Thursday 26 October 2023

Keir Starmer is too weak to defend Israel


I was horrified by Jeremy Corbyn in a way that I wasn’t horrified by any previous Labour leader. I might have disagreed with previous leaders, but they were within the mainstream of British politics. Corbyn was not. He was an extremist who supported terrorists and quite frankly hated Britain.

The one thing that has worried me since 2019 is that every single important figure in the Labour Party campaigned for Corbyn to become Prime Minister. Keir Starmer may have suspended Jeremy Corbyn and prevented him from standing at the next election, but he knew all there was to know about Corbyn in 2019. A man who is now unfit to be a Labour MP was fit then to be Prime Minister.

I was impressed by Keir Starmer’s initial response to the terrorist attacks on Israel. He was clear in his condemnation and clear that Israel had the right to defend itself and prevent Hamas committing such atrocities again. I think Starmer genuinely believes this. But he’s got a problem. The Labour Party clearly does not.

The fuss from some Labour MPs and the resignation of some councillors is absurd. Israel is primarily concerned about support from the United States. It would be annoyed if the British Government or another ally did not support it, but it wouldn’t much matter. The idea that Israel would even notice what a councillor for Leicester, the Irish Government, Humza Yousaf or various Labour MPs say is preposterous.

It matters very little indeed what Keir Starmer and the Labour Party say now, they are in opposition. But it would begin to matter if Labour formed the next Government, not so much for Israel, as for us. I don’t want to live in a country where the Government supports antisemitism and has sympathy for terrorists. That sort of attitude is liable to become a problem not just in Israel, but here too.

There has in the past weeks been huge amounts of condemnation of Israel from Scottish nationalists and from many in the Labour Party. There have been mass demonstrations in support of the Palestinians that only took place because of the 7th of October terror attack. There have been celebrations of this attack too. But it’s not enough to condemn, it’s not enough to demonstrate and celebrate. What we need is practical solutions. What do you propose Israel does?

I have come across lots of people who believe that the Palestinians are the victims of a historical wrong. They have ended up trapped in the West Bank and Gaza. They live in poor conditions and have little hope of a better life. Let’s assume that this is true. Why are you so interested?

Millions of Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs were displaced from their homes in 1947 when India was partitioned. Millions of Germans were displaced from their homes in in what is now Poland and Russia. Millions of Native Americans, Aztecs, Incas, Aborigines, Maoris and others were killed or lost their homes due to colonisation. It does not give the descendants of these people the right to commit acts of terrorism. It does not give India the right to attack Pakistan. It does not give Germany the right to attack Poland.

So even if you think there was historical injustice in the formation of Israel, the displacement of the Palestinian people and their present situation, it still would not give them the right to attack Israel. What’s more if Labour MPs are uninterested in the rights of displaced Germans and Hindus in the 1940s why are they so concerned with Palestinians? Do they only care about conflicts involving Jews? There is a word for this.

Israel exists. What do you propose to do about it? There are I suspect some privately in both the SNP and Labour Party who think that Israel should be wiped out from the river to the sea. But how are you practically going to do that? There are about 7 million Jewish people in Israel. It’s likely to be necessary to have some sort of method of mass extermination to get rid of all of them. So, what does that make people who shout, “from the river to the sea”? The only fascists in Britain today are those that want to repeat the Holocaust. Unfortunately antifascists agree with them.

An alternative solution to the conflict would be a two-state solution. A Jewish state and a Muslim state. But this has been our problem from the start. The Palestinians lost the chance to have a Palestinian state because in conjunction with the whole Arab world they tried to wipe out the Jewish state in 1948. They lost.

Just like any other country that is attacked Israel was able to gain territory. But this is no different from Poland gaining German territory after it was attacked in 1939. Why are you not demonstrating about that?

So too in 1967 the whole Arab world prepared to attack again, but this time Israel was ready and conquered the West Bank and Gaza from Jordan and Egypt. On each occasion the Palestinians lost out because they tried to destroy Israel. They came closest in 1973 but lost again so turned to terrorism.

But this is our problem with the two-state solution. The Palestinians don’t want it. They rejected it because they demand the right to return of all descendants of people who were displaced in 1948-1949.

No doubt lots of Labour MPs think that all Palestinians should have the right to return. But no one thinks that Germans have the right to return to their homes in Poland. No one thinks that Hindus and Sikhs have the right to return to their homes in Pakistan. There were millions of displaced people after the Second World War, but there are only demonstrations about the descendants of Palestinians. What do you call people who are only concerned about people displaced by Jews?

There are 14.3 million Palestinians worldwide. If they all returned, there would not be a two-state solution, there would be a one state solution with a massive Palestinian majority. What would happen if there were elections in this state? Well, if the Jews were lucky Fatah might form the Government, if they were unlucky Hamas would be their rulers. It is unlikely that democracy would last long. If you were an Israeli, would you choose to live in a state ruled by Hamas or the successor to the PLO?

Is there a possibility of a two-state solution without the right to return? Perhaps but such a solution depends on the Palestinians accepting that Israel has the right to exist and giving up the armed struggle. Gaza in particular is not viable economically without help from the international community, but aid is just recycled as rockets.

Many Labour MPs are calling for a ceasefire, but if a country is attacked it has the right to do whatever is necessary to defeat its enemy. It’s not up to Humza Yousaf, or Labour MPs to determine when there might be a ceasefire, it’s up to the IDF.

We absolutely should be concerned about Palestinians dying and being wounded in the present conflict. Egypt in particular should open the southern border of Gaza to let people out. But it’s not enough to demonstrate in support of Palestinians. It’s not enough to demonise Israel.

Keir Starmer needs to ask his MPs why are you so interested in Israel versus Palestine, but you don’t care about any other conflict in the world? This is the same problem as the Labour Party had under Jeremy Corbyn. There are just as many antisemites as there were only these can’t be criticised for their antisemitism.

Starmer then has to ask what practically can be done to bring permanent peace to the region? Calling for the destruction of Israel isn’t going to help. They will fight you and they will win.

The only thing that can bring peace to the region is if the Palestinians give up terrorism and accept the existence of Israel. The people demonstrating in Britain, and I strongly suspect the majority of rebellious Labour MPs neither accept the existence of Israel nor think the Palestinians ought to give up the armed struggle. This view is now commonplace in the UK. In certain places it is universal and believed without question.

It frightens me that such people might soon form our Government. It frightens me that so many are on our streets. Keir Starmer was too weak to oppose Jeremy Corbyn becoming Prime Minister and will be too weak to oppose those MPs who are hostile to Israel. Like Macron he will be too weak to say anything other than we must learn to live with terrorism.


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