Sunday, 1 August 2010

Cameron: Sychophant Or Just Ignorant?

Last week on his trip to Turkey, British Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron said in his specch:
"The Israeli attack on the Gaza flotilla was completely unacceptable... the situation in Gaza has to change. Humanitarian goods and people must flow in both directions. Gaza cannot and must not be allowed to remain a prison camp."
Whilst this may just be a severe case of sucking-up to his Islamist hosts, it is deeply disturbing that Cameron would even go to these lengths to delegitimise Israel in the Arab world.
First he portrays Israel as the "attackers" in the flotilla incident, completely ignoring the fact that the activists attacked first, and the soldiers had to fight back in self-defence only once their lives were in danger. Worse, Cameron condemns Israel's actions in the flotilla, whilst not addressing the links between the Turkish PM Erdogan and his government, and the radical Islamic Turkish "charity", the IHH, whose members were the main cause of violence on the Mavi Marmara. Nor did he mention the links between the activists and terrorism. Or question the "moderate"* Erdogan's support for a flotilla of terrorists whose sole aim was to breach Israel's security blockade and lynch Israeli soldiers or die trying. (*Erdogan has also praised the Sudanese President and war-criminal Omar al-Bashir, which the Guardian seems to like).
Cameron also did not address why Israel needs a security blockade in the first place, why they would want to prevent the smuggling of weaopns into Gaza, and prevent would-be suicide bombers waltzing into Israel at will. How even though over 10,000 rockets have been fired into Israel from Gaza over recent years, Israel still transfers over 15,000 tonnes of humanitarian aid into the strip every week, with the amount and variety of goods increasing all the time. Despite the fact that Gilad Shalit has been held in Gaza for over four years, denied Red Cross visits, his condition unknown.
Worst of all, whether Cameron actually believes that Gaza is a "prison camp", or whether he was just saying it to appease the Turks, the assertion smacks of antisemitism and is an insult to the people who died in the camps during the Holocaust, to the survivors of the camps, and to the millions of people globally who really are suffering unjustly in prison camps or under similar conditions.
Do prison camps receive 15,000 tonnes of aid a week? Do prison camps have swimming pools, shopping malls, luxury hotels and restaurants, markets?
If anyone is making Gaza a prison camp, it's Hamas, but Cameron does not acknowledge this. How they demolish Palestinians' houses, burn down the childrens' summer camps, bomb internet cafes, ban shops from displaying mannequins or pyjamas, ban women from anything from riding motorcycles to smoking nargila, and murder anyone they see as a "collaborator" or rival.
Cameron now has some major damage control, and it will be interesting to see when he deigns to visit Israel, how he will combine the sucking-up thing with his ignorant Israel-bashing.
Meanwhile, Just Journalism's Executive Director Michael Weiss has written an extensive article examining the links between the Turkish government and the radical Islamic IHH organisation.

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