CiF’s Michael Mansfield throws a tantrum at prospect of UK not treating Israeli leaders as criminals

Oh dear! Mummy (in the form of the British parliament) has taken away the toy gun  (Universal Jurisdiction) with which Michael and his gang used to enjoy playing so much in their games of lawfare because they used it in an abusive manner. So now his little friends at ‘Comment is Free’ are enabling Michael Mansfield to vent his tantrum and – in a style which any former parent of a two-year-old will recognise – his over-riding argument is “it’s not faaair”.

Michael Mansfield chaired event which included Palestinian Solidarity Campaign, MEMO, and Richard Falk

Not infrequently described as supercilious‘ and publicity-seeking, Mansfield is no stranger to either the pages of the Guardian or the anti-Israel campaign. In May 2010 he was to be found pre-emptively championing the cause of the Muslim Brotherhood- organised and IHH-led flotilla which included the ‘Mavi Marmara’.  He is a member of the kangaroo court known by the rather self-important title ‘The Russell Tribunal on Palestine’ and a supporter of that meeting place for misfit fringe elements of the red-green alliance which is the BDS campaign.

It is, therefore, not difficult to discern that in his latest Guardian ‘rattle thrown out of pram’ piece, Mansfield is wearing his political hat rather than making use of any of his legal expertise.

Let’s start with the title: “Sleep easy, war criminals”. Not alleged war criminals, one notes; Mansfield has already put judge and jury (as well as the principle of innocent until proven guilty) out to pasture. And who exactly are these ‘war criminals’? The strap-line instantly provides the answer. Universal Jurisdiction becomes predictably less universal with the words “Britain’s insulting new rules on arrest warrants will only encourage Israel’s view of itself as above international law”.

Of course the only really insulting thing here is Mansfield’s assault on the reader’s intelligence as he goes on to cite politically motivated (if not often downright spiteful) UN resolutions and the 2004 advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on the subject of Israel’s anti-terrorist fence as though they were in some way legally binding. Such a prominent legal eagle as Mansfield definitely knows better, (or at least one hopes so for the sake of his £575–an-hour-paying clients), but the truth does not mold itself to his propaganda aims, and is therefore conveniently tossed aside.

With no less disregard for both facts and historical context, Mansfield throws in “the illegal occupation”, “illegal settlements”, “requisition of water resources”, “Gaza blockade” and other items as ‘evidence’ for Israel’s original sin. Difficult though it is to believe that this polemic is written by a man who is supposed to have made a career out of the search for proof, he outdoes even himself by citing unsubstantiated allegations of “illicit use of cloned passports”.

Continuing his disingenuous diatribe, Mansfield claims “an estimated death toll of 1,400 in Gaza” during operation Cast Lead, but of course neglects to mention that even Hamas admitted that half of those were its own combatants. Further, he misrepresents the findings of the methodologically faulted Goldstone Report (from which even its head has since distanced himself) as though they were proven indictments. As Richard Goldstone himself said at the time, “If this was a court of law, there would have been nothing proven” and “We couldn’t use that report as evidence at all.”

But although Michael Mansfield and others like him who play the lawfare game are obviously reluctant to allow such inconvenient things as proof and evidence to get in the way of their popular crusade as Hamas enablers, the British government has – at long last – stepped into the role of responsible adult to prevent exactly that kind of abuse of the law for political ends.  Naturally, Mansfield et al are peeved. Despite the fact that arrest warrants can still be issued in the UK for those suspected of being guilty of war crimes, it is now necessary for the Director of Public Prosecutions to be convinced that there is some legal –rather than political – basis to the request.

That is very inconvenient for the handful of practitioners of lawfare intent upon abusing the tax-payer funded British legal system in order to boost their own radical-chic credentials (and possibly even bank accounts) by delegitimizing a democratic country and providing logistic support for a terror organization proscribed by Britain itself.  Hence this written tantrum from the pen of Michael Mansfield who, together with the Guardian and others, makes up that small and very unrepresentative section of British society which appears to believe that in the entire world there is nothing more evil than one specific democratic nation defending itself against theologically-inspired armed terrorists.

Thank goodness that the British parliament, in keeping with its rich and illustrious tradition of upholding democracy, has now made it a little more difficult for fringe elements such as Mansfield to engage in political abuse.  One is, nonetheless, obliged to note that despite all the indignation and the rather unattractive indulgement in self-pity, Mansfield and his lawfare-playing colleagues have only themselves to blame for the fact that their very transparent game has been rumbled. Had they stuck to being the professional lawyers that they are, pursuing only cases with a real legal justification, rather than succumbing to the somewhat puerile temptation to play glamorous political revolutionary, there would be no need for tantrums now.

20 replies »

  1. The Guardian has certainly forfeited every claim to being a high class newspaper. This kind of hysteria can only be read with any degree of tolerance by those pre-convinced of its themes or those completely lacking in any form of critical sense.

  2. Socialists such as Michael Mansfield…..Adolf Hitler and the Guardian just LOVE to single out jews and/or the Jewish nation

  3. wanted to post this on Cif but was too late:

    An extraordinary distorted polemic which could only be made by a lawyer oblivious of truth, for truth only has value if it accords with whatever machinations are needed to release his client from the charges made against him. Lawyers argue for the accused and are paid to do so. Their fame extends as their courtroom rhetoric convinces judges and juries that the murderer has not murdered and the thief has not stolen and the mother has not killed her child. Guilt is immaterial. Barristers do not argue for truth but for a decision in favor of the client who pays them

    To say that:

    “Israel has violated innumerable UN resolutions and international laws over the past 50 years without any sanction being incurred – whether legal, economic, political or military. Most blatant is its disregard for the overwhelming opinion of the international court of justice in The Hague”

    is to place the speaker, not in the chair of a disinterested and unbiased protector of human rights and justice, but at the bar facing Dreyfus in the dock. UN resolutions of the sort described cannot be ‘violated’ for they carry no legal obligation backed by Security Council mediated authority to enforce them. Mansfield knows this yet chooses courtroom words to carry emotion not reason. The International Court of Justice cannot compel Israel to do anything, let alone comply with its consuming desire to weaken her in the face of enemies for whom such law is conceptually distant.

    This is a consummate piece of untimely and unjust criticism of Israel masquerading as concern for human dignity and justice. It is the speech of an advocate not a peacemaker.

  4. I do recall seeing the “Sleep easy, war criminals” headline on Friday – and stupidly assumed it was about Sudan, Rwanda, the Congo or Yugoslavia.

  5. “Of course the only really insulting thing here is Mansfield’s assault on the reader’s intelligence….”

    Since when has the Guardian ever given a damn about its readers intelligence? Its continued existence depends on feeding them pap designed to prevent any critical thinking.

    • The one very encouraging feature of this Guardian thread was the avalanche of comments, many with several hundred, some with more than a thousand recommendations, critical of Mansfield and his pseudo-legal nonsense. I wonder if someone in the Guardian will get the message that the intense and blatantly discriminatory anti-Israel policy is possibly beginning to boomerang and that more and more readers, of CiF at least, are becoming disgusted with it.

      • This comment got the most recommendations, perhaps for the writer’s appreciation of Tzipi Livni’s looks but surely also for its good sense.

        7 October 2011 5:06PM
        Tzipi Livni is lovely! What the heck has she done wrong… ah… I remember know, anything that Israel does is a violent and unprovoked act of racist aggression, but whatever the Palestinians or Arabs do it desperate self-defence carried out by noble and heroic freedom fighters. Good of the Guardian to clear that all up.

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  6. “Naturally, Mansfield et al are peeved”

    Not half as peeved as I am. I’m utterly sick to death of arses like Mansfield making my country look foolish.

    The UJ issue was open to abuse; ” arrest your favourite baddie of the day”, would attract all manner of idiots with warrents to bang up visiting dignitaries. Who would want to visit us with that knowledge hanging over them?

    I’m sick of the Mansfields of the UK who don’t cast their eyes around and realise that we, too, have issues that need urgent attention. We don’t have the Israeli Press haunting our towns and cities, alighting on all our social and educational problems, nor does Israel have ‘Boycott Britain’ fanatics on their councils or demos in Tel Aviv every time a member of the Taliban is killed. As far as I’m aware, no Israeli has nipped over to interview the residents of Dale Farm, members of the BNP or the EDL.

    Mansfield et al need to stop and think how the UK appears to others outside its borders. Like ALL societies, we are imperfect and I find it embarrassing to see us continually pointing the finger at others.

  7. I wonder if Mr. Mansfield is interested in the human rights of those injured by the car bombing of the Embassy of Israel in London in July 1994?
    He is aware of the incident as he, unsuccessfully, defended those charged with conspiring to cause the explosion.

    • You must mean the human rights of those injuring in the bombing who were not Jewish. Jews don’t have human rights, not being exactly human. It is the human right of anyone with an axe to grind to murder and maim Jews, and if the Jews complain, well, they would, wouldn’t they?

      This is the way the world works – an Arab who feels annoyed because he is held up at a checkpoint for ten minutes is entitled to slaughter an entire Jewish family, including infants and sleeping children, because Arabs are human and Jews are not. There are too many Jews in the world anyway.

      After all, it is not as if the Arabs would be willing to fight armed men in a fair fight. That would take courage and honor, not something in great supply in their world. Much better to sneakily murder innocents, that’s the Arab way. Ask Samir Kuntar, may his name be blotted out, the perfect exemplar of Arab heroism.

  8. The real criminals are Mansfield and the Guardian, violating the spirit if not the letter of anti-racism principles.

    The virulent anti-Semitism of the Guardian and its stable is by now manifest. It is a cesspool which should be shut down.

    • I suggest a BDS of Der Guardian and especially businesses which advertise on its pages.

  9. I spent some time reading through all the comments below the line,and was pleasantly surprised to see that there is a fightback…..I selected two out of the many.
    Of course, many were censored, but, infuriatingly for the Guardian’s mods, they can only delete so many, without risking all credibility.

    7 October 2011 5:31PM
    “The Brits are in no position to arrest anyone. Qadafi’s and Asad’s sons, who now both have blood on their hands, were educated in Britain and Britain was happy to accept the blood tuition money. I have no doubt that Putin, with the blood of thousands of CHechens on his hands, can come and go safely in Britain as is the case with the Chinese and their oppression of Uighurs and Tibetans. Let’s not even get into Northern Ireland or the SPanish treatment of the Basques. This is b/c (drum roll please), they are not Jewish.

    People like their Jews either dead or subservient and any attempt to survive on a sliver of land and any use of force by Jews in the name of their own survival (and it is about survival over there) is verboten.”

    7 October 2011 6:07PM
    “The Guardian really should think again about its relentless anti-Israel campaign. I am sure its more fair-minded readers are growing increasingly dismayed.”

  10. Britain routinely welcomes dictators and monsters of all stripes to her shores – as mentioned above, the Gaddafis are only one example.

    Only Israelis are threatened with these ridiculous lawsuits and arrests.To call Tzipi Livni a war criminal because she helped lead a legitimate Israeli response to thousands of rockets and terror attacks is simply using the British legal system as a political football to attack Israel.

    Self-defence by Israel a war crime? Only if you have an utterly warped view of the world, and a justice system that seems to enable it. As Geary pointed out, one could apply the same rules ot most British leaders. With all the bluster on the Guardian, no-one has ever, for example, brought suit against Tony Blair, or the crowd of British politicians now running the massacre in Libya.

  11. Send him some sleeping pills as he won’t be sleeping too well,after this.

    Some candy and a dummy to replace the one that he spat out…………….

    Throwing hissy fits seems to be the norm fort these Guardian writers……

    Miserable sore loser…………

  12. The tide is turning,to stop this tide that is turning against the Guardian they delete most of the posts that oppose their anti Israeli views……

    BTW,does anyone have Mansfield’s address,I would like to post him a dummy to replace the one that he spat out……..In fact we all should post him a dummy…………

  13. Wow, I am sure some Guardian commentators would love to call for the assassination of Israeli politicians, if it wasn’t illegal to do so. (well, actually, they indirectly do by giving a platform to Hamas activists and supporters, which amounts to applauding and calling for the killing of Israeli civilains, soldiers and politicians)