchy and chaos in Egypt.” Those insolent Arabs, Winston Churchill had urged in 1951, should be driven “into the gutter from which they should never have emerged.”

    SOURCE –

    I do not agree that the dog in a manger has the final right to the manger even though he may have lain there for a very long time. I do not admit that right. I do not admit for instance, that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of American or the black people of Australia. I do not admit that a wrong has been done to these people by the fact that a stronger race, a higher-grade race, a more worldly wise race to put it that way, has come in and taken their place.” ~ To the Peel Commission (1937) on a Jewish Homeland in Palestine

    SOURCE –

    What about Gandhi’s nemesis, Winston Churchill? Today we only remember his heroic opposition to Nazism. But while he was against gassing and tyranny in Europe, he was passionately in favour of it for “uncivilised” human beings whose riches he wanted to seize. In the 1920s, Iraqis rose up against British imperial rule, and Churchill as Colonial Secretary thought of a good solution: gas them. He wrote: “I do not understand this squeamishness… I am strongly in favour of using poisoned gas against uncivilised tribes.” It would “spread a lively terror”. He was quite clear about why Britain should do this. He explained: “We have engrossed to ourselves an altogether disproportionate share of the wealth and traffic of the world… mainly acquired by violence, largely maintained by force.”

    SOURCE –

    • Bumblebye on October 14, 2014, 4:04 pm

      Hmm. Winston Churchill’s grandson, Nicholas Soames, quoted above by Phil, was for the motion.

      • JLewisDickerson on October 14, 2014, 5:31 pm

        “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”, but depending upon the topography of the land, it might well roll quite some distance away from the tree from whence it fell. Not to mention that these days most apples are picked from the trees before falling to the ground because once they fall to the ground they become quite vulnerable to infestation.

    • lysias on October 14, 2014, 5:06 pm

      On Churchill, Madhusree Mukerjee’s book Churchill’s Secret War, about Churchill’s responsibility for the famine in Bengal of 1942-3, which killed some 3 million people, is a really horrifying read. Both Viceroy Lord Linlithgow and Secret of State for India Amery urged Churchill in the strongest terms to send food to Bengal, but Churchill insisted on having it sent to Britain instead.

      • JLewisDickerson on October 14, 2014, 6:01 pm

        Nothing was more important to Churchhill than the survival of his beloved British Empire. Here is a photo of Churchill’s ancestral home & birthplace.* It might help explain why Netanyahu is such a fan of his!
        I wonder how much of Ireland was originally included in the Churchhill (Duke of Marborough) estate.
        SOURCE –

        * WIKIPEDIA: At the end of the 19th century, Blenheim Palace (Churchill’s ancestral home & birthplace) was saved from ruin by funds gained from the 9th Duke of Marlborough’s marriage to American railroad heiress Consuelo Vanderbilt.

    • Moto on October 14, 2014, 10:13 pm

      The Balfour Declaration was a construct of the Jewish Zionist movement. It was drafted by a Jew called Mauritz Amery.

      This declaration and how it was prepared and presented is another example of the deceitful manner in which the Zionists have manipulated persons in power to gain advantage for themselves.

    • Stephen Shenfield on October 15, 2014, 8:43 am

      While we are on the subject of the Balfour Declaration, let us remember Edwin Montagu — the only member of the Cabinet at the time who was Jewish and the only member of the Cabinet who voted against the Declaration. In a memo he wrote to explain his opposition to Zionism he exposed the link between Zionism and anti-Semitism, predicted the Nakba, and suggested that Zionists be disenfranchised as traitors. See:

      • lysias on October 15, 2014, 10:32 am

        Montagu, as Secretary of State for India, was primarily responsible for the Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms which led to the Government of India Act in 1919, committing the British to the eventual evolution of India to dominion status. He thus played a key role in India’s eventually becoming independent.

    • catporn on October 15, 2014, 11:46 am

      Dr Matthew Offord – Conservative, Hendon, started with “I’m surprised to get the chance to contribute madam speaker”, then went on a 20min diatribe, another member cut in saying “the gentleman may of been surprised at the chance to speak, but he’s made up for it by reading from a manuscript handed to him by the Israeli government”, – hearty laughs all round.

      I’ve ad-libbed but it’s pretty close.

  9. seafoid on October 14, 2014, 3:54 pm


    “It is not Jewish for the Israelis to do that. They are harming the image of Judaism, and terrible outbreaks of anti-Semitism are taking place. I want to see an end to anti-Semitism, and I want to see a Palestinian state. ”

    A better class of Jewish politician, unimaginable in the US

    • Anonymous on October 15, 2014, 5:32 pm

      Agreed. And while we’re at it, let’s not forget this speech during Cast Lead:

  10. oldgeezer on October 14, 2014, 4:10 pm

    Well according to Rifkind’s criteria, Palestine can never be a state given that Israel is insisting that it be demilitarized.

    Luckily Rifkind is wrong, out to lunch, and on the wrong side of history.

    • HarryLaw on October 14, 2014, 4:54 pm

      oldgeezer @ “Luckily Rifkind is wrong, out to lunch, on the wrong side of history” He is also completely out of touch with the realities of the situation, given that he can misinform the House thus. “We do not have a Palestinian Government; there are actually two Governments”. Now its true he probably does not have an army of researchers, as he had when he was a high flying member of the cabinet. But surely he should know the Palestinians have had a unity Government since last June. One Government.

      • oldgeezer on October 14, 2014, 6:04 pm

        Yes you’re right about the unity gov. I am still listening to the debate as I couldn’t yesterday. I heard his speech a while ago but no longer remember the details. I do remember he made 4 or 5 claims which are factually wrong. So far he seems to be one of the most out of touch speakers. There was one worse. I can’t remember his name but someone accussed him of reading a GoI press release, I think.

      • catporn on October 15, 2014, 11:58 am

        @oldgeezer That was Offord.
        See donators

    • lysias on October 14, 2014, 5:36 pm

      I heard Rifkind say on the BBC a couple of months ago that stuff that Snowden was saying was wrong, claiming special expertise because of his parliamentary position. He (Rifkind) was lying through his teeth.

  11. HarryLaw on October 14, 2014, 4:38 pm

    The UK Government would have accepted the Palestinians as a non member observer state in 2012, had Palestine given a commitment not to pursue “ICC jurisdiction over the occupied territories at this stage”. The Palestinians rightly refused.

    • FreddyV on October 14, 2014, 7:09 pm

      @Harry Law: I remember watching that as the first time I saw the British government for what it is. Bought and paid for by the Zionists. Cameron and Hague made me want to puke. Thank god the decision is now out of their hands.

  12. JLewisDickerson on October 14, 2014, 5:05 pm

    RE: . . . [S]ince the triumph of military Zionism and the Likud-run Governments we have seen a new barbarism in that country. We have seen it in the Lebanon invasion, in the attack on the Mavi Marmara and the flotilla, and, above all, in the three attacks on Gaza, Operation Protective Edge, Operation Cast Lead . . .” ~ Andy Slaughter

    “From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step.” ~ Denis Diderot

    “A church that preaches the eternity of punishment has within it the seed of all barbarism and the soil to make it grow.” ~ Ingersoll, “The Rev. Dr. Newton’s Sermon on a New Religion”

    ■ Clémenceau once said about America: “It’s the only country where barbarism has crossed over to decadence without passing civilization.”

    “A new barbarism, illiteracy and impoverishment of language, new kinds of poverty, merciless remodeling of opinion by media, immiseration of the mind, obsolescence of the soul. Massified, standardizing modes, in every area of life, relentlessly re-enact the actual control program of modernity. Capitalism did not create our world; the machine did.” ~ Jean-François Lyotard

    As Immanuel Kant reminds us in Perpetual Peace, “even some philosophers have praised it [war] as an ennoblement of humanity, forgetting the pronouncement of the Greek who said, ‘War is an evil inasmuch as it produces more wicked men than it takes away’.” We would also do well to take note of Walter Benjamin’s poignantly made point that “there is no document of civilization which is not at the same time a document of barbarism”.

    SOURCE –

    • ziusudra on October 15, 2014, 6:34 am

      Greetings J.L.D.,
      How many lives do you have?
      K.M. spent his life in the London Library.
      How do you do it?
      Much & many thanks for your grand Input &
      especially getting to the point & backround
      of world leaders of any color.

  13. Kay24 on October 14, 2014, 5:12 pm

    This is how naive our leaders are:

    “U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is seeking to advance a new Israeli-Palestinian peace initiative that would forestall the Palestinians’ application to the UN Security Council to mandate an end to the occupation. To this end, senior Israeli officials say, Kerry has asked Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu whether he would be willing to resume negotiations on the basis of the 1967 lines…” Haaretz

    I guess it can be said that the US will keep this charade going until the occupiers have rid the territories of the Arabs, an on going disaster, according to the shrinking map of Palestine.

    • Horizontal on October 14, 2014, 6:16 pm

      Unilateral recognition through peaceful venues like the UN are to be avoided at all costs, but unilateral things like bombings, targeted assassinations, boycotts, housing destruction, mass arrests and illegal land-grabs are hunky-dory.

      C’mon, Kay24, get with the program . . .

  14. just on October 14, 2014, 5:30 pm

    Video of Alan Duncan’s speech at RUSI:

    A very fine speech indeed! A humdinger.

    • catporn on October 15, 2014, 12:11 pm

      Good find just, I read excerpts yesterday and was very impressed, but pissed off it didn’t happen when in office.
      Still it shows that regardless of UK policy towards Israel there is a lot of support for Palestine behind the scenes, now we need to pull the curtains open.

    • bryan on October 15, 2014, 2:19 pm

      You are absolutely right, Just. It was a remarkable oration to what appeared a very appreciative audience. The speech is certainly worth listening to or reading on the link provided by Just, but if I can summarize the gist is as follows: the key issue of the conflict is the settlement policy pursued deliberately and consistently by the Israeli government; that settlement policy is not only completely illegal but also utterly immoral; anyone supporting that policy should be shunned as an extremist (in the same way that the civilized world now shuns homophobes, racists and misogynists); the civilized world has taken strenuous action including sanctions or stronger military action against other and less egregious occupiers (e.g. Saddam in Kuwait or Putin in Crimea) and any funding inspired by foreign states or their supporters to provide them with political backing should be outlawed. A passionate and very forcefully argued exposition – please read.

    • ckg on October 15, 2014, 4:46 pm

      I am not sure if it has been linked to previously on MW, but the entire speech transcript is given here:

  15. Horizontal on October 14, 2014, 6:25 pm

    I keep looking to the gay marriage thing for inspiration of how some long-standing situation can suddenly change. Look at that recent statement from the Pope, for example. And now this symbolic yet overpowering vote in favor of the Palestinians, a group which Israel is spending so much effort and money trying to erase. This is a great vote. Soon, I hope we can hear some similar truth spoken in our congress regarding Israel’s illegal actions.

    • American on October 14, 2014, 8:19 pm

      ” I hope we can hear some similar truth spoken in our congress regarding Israel’s illegal actions. – ”’

      Don’t hold your breath, you’re going to have to beat it out of US politicians…

      • catporn on October 15, 2014, 12:13 pm

        I’ve got a stick!

  16. james3 on October 14, 2014, 6:49 pm

    I just viewed the NYT, LA Times, Wash Po, CNN, MSNBC, FOXNEWS, Foreign Policy, and TIME sites. ‘’ was the only site to mention the British Parliament decision, half way down the page: “Israel Grapples With British Vote to Recognize Palestine”.

    Who knew the British Parliament decision to vote overwhelmingly in favor of Palestinian statehood didn’t happen? American media.

  17. JLewisDickerson on October 14, 2014, 6:54 pm

    RE: “Some of the acts committed by Israel were clearly unacceptable. Why was it necessary to blow up Gaza’s only power station, leaving already stretched hospitals to rely on generators? Why was it necessary to bomb hospitals and schools . . .” ~ Andrew Griffiths

    MY COMMENT: Why was it necessary to bomb high-rise residential towers (apparently with U.S.-supplied “bunker busters”? Was it to give Israel’s fly boys some practice using them and/or to gauge their effectiveness for use on Iran? Or was just an homage of sorts to the mighty Priapus?

  18. Shingo on October 14, 2014, 6:56 pm

    It is almost surreal to be reading these statements by government officials. it clearly demonstrators that most politicians are very much aware of the facts and Israel’s criminality but maintain the status quo for career reasons.

    One thing I do disagree with is the repeated argument that this is somehow all Netanyahu’s fault, as if to suggest the problem is the current Israeli government and not Israel itself, or that the British public has only recently turned on Israel.

    While it is clear this is largely symbolic, it will have reverberations around the world. It will surely put pressure on Cameron to respond or acknowledge the consensus. It will serve to highlight how isolated the ruling elite is isolated from the public.

    And just as importantly, it will serve to ridicule US diplomats and leaders who spout their usual bullshit about unbreakable bombs, terrorism , US commitment to peace and the usual bullshit.

    • traintosiberia on October 19, 2014, 9:15 pm

      Despite all the anti immigration anti Arab anti Muslim sentiments in Europe there is an increasing recognition that a honest viable settlements in Palestine is an urgency that could not be merged with anti Islamic sentiments to make it go away. Zio tried this but its not working and now actually those efforts are undermining even the accepted positions of the Zionism.
      The lack of an empire or overseas territorial interest of any European country along with disengagement from unilateral overseas involvement by any European country has forced these countries to pay attention to the domestic issues and concerns .

      Israel is creating various conflicts in Middle East to keep antimuslim sentiments alive in US Its operating principle is to keep the superpower or only friend with benefit occupied with anti Muslim
      sentiment ,fear,loathing,and hatred and use the emotion to frighten US from engaging any neutral role in I -P conflicts . Israel conflates IS or AlQuida with Hamas and sometimes with PA. Their is no daylight among those entities , no space separating them . America has swallowed the poisoned views entirely with no small help from the 3 print media and 2 TV networks .
      The Muslim on US are suspect and under surveillance.
      Their motive and attitude are condemned everyday in so many ways that Arab Palestine could no longer find a venue to express the horror that are playing on Palestine .
      It also means that only eternal war by US directed against Muslim can sustain Israel. It hasn’t worked in Europe or Soviet or Russia. It can’t work. Somehow this thought is not completely missing from the calculation of the Zionism. This sense of ultimate failure is driving the political l process of Israel. It can no longer will be able to recreate the modest that epitomized the Sadat Begin meeting or Oslo process . Neither America will be able to have a Carter or Bush 1 or Kennedy . America is left with Balfurian mentality and Chutchilian ambivalence .
      Only the imposed or inevitable normalcy of American policy can
      alter the equation away from Israel. This fear is also the factor that
      argues against ” isolationism” which is the normal default position of any country and was for America since its inception until hijacked by the interests groups from 1 st WW .
      I am sure when American politicians talk of 2 am phone call, they do include the possibility of imploding of Israel under the contradictory internal forces of its own making. What happens next ?
      Suppose Israel manages to get rid of Palestinians from both Gaza and WB – what happens next ? Israel will still be looking for more conflicts and troubles to survive the internal contradictions but it will be weakened and chances are that it will try to build relation with local despot kings,and sheikhs . It will be another Middle East country and internally unstable but devoid of financial and military sports of US Anti Islamic sentiments will disappear from US . Media will be forced to change the tune . Politicians will be forced to come around to the views that UK politicians find themselves in today . A normal Israel is oxymoron Its history is the history of continued wars and conflicts . It will not survive any peace even the peace of the graveyard .

  19. David Doppler on October 14, 2014, 7:06 pm

    Great post. I’m reminded of that gay Irish Parliamentarian who spoke with such moral indignation some weeks back. I wondered at the silence that seemed to great his words, but thought the plate was set for an American politician to make a similar speech that would be a turning point.

    Now the entire British Parliament jumps on board, competing with each other to more eloquently state the need for change.

    When will one of our faint-hearted “elites” in DC realize that the time is ripe for a leader to emerge who is not too shy to express moral indignation at the status quo, with passion. My sense is the threat to career has evaporated, and it’s just a matter of weeks before someone decides that his career will be advanced by demanding a change from Likudnik intransigence. Maybe some Congressional candidate looking for a break out issue to put new juice in a close but otherwise losing campaign.

    • amigo on October 14, 2014, 8:29 pm

      “Great post. I’m reminded of that gay Irish Parliamentarian who spoke with such moral indignation some weeks back”.. David Doppler

      That would be David Norris who ran for President against Michael D Higgins a very worthy opponent and a proponent of Palestinian rights,

  20. RoHa on October 14, 2014, 7:15 pm

    I haven’t seen much reporting of this debate here in Australia*, which Is a pity. I’m sure it would be welcome to much of the populace, even if the politicians pretend it never happened.

    It shows how dire the I/P situation is when it stirs morality in the bunch of frauds, drunks, and time servers who infest the Commons.

    And I like the phrase “screensaver politics”. I think we may hear that used more often, now.

    (*Most attention is being paid to Tony Abbot’s subtle an delicate diplomacy with Russia.)

    • straightline on October 17, 2014, 7:59 pm

      Nor me RoHa, but I did hear Andrew Nikolic MP on Radio National with a fawning interviewer telling us how we in the West need to “deal with” Iran. His 10 minutes of unchallenged fabrication could have been written by one of Netanyahu’s scriptwriters.

      A couple of hours later an interviewer on RN was aggressively attacking Bob Carr for leaving a concert in France early to go to an ANZAC memorial service.

      What is amazing about the UK vote is that, despite having a largely Zionist dominated press and TV (BBC, Guardian, Murdoch, in particular), the people have worked out what’s really going on. Of course, Australia’s media are even worse.

      • Shingo on October 17, 2014, 11:14 pm

        Nikolai is a nobody clearly trying to generate publicity on the Natuonal stage.

        Addie the Ozzy media, it’s no different to the UK. The ABC has done sime great work on the IP conflict.

  21. American on October 14, 2014, 8:16 pm

    This is excellent Phil –just excellent!
    I am faxing this to my congressman and I=First senator tomorrow.

    I dont care how others want to minimize this vote as only symbolic—-that the speeches shown here were said in the UK parliament and will be quoted around the world is a big step forward. The fact that now Israeli actions have been called what they are by the ‘honorables’ will also be a encouragement to UK citizens to hold their feet to the fire.

    Next stop—- sanctions on Israel, not just on the illegal settlements if Israel doesn’t come to heel.

  22. Marnie on October 15, 2014, 1:29 am

    “does my hon. Friend agree that the message sent from the British Parliament tonight will also be noted by the American Government and the American people, and that although our influence may not be strong directly on Israel, our relationship with America enables us to use its influence with Israel also to convey that sense of horror?”

    Can anyone imagine even the most remote possibility that the US congress would ever have a discussion about the state of israel that would be this honest? The congress does not have the backbone, integrity or even the vocabulary to have this desperately needed debate. The debate would sound too much like Joan Rivers at her famous airport interview, nothing but lies, drama, name-calling, bullshit and bullying. This congress behaves as ridiculously as the israeli knesset, albeit without the chair throwing (for now at least). The US is in a “tight spot” being that it is in bed with the state of israel and is become an embarrassment and has no moral beacon. It seems the British gov’t may be learning the lessons of their colonial past and have decided to walk the road less traveled, with or without approval of the US and for that I am grateful.

    • bryan on October 15, 2014, 2:31 pm

      Marnie – wonderful though the debate was it did not involve the government – the only MPs involved were backbenchers (those not participating in the Cabinet) ex-Ministers and third-rank ministers. In other words many of the speakers had either given up their ambitions of high office or had never entertained such ambitions in the first place but merely sought to serve those who elected them. They could thus afford to be honest, to pursue justice and to fairly represent public opinion, but this debate does not represent any change in government policy, those its implications may be seismic.

  23. just on October 15, 2014, 2:41 am

    “The UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, described the destruction in Gaza from the recent conflict with Israel as “beyond description” and a source of “shame to the international community” as he visited the war-devastated coastal strip on Tuesday.

    “I am here with a heavy heart,” Ban told a press conference. “The destruction which I have seen coming here is beyond description,” he added.

    Ban said the damage was far worse than what he had seen after the previous conflict – Operation Cast Lead – that took place in 2008-09.

    The UN chief was driven through the ruins of Gaza City’s Shuja’iya neighbourhood and visited a school in nearby Jabaliya refugee camp, scenes of some of the heaviest Israeli shelling in this summer’s conflict.

    Two classrooms at the UN school were hit by shells, killing at least 14 people sheltering there. Relatives of the dead held up posters showing their loved ones, while waiting to catch a glimpse of the UN head.

    Ban saved his strongest language for the deaths of about 500 children during the war. “I met so many of the beautiful children of Gaza. More than 500 were killed in the fighting – many more were wounded. What did they do wrong? Being born in Gaza is not a crime.””

  24. seafoid on October 15, 2014, 3:16 am

    There are Jews, especially Sephardim, who see beyond the hatred and towards solutions

    Um Kulthum’s most enduring piece, “Inta Omry,” is immediately recognizable to anyone with even a passing acquaintance with Arab culture. It can elicit tears in the most hardened person. Each time the song is played my eyes well up and my heart is completely open to the emotions of lost love and personal obsession that connect the listener to the heart of the classical Arabic poetic tradition. This was the same tradition adopted and adapted by the dozens of poets whose bold work marked the “Golden Age” of Sephardic Jewry

    When we begin to see the fault-lines dividing people in terms of the human — how people actually live their daily lives — then we will better be able to unite those who hate one another. The unifying factor of culture, of music and its magical effect on us, is something that has been sorely missing from a vast majority of the discussions regarding the Middle East and its recurring dilemmas. Bringing the discussion back to the simplicity of the human is an important desideratum, regardless of the many forces that have sought to monopolize the discourse and contour the discussion to suit their parochial purposes.
    Listening to the voice of Um Kulthum is perhaps the best place for us to start this dialogue.”

    • just on October 15, 2014, 9:50 am

      You are always one step ahead.

      An article by Shasha just went up here:

    • just on October 15, 2014, 12:23 pm

      The epic classic worked its magic.

      Thank you.

      • Walid on October 16, 2014, 1:21 am

        The music to this beautiful song was by the great Egyptian actor-singer-composer Mohammed Abdel-Wahab, composer of the Egyptian, Libyan, Tunisian and UAE national anthems. The lyrics by Ahmad Shafiq Kamel were somewhat reminiscent of EBB’s “How do I love thee?”:

        Your eyes took me back
        To my days that are gone
        They taught me to regret
        the past and its wounds.

        Whatever I saw
        Before my eyes saw you was a wasted life.
        How could they consider that part of my life?

        You are my life that starts its dawn with your light.

        How much of my life before you was lost
        It is a wasted past, my love.

        My heart never saw happiness before you
        My heart never saw anything in life other
        than the taste of pain and suffering.

        I started only now to love my life
        And started to worry that my life would run away from me.

        Every happiness I was longing for before you
        My dreams they found it in the light of your eyes.

        Oh my heart’s life .. You are more precious than my life
        Why I didn’t meet your love a long time ago?

        Whatever I saw
        Before my eyes saw you was a wasted life.
        How could they consider that part of my life?

        You are my life that starts its dawn with your light.

        The beautiful nights
        And the yearning and the great love
        From a long time ago
        The heart is holding for you.

        Taste the love with me
        Bit by bit
        From the kindness of my heart
        That is longing for the kindness of your heart.

        Bring your eyes close so that my eyes can get lost
        In the life of your eyes.
        Bring your hands so that
        my hands will rest in the touch of your hands.

        My love, come
        And enough.
        What we missed is not little,
        Oh love of my soul.

        Whatever I saw
        Before my eyes saw you was a wasted life.
        How could they consider that part of my life?

        You are my life that starts its dawn with your light.

        You are more precious than my days.
        You are more beautiful than my dreams,
        Take me to your sweetness-
        Take me away from the universe

        Far away, far away.
        I and you
        Far away, far away.

        With love, our days will awaken
        We spend the nights longing for each other

        I reconciled with days because of you
        I forgave the time because of you

        With you I forgot my pains
        And I forgot with you my misery.

        Your eyes took me back
        To my days that are gone
        They taught me to regret
        the past and its wounds.

        Whatever I saw
        Before my eyes saw you was a wasted life.
        How could they consider that part of my life?

        You are my life that starts its dawn with your light.

      • Taxi on October 16, 2014, 1:31 am

        Deeply moving romantic lyrics – thanks Walid!

      • just on October 16, 2014, 9:16 am

        Walid!!! I have missed you– please stay around.

      • Walid on October 16, 2014, 10:18 am

        Hello, Just.

      • just on October 16, 2014, 6:13 pm

        Hello Walid.


  25. NickJOCW on October 15, 2014, 3:23 am

    I am overwhelmed with admiration for the effort Phil has put into this comprehensive coverage.

    The general use of the word ‘symbolic’ is unfortunate. The word means something standing in for something else. The debate was not ‘symbolic’ since it was exactly what it was. Debates of this kind are an integral part of the UK parliamentary process and that word demeans it by implying that it was not really what it was.

    First we had the White House criticizing Israel in a forthright manner and making the point that it’s not just the United States, it’s the international community who will respond strongly to this kind of continued activity.

    That opened the stable door: Sweden, the UK, France* …and looming ahead the UN (did you see this)

    *Yesterday “From the moment that we say there must be two states (Israel and Palestine), there will be a need for recognition of the Palestinian state, that goes without saying,”Laurant  Fabius told the French lower house (National Assembly) on Tuesday, as quoted by AFP.

    I also feel doubtful about a two state solution because I don’t trust Israel. But it would be the world’s foster child and, who knows, future generations of Jews may well be prepared to look to peaceful accord their neighbours.

    • bryan on October 15, 2014, 2:49 pm

      We mustn’t get to carried away because the debate was symbolic in the sense of being a backbench debate and the passing of the motion has no binding impact on government policy which the government has already intimated will not change. What was significant was that an overwhelming body of back-benchers (non-ministers) from all major parties spoke so honestly and with passion for justice and broke the taboo that support for Palestine is somehow anti-Israel. The overwhelming message was that it is because we are friends of Israel that we cannot remain silent on Israeli crimes, and backing for a Palestinian right to self-determination is actually a pro-Israeli policy because that is the only possible way that Israel can possibly achieve peace and security. The breaking of that taboo by a significant number of the political elite from all parties is what was wonderfully unexpected, and far more than a symbol. Recent months have I think seen a profound change in the international perception of the conflict, and one that has forced British politicians to reevaluate their stances, and realign themselves with a groundswell of public opinion.

  26. Egbert on October 15, 2014, 7:37 am

    This will surely p*ss off Israel. What will they do? Will they take it out on their favorite punch bag? Keep an eye out for renewed claims of rocket attacks etc from Gaza. Or maybe Israel will take it out on someone else.

  27. Talkback on October 15, 2014, 8:28 am

    Only Israel? I see Zionism as Bullyism. There is no way in taking over (parts of) Palestine and achieving a Jewish majority in in without being a “Bully”. It was always against the defensive right to self determination of the real majority. There wasn’t even a vote amongst the Palestinian citizens who became or had the right to become (see even UNGAR 181) Israelis. his Antigentile Apartheid Junta had not even an internal legitimation from the get go.

  28. JimMichie on October 15, 2014, 9:04 am

    Your headline should read, “British Parliament Sends a Message to Obama: The People See Israel As a Racist Bully’ It is outrageously despicable that Barack Obama, a person of color and winner of a “Nobel Peace Prize” continues to send $$$billions to Israel in its “campaign” to drive out and/or murder any and all Palestinians from their own territories!

  29. Kathleen on October 15, 2014, 11:19 am

    Thanks for this Phil. Was unable to watch. Over the years have watched and listened to the British Parliament discuss this critical issue and many more. Can you imagine this kind of honest and fact based debate going on in the US congress? Not going to happen. As Netanyahu has so often pointed out they own the US congress.

    • Kay24 on October 15, 2014, 11:37 am

      During the war apparently Israel outmaneuvered the White House by going over their heads and obtaining the weapons they wanted to massacre Palestinian civilians:

      “JERUSALEM—White House and State Department officials who were leading U.S. efforts to rein in Israel’s military campaign in the Gaza Strip were caught off guard last month when they learned that the Israeli military had been quietly securing supplies of ammunition from the Pentagon without their approval.

      Since then the Obama administration has tightened its control on arms transfers to Israel. But Israeli and U.S. officials say that the adroit bureaucratic maneuvering made it plain how little influence the White House and State Department have with the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu —and that both sides know it.

      The munitions surprise and previously unreported U.S. response added to a string of slights and arguments that have bubbled behind the scenes during the Gaza conflict, according to events related by senior American, Palestinian and Israeli officials involved.”

      Would the US have allowed another alien nation to manipulate us like this, and shouldn’t this bring outrage from Congress, instead of continuing to kiss up to Israel?
      It seems we are manipulated and controlled by a devious war criminals, and we let them.
      The unfortunate thing is, our leaders are letting these scum bags control us in every way.
      This would have warranted the US threatening to stop all aid and especially weapons but they still keep sending the love.

      • Kathleen on October 15, 2014, 12:04 pm

        Over the decades Israel has had no problem accessing any arms etc that they want from the US.

    • bryan on October 15, 2014, 3:19 pm

      Kathleen – there are clear differences between British and American politics, but I don’t think you would have seen this debate in the British parliament a year ago. Friends of Israel still hugely outnumber Friends of Palestine. The catalysts of the change have I think been (1) weariness with the arrogant misrepresentations of Netanyahu and his obsessive belligerence towards Iran, (2) the growing extremism and racism exhibited by Israeli society, (3) the failure of the Kerry peace initiative (clearly obstructed by Israel), (4) the gross dis-proportionality of Operation Protective Shield, clearly manipulating the tragic murders of the three Israelis and the creation of a Palestinian unity government, (5) diligent campaigning for a debate by Grahame Morris and a small group of Labour Friends of Palestine and (6) an impassioned campaign of emails and representations from ordinary citizens Jew and non-Jew alike for a change in policy and an end to complicity with the occupation. Now the first 4 of these are certainly not limited to impact on Britain. At some point America will find a facilitator like Morris to instigate a reappraisal of policy. Public opinion in the states is of course less progressive on I-P, but the US has its own catalysts such as Zionist corruption of the political process, the bullying by donors, the absurd funding of the state of Israel and the expectation that US will always exercise a veto to protect the SOI from its crimes that will inevitably come increasingly into play. So keep up mobilising and agitating for justice rather than acquiescing in Israeli domination.

      • Kathleen on October 23, 2014, 12:08 pm

        George Galloway has been a huge influence in getting the facts out to the public and parliament

  30. Samir on October 15, 2014, 11:52 am

    In what was once a secret memo, Lord Balfour wrote:

    “For in Palestine we do not propose to go through the form of consulting the wishes of the present inhabitants … The four great powers are committed to Zionism and Zionism, be it right or wrong, good or bad, is rooted in age-long tradition, in present needs, in future hopes, of far profounder import than the desires and prejudices of the 700,000 Arabs who now inhabit that ancient land”

    Read the complete amazing historical and legal analysis of the Balfour Declaration in Professor W.T. Mallison’s essay: “The Balfour Declaration: An Appraisal in International Law”

    This essay may be found, together with some of the best essays ever written about Palestine in the (now out-of-print) book: THE TRANSFORMATION OF PALESTINE – Ibrahim Abu Lughod, Editor.

    • MHughes976 on October 16, 2014, 12:33 pm

      I would also commend once again Margaret MacMillan’s ‘Peacemakers’ which gives a very full account of the Versailles Conference and all its works. That memo from Balfour, a Christian Zionist of the Scottish school (which had previously, three quarters of a century earlier, given us ‘a Land without a People’), is cited and put in context.

      • lysias on October 20, 2014, 2:27 pm

        There was also British imperialism involved. The British government wanted to settle near the Suez Canal a population that they expected would help them to hold the canal. And then, there was the desire to outbid the German government (which itself was preparing to issue its own version of a Balfour Declaration) for Jewish and American support in World War One. Apparently, negotiations between the Zionists and the British government for the Balfour Declaration were well advanced by the time the U.S. declared war on Germany.

  31. Kathleen on October 15, 2014, 12:02 pm

    The best debates on Harris, Maher bigotry being examined are at Cenk Uygars Young Turks. Available on you tube What is the Root of Violence – Religion or Other Factors …

    Video for Cenk Uygur on Maher and Harris bigotry exposed► 19:42► 19:42 Also at Professor Juan Cole’s website Informed Comment Islamophobia: Is Sam Harris As Dangerous As Sarah Palin ……/
    Juan Cole
    4 days ago – “”Whether you think him a truth-teller or a bigot, Bill Maher deserves

    Is Sam Harris As Dangerous As Sarah Palin?

    “Whether you think him a truth-teller or a bigot, Bill Maher deserves credit for launching one of the most robust…

    • traintosiberia on October 20, 2014, 6:42 am

      Sarah Palin and Bachman can easily be mistaken for the duo – Maher and Harris but for the lack of the trappings of the liberalism.
      The open embrace of LGBT ,abortion,pre marital sex,sex education,and support for the minorities and stance against Christianity define the duo . Sarah and Michelle can easily torpedo the two from the positions they occupy in liberal minds if Palin and Bachman ,instead of bad mouthing the LGBT and the blacks start bad mouthing God,Christmas,and the school prayer ,everything else reaming the same including the penchant for violence against the foreign enemies of the Zionism and love for the Zionist’s relentless pursuit for selective application of the due process of the law or the justice . Liberals love to be called liberal – an end in itself . Maher and Harris know how to nurture that need . It is bribery . It is no different than the corruption that Saudi Royal uses to buy the loyalty of the religious conservatives . It is no different from what Cheney gang did to buy the loyalty of the social conservative . The bribing of the mind to defang the sharpest teeth of the movement – that’s what it is – obviously to advance interconnected ,interdependent ,tribal interests with a veneer of satire that also carries the venom with no easy accessible antidote . Someone has to travel miles and break the roadblocks to counter the stupidities that these two engage in the same way the venomenous insects do to paralyze the victims for a nice meal with impressive display of the acrobatics .

  32. Kathryn on October 15, 2014, 2:17 pm

    One of the most direct and scathing speeches I have ever heard about Israeli settlements and the responsibility of the world governments supporting Israel was given by Sir Alan Duncan ( who was quoted above) can be heard here:

    • oldgeezer on October 15, 2014, 4:14 pm

      Very powerful speech and 100% correct. Thanks for the link:)

      • Kathryn on October 15, 2014, 6:43 pm

        My pleasure

  33. oldgeezer on October 15, 2014, 2:36 pm

    And despite their claims that the road to Palestinian statehood is through negotiations, today Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon stated that there will be no Palestinian state. Some autonomy perhaps but no state.

    BDS is the only way to go and we need to get to the S.

    Israel has no intent of a just peace and no intent to either stop oppressing Palestinians nor stealing their land.

    • Kay24 on October 15, 2014, 2:51 pm

      Talking of BDS, the Home Shopping Network is right now trying to peddle Sodastream. There is a very animated woman trying to convince naive Americans to buy their horrible product.

      • just on October 15, 2014, 2:56 pm

        Coming to a overstock discount store near all of us next!

        LOL Kay!

      • oldgeezer on October 15, 2014, 3:21 pm

        Whenever I see them on shelves I have two reactions. One is to put a notice by the product pointing out where it’s made and the problems. A bds sticker if you will. The second is to buy it, smash it, and send it back to the illegal settlement it came from. I wouldn’t do the latter as it would actually profit the retailer and SS inc but frankly it would give me the most satisfaction.

        I have written other retailers complaining about the products carried that are being produced illegally either on stolen land or with stolen resources. I haven’t bothered in the SS case as it’s Walmart and not likely to make a dent. I probably should at least try.

        I do see them getting marked down in price all the time so they aren’t moving. That’s a good thing.

      • Kay24 on October 15, 2014, 5:07 pm

        Really Just, the dump everything on us, even illegally made products. HEH.

        We are a nation of suckers.

  34. Bornajoo on October 15, 2014, 5:02 pm

    “I am overwhelmed with admiration for the effort Phil has put into this comprehensive coverage”

    Well said


  35. JLewisDickerson on October 16, 2014, 1:01 am

    RE: “I should note that all these pols also supported the two-state solution. (I’ve largely ignored those portions because I believe the 2SS is a dead letter . . .” ~ Weiss

    MY COMMENT: Or, as I like to say, the two-state solution is now in its Weekend at Bernie’s phase!

  36. amigo on October 16, 2014, 9:16 am

    The Irish times editorial supports Ireland recognition of Palestine.

    “Ireland, although among the EU states most supportive of the Palestinians, has traditionally been conservative about wielding the recognition card, whether to bestow or withdraw. In response to Dáil questions this week Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan echoed Fabius in linking recognition to assisting talks.

    But perhaps the time has come to go further. The most recent US-mediated talks collapsed in April and Israel, whose diplomats are frantically lobbying against recognition, needs to be told that it can not hold the issue hostage while continuing to prevaricate on engaging in meaningful dialogue. Recognition would not do anything to copperfasten Palestinian sovereignty, but it would send an important message to Israel that there will be a diplomatic price to pay. Ireland should join Sweden in doing so. “IT

    • just on October 16, 2014, 11:01 am

      Bravo IT!!!

      “needs to be told that it can not hold the issue hostage”

      Neither should anyone be complicit in holding the Palestinians hostage to the evil GoI, its 95%, and the ‘settlers’.

      thanks amigo.

      • amigo on October 16, 2014, 11:52 am

        Clearly , the editorial board of the Irish Times have been “sniffing ” around Roger,s stash.

        How else does one explain this antisemitic ranting.Those damn Irish , all Jew haters and drunks. Didn,t De valera sign Hitler,s condolence book.Blah , blah blah.

  37. michelle on October 17, 2014, 11:01 am

    isn’t it misleading that some people are still going on about bombs launched from Gaza
    are there any pictures of the damage caused by bombs launched from Gaza
    did the Gaza bombs cause any real/property damage personal injury or death
    and no not on the word of any Israeli and/or Israeli supporter (no more lies ty)
    while i understand that not all Israeli people and/or supporters are dishonest
    as with many people what they believe to be true might not be The Truth
    ty Mondoweiss for seeking and sharing
    G-d Bless

  38. jgarbuz on October 17, 2014, 4:57 pm

    “In 1920, we undertook a sacred trust—a commitment to guide Palestinians to statehood and independence. ”

    The above statement is a lie. The purpose of the Balfour Declaration and the subsequent League of Nations Mandate was to bring back the displaced Jewish nation to its “Jewish National Home.” It was to rectify the grave injustice of displacing an entire nation from its historic homeland by Europeans Romans and other non-Jews who occupied the land as well. The League of Nations recognized no other nation, but only “non-Jewish communities” resident in the area they referred to as “Palestine,” the name the Romans gave the land of Judea after destroying the last Jewish state.

    So I stopped reading after that sentence because an essay based on a lie is just a big-bang of lies.

    • lysias on October 17, 2014, 5:40 pm

      Both the Balfour Declaration and the League of Nations Mandate contain the words: “it being clearly understood that nothing should be done which might prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine”.

    • Shingo on October 17, 2014, 6:49 pm

      The above statement is a lie. The purpose of the Balfour Declaration and the subsequent League of Nations Mandate was to bring back the displaced Jewish nation to its “Jewish National Home.”

      Rubbish. There was no mention of any Jewish Nation.

      The League of Nations recognized no other nation, but only “non-Jewish communities” resident in the area they referred to as “Palestine,” the name the Romans gave the land of Judea after destroying the last Jewish state.

      Wrong.Pierre Orts, chairman of Mandate Commission of the League Of Nations, made it perfectly clear:

      “The mandate, in Article 7, obliged the Mandatory to enact a nationality law, which again showed that the Palestinians formed a nation, and that Palestine was a State, though provisionally under guardianship. It was, moreover, unnecessary to labour the point; there was no doubt whatever that Palestine was a separate political entity.”
      – See more at:

      So the mandate was to midwife a state of Palestine, no imaginary Jewish state, Balfour himself said that Jewish National Hone did not mean a Jewish State. There was never any mention of what the Europeans Romans and other non-Jews might or might not have done.

      Hasbara fail!!

    • Shingo on October 17, 2014, 6:55 pm

      BTW Jgarbuz,

      Your messianic ramblings and diatribes are absent from FP these days. Were you banned from there for spamming?

    • Mooser on October 20, 2014, 1:14 pm

      “The purpose of the Balfour Declaration and the subsequent League of Nations Mandate was to bring back the displaced Jewish nation to its “Jewish National Home.”

      And, of course, our job as Jews was to fall right in with Britain’s imperial plans and schemes? Yes, sir, that’s what our history leads inexorably to, becoming England’s lackey in the ME?

      • MHughes976 on October 20, 2014, 1:32 pm

        Jewish enthusiasm for Zionism was quite muted at that point. However, I don’t that the Balfour Declaration was an honest attempt to form a new Palestine, though that attempt is certainly implied in any reasonable understanding of what a mandate could be – the creation of a sovereign power which does not originate from the territory concerned and therefore, so as not to be a conqueror or exploiter, has every manner of obligation to the actual inhabitants of that territory. The whole dynasty of documents from the Declaration onwards pays some lip service to that understanding – the rights of all are to be preserved. However, Balfour’s real intention all along was to introduce a Jewish population and never mind the Arabs. He more or less tipped off the Press to that effect immediately. He was a committed Christian Zionist of the Scottish school, which (as I mentioned a few days ago) gave the world the idea of a Land Without a People via the questionable visionary Dr. Rev. Alexander Keith in the 1840s. Even more important was the Christian Zionism of his boss, Lloyd George, who was surely and sorely troubled by his sinful life and wanted to make something that would carry God’s will into effect.
        The Declaration was a trick and a lie (well, it made a pair of inconsistent promises of which only one was meant) and it was recognised to some degree for what it was by many at the time. There’s a lot of good information in Margaret MacMillan’s ‘Peacemakers’ which is a very powerful presentation of the tragedy of Versailles.

  39. American on October 17, 2014, 11:21 pm

    The Zio fanatics in GB lost another one. Maybe when they realize their days of wielding anti semitism against everyone are coming to an end they will all move to Israel.

    Crown Persecution Service: No prosecution of Galloway over ‘Israel-free zone’ speech

    Published on Friday, 17 October 2014 18:38

    ‘The Crown Prosecution Service has confirmed that Bradford West MP George Galloway will not be charged over a speech in made in Leeds in August declaring that Bradford was an ‘an Israel-free zone’.

    Following the speech on August 2, which was posted online, several complaints were made to Yorkshire police that Galloway’s comments amounted to hate crime. These allegations have been comprehensively dismissed by the CPS.

    “This has been an extremely expensive waste of police’ and CPS’ time forced on them by ultra-Zionists who were pursuing a vendetta against me,” Galloway said. “My comments were aimed at the state of Israel which – I repeat what I said at the time – is an illegal, savage and barbarous state, and had nothing whatever to do with race or religion. And they have the benefit of being true. That country has more censures against it by the United Nations than the rest of the countries in the world put together, refuses to abide by resolutions and continues to illegally grab land and persecute the rightful owners of it and uses its military to blockade and murder the people of Gaza. I take back not a word and I will continue to forcefully condemn Israel.”

  40. traintosiberia on October 19, 2014, 4:17 pm

    Writing on the wall of the British parliament. But ADL will read it as Antisemitic winning the argument and ask for action . ADL will not soul search and change the behaviors of the Zionist . Instead it will look for ways to change the voices of the people.
    WSJ is already working on it . It has written the expected editorials ridiculing the MPs ,lambasting the Palestinians and raising the threat of terrorism to uber consciousness .
    Nowhere the respect for democracy or public opinion is displayed and everywhere the feigned frustration for lack f democracy in Arab world is cited .

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