Thursday, 17 September 2009


Membership of the various European Parliament delegations that maintain links with our opposite numbers around the world has just been announced. I'm back as a full member on the delegation to Palestine and I'm a new, second tier, member on the one to Israel. More intrusive security checks at Ben Gurion airport beckon. Joy.

I had better keep an eye on my blood pressure. The sense of outrage at the injustice experienced by Palestinians is never diluted by frustration at their inability to unite sufficiently to speak with one voice. To that may now be added the pleasure of observing Israeli representatives avoid explaining just what future they envisage for Palestinians as they continue to change the facts on the ground with their confiscation and building programme.

While I attended my first meeting of the Israel delegation I got notice that the Jewish Board of Deputies had issued a statement following a meeting with Nick Clegg (whose support for a just settlement in the Middle East is unquestioned). It reported him as saying that he profoundly disagreed with Baroness Tonge and MEP Chris Davies on many issues (no idea which ones). "Their right to express their views did not mean that anti-Semitic comments would be tolerated."

No suggestion here that either Jenny or myself have ever made anti-Semitic remarks, but I suspect the authors intended to imply that we had. Nice.

Get real. Criticism of the policies of the Israeli government, or even of some attitudes towards Palestinians within Israeli society, is not the same as anti-Semitism.

1 comment:

Jimmy said...

When Nick Clegg (not 'the authors') says that anti-semitic comments will not be tolerated he refers to comments like:
"I shall denounce the influence of the Jewish lobby that seems to have far too great a say over the political decision-making process in many countries."
A quote from you reproduced in The Times.

This is the type of comment that alienates Jewish people around the world from your criticism against not just the Israeli government but the Israeli people in general.

If you do not know why Nick Clegg is at pains to distance himself for your views about the 'Jewish Lobby' then I suggest you arrange a meeting to discuss what he means. Either that or do him a favour and resign from the party. I am sure that Respect would welcome a member of the European Parliament to their group.

On the eve of the Jewish New Year it is sad to hear that you still do not understand why your hatred of the international 'Jewish lobby' and of all Israeli people does not make your own party leader regard your comments as anti-Semitic.