Agent Cameron and his
“Torah” Party at the helm of British politics, it’s easy to forget
the Israel flag wavers on the other side, in the Labour Party.
Writing in Mondoweiss,
British journalist James Elliott
reminds us of the Israel pimps-in-waiting, the Zionist elite
running Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition, a preposterous misnomer given
their overwhelming loyalty to the state of Israel.
The annual meeting of the Labourite branch of the UK’s Israel
lobby was well-attended as ever. Senior shadow cabinet members
present included Ed Balls, Stephen Twigg, Liam Byrne, Jim Murphy
and Douglas Alexander himself, who was delivering the keynote
address, a role that Ed Miliband has performed in previous years,
when he addressed a room that also included Alan Johnson, Yvette
Cooper and Tessa Jowell.
While Miliband had been hesitant in the past on announcing
full-throttle support for all Israel is and does, Douglas
Alexander wooed supporters in Labour’s latest desperate scramble
with the Tories to impress the Israel lobby. In his speech
“I do not want Israel’s existence to be tolerated or simply
accepted, but recognized and celebrated.”
Elliott reminds us of a fact which some on the British left would
rather forget, especially when Labour is not in government.
There is in fact a very long history of collusion between
Zionists and the Labour Party, and one that shames the
working-class origins and socialist sentiments of the latter,
while making a mockery of the humane pretensions and “Jewish
democracy” of the former. For many years Zionist mythology held
that Britain, and Foreign Secretary Ernie Bevin in particular, had
conspired to destroy Israel during its war of independence.
Oxford-based Israeli professor of international relations, Avi
Shlaim has demonstrated otherwise, writing, “Bevin indirectly
helped to ensure that the Palestinian state envisaged in the UN
partition plan would be stillborn.”…
In his highly-acclaimed
The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, the Israeli
professor Ilan Pappe has documented how Hugh Stockwell, a British
army officer, actually allowed the ethnic cleansing of Haifa by
removing the buffer zone of British troops between the Jewish
paramilitaries and the 75,000 Palestinians in the city, who
Stockwell then encouraged to leave.
The complicity of Labour governments in that initial injustice
is a damning mark against Clement Attlee’s halo that makes him the
most mythologised of all Labour prime ministers. The actions of
men like Bevin and Stockwell helped Jewish paramilitaries
ethnically cleanse 700,000 Palestinians from the country between
1947 and 1949, a cruel and barbaric operation well-documented in
David Ben-Gurion’s diaries as a deliberate attempt to create an
ethnically pure Jewish state.
As we all know, the British Labour Party’s circle of complicity in
Israel’s crimes was closed under its most recent prime ministers, Tony
Blair and Gordon Brown. As Elliott says, Blair and Brown
were both members of the Labour Friends of Israel, and as
journalist David Cronin notes, “With Tony Blair at the helm,
Britain’s position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict became
virtually indistinguishable from that of the United States.”
Labour actually allowed arms exports to increase during the brutal
repression of the Second Intifada, while failing to
criticize Israel’s wars in Lebanon in 2006 and Gaza in 2008-09.
We fully share Elliott’s frustration that despite the UN Human
Rights Council accusing Israel of apartheid and ethnic cleansing,
“much of the Labour movement are resistant to the kind of direct
action, in the form of boycotts, divestment and sanctions, that were
used to such great effect in South Africa”.
“It is not for the soul or the moral cleanliness of the Labour
Party that we should seek justice for the Palestinians by opposing
Israeli oppression,” Elliott argues. “It is for the dignity of the
Palestinians themselves that we should press forward on the great
moral issue of our time.”