What Jewish Chronicle chooses not to hear or know
By Jennifer Lipman, Jewish Chronicle
December 27, 2012
More than £6,000 of taxpayers’ money has been used by MPs to submit a “disproportionate number” of early day motions about Israel since the start of the parliamentary session.
In total, according to the online parliamentary archive, 21 EDMs (formal motions submitted for debate in the House of Commons, although not necessarily discussed) relating to Israel have been put forward since the 2012-2013 session began.
In contrast, just two refer to the situation in Syria, only one mentions Bahrain and only five discuss the rising tensions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Of the 851 motions submitted since parliament was formally opened, just three are about Egypt and its treatment of the Coptic Christian minority, only eight make mention of Iran and only one addresses the situation in Libya.
The estimated cost of an EDM is £290, meaning the cost to the taxpayer of the 21 motions relating to Israel runs to at least £6090.
The motions cover issues including settlement construction, the treatment of Palestinians and the recent fighting in Gaza, but a search of the archive reveals that no motions about Hamas’ activities were tabled in this period. The most support was for a motion tabled by Labour’s Richard Burden last month on the UN recognition of Palestine, which attracted 106 signatures.
MPs who have sponsored motions about Israel include LibDem Sir Bob Russell, Respect’s George Galloway and Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn. Conservative MP Peter Bottomley is a frequent supporter of such EDMs, as is Caroline Lucas of the Green Party.
Conservative MP for Harlow, Robert Halfon, said he believed that the EDMs were a “co-ordinated campaign by the Palestinian lobby which presents a very jaded and one-sided view.
“It is astonishing that these people rarely do EDMs on the genocide in Syria and the dictatorships in other Arab countries,” he said.
“They only seem to care about what is going on in the West Bank, not what is going on in the rest of the Middle East. This shows a completely disproportionate focus on Israel”.
Ben Garratt, deputy director of Labour Friends of Israel, urged MPs signing EDMs or taking part in broader debates on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to engage constructively, and to focus on other issues in the region.
No gap to be filled on Syria
Letter from Elizabeth Morley to Jennifer Lipman
Dear Jennifer Lipman,
re: MPs focus on attacking Israel in Parliament
I enjoyed your article on EDMs very much. I see them as filling a gap between official policy on the one hand and what back-benchers are thinking, coupled with what their constituents often tell them, on the other. If you accept that premise, then it is easy to see why, to take just one of your examples, there are only two about Syria. HMG and most of the country are in agreement on the Assad regime, so there is no gap needing to be filled. Another reason of course, is that because the Palestine-Israel problem has been with us for almost 100 years (if you take the Balfour Declaration as your starting point, which you probably don’t), far more people know and worry about it than they do about Bahrain, for instance.
As for the cost of all these EDMs, I know that many MPs would agree with you that they are a waste of money (apart from being a waste of time). But we are living in a democracy and democracy costs. That said, £6,000 is surely a paltry sum when you set it against the amount of tax payers’ money that goes via Britain’s membership of the EU on rebuilding EU-funded Palestinian infrastructure destroyed by Israel.
JfJfP is delusional
Letter to Jewish Chronicle from Mike Fligg, published December 1, 2012
So, Richard Kuper (Letters, November 23) [‘Leaders’ of Jewish communities speaking only for themselves]
and his like-minded friends are upset by the solid support of Anglo-Jewry for Israel’s recent praiseworthy – not “cynical” – actions to protect her citizens. Ahmed Jabari, head of Hamas’s military wing, was a mass-murderer. He organised the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit. Innocent Israeli citizens (Jewish. Christian and Muslim)had been subjected to massive and growing numbers of indiscriminate missile attacks.
Israeli strikes, by contrast, minimised civilian casualties while pinpointing terrorists and their weapons. The former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, Colonel Richard Kemp, corroborates this. Even William Hague stated that Hamas was largely to blame. It is difficult to know who is the more delusional: Hamas and its ilk, or Jews for Justice for Palestinians.
Leeds Lobby Network
Please look at the evidence
Letter to the Jewish Chronicle from Diana Neslen, unpublished
December 12, 2012
Mr Fligg in his letter of support for the Israeli government refrains from mentioning the most important point about the assassination of Ahmed Jabari. Jabari was in the process of negotiating a cease fire with Gershon Baskin, the Israeli go-between. By assassinating him, Israel destroyed the potential for quiet on its Southern borders and chose instead to attack a defenceless civilian population, and put its citizens at even greater risk. Self defence can only come into play when all other options have failed. Since other options were not canvassed, Israel’s action can in no way be called self defence.
The evidence from the disproportionate number of civilians, including children, killed by Israeli air strikes, and the brutal destruction of schools, mosques, banks, administrative centres, playing fields, even the home of the Paralympics team, does not bear out Israel’s contention that she does not target civilians. In fact Avital Liebowitz admitted that journalists were deliberately targeted. This is a war crime, even where the organisation which employs the journalists is unacceptable to Israel.
Mr Hague’s statement has been widely disputed and seems to have been made without awareness of the facts. Richard Kemp has never visited Gaza and is known as an unqualified supporter of the IDF. His views bear no relation to the findings of human rights organisations, who have actually examined the evidence of IDF behaviour and found a case to answer. Rather than abuse Jews for Justice for Palestinians, Mr Figg would do well to reflect on the issues before putting pen to paper.
All Jews do not support attack on Gaza
Letter from Richard Kuper to Jewish Chronicle, published, and previously posted here ‘Leaders’ of Jewish communities speaking only for themselves
(Letters published in the Jewish Chronicle are not available online. )
November 23, 2012
The claim by Jewish leaders that “all sections” of the British Jewish community support Israel’s attack on Gaza, reflecting the “national consensus” in Israeli society, as reported on the JC website, is inaccurate and dishonest. Jews for Justice for Palestinians emphatically does not support this. We condemned Israel’s assassination of Ahmed Jabari, as a deliberate and cynical act of escalation and provocation just at the point when the leaders of Hamas and other groups were ready to agree a ceasefire.
Everything that has happened in the days since then reinforces the view that this has been a cynical move by Israeli leaders, designed to abort peace, not to bring it about.
Jews for Justice for Palestinians