This is a cross-post by Jonathan Hoffman
Unfortunately Lord Phillips of Sudbury is no stranger to this blog.
He was the first speaker at last night’s PSC meeting in a Committee Room at the House of Commons. He started confidently (or seemed to…). He seemed to be anxious (maybe too anxious) to convince us at the outset that “some of his best friends…” so he told us that his first visual memory was of the Holocaust (he was born in 1939). “I do believe in the right of Israel to exist” he said. (Well thanks buddy – and France? Germany? England?). He suggested that Israel was created only because of the guilt felt by the West after the Holocaust (nonsense of course, there were many other historic and political reasons) and that ¼ to 1/3 of “Israeli Jews” “loathe what the government is doing” (nonsense, there is perhaps 90% support for government policy, that was what the polls were showing during Cast Lead).
Then he claimed that everything Israel does is illegal. “The Wall is illegal” (it isn’t) “and why has the British government never told Israel that “ (Errrrr – because it isn’t illegal……) “Europe cannot think straight about Israel because of the Holocaust and America is in the grip of the well-organised Jewish lobby” (yes, redolent of the nastiest tropes). “Lieberman is more racist than anyone on the Palestinian side”.
Phillips went on to agree with another speaker, Richard Allday of the Unite trade union, who advocated a boycott of Israeli goods and people.
Jeremy Corbyn MP also spoke. He said “When it’s in Israel’s self interest they do something” (Er, how about the humanitarian missions to Haiti and other natural disaster sites………)
Then Andrew Slaughter MP lamented the fact that the Palestinian Authority “does not have anything to give any more”. “Recognition” I suggested and for a one-word heckle nearly got thrown out by the Chair, Sarah Colbourne of the PSC, who is rather weak and clearly not used to debate. If MPs were thrown out for one-word heckles there would be none left!
Finally Kevin Ovenden, who referred to the “Zionist entity” and tried to spin the old lie about General Petraeus, suggesting he said that Israel’s actions were a threat to the lives of US soldiers in the region.
I asked Lord Phillips for support for his assertion that America is in the grip of the well-organised Jewish lobby, in view of the fact that in the USA support for Israel comes from a huge variety of people. He could give me none. I pointed out that the Hamas Charter sought the genocide of Jews — so how could he say that Liberman was more racist that any on the other side?
His answer was breathtakingly ignorant. He said that the Hamas Charter is “a load of bullsh*t”. He had been told that by a terrorist leader, so it must be true. I tried to remonstrate with this answer. Sarah Colbourne promptly threw me out. (In a House of Commons Committee Room this is the way that censorship is achieved at these kind of meetings. There are police outside the room who will enforce any eviction by a chair of a meeting, however spurious the reasons – they don’t ask questions).
The PSC is losing ground fast: Bathurst Norman was severely reprimanded by the OCJ; they failed to get a full boycott of Israeli goods and people from the TUC; it is clear that this government will be a lot tougher on Islamist extremism than the previous one; all over Europe political movements are rising in reaction to extremism (albeit movements that are not always welcome).
But animals are at their most dangerous when they are cornered…..