Tuesday, August 5, 2014

What exactly does the Foreign Secretary mean?

This blog rejoiced in the passing of William Hague, as he was a seriously inept Foreign Secretary and Angelina Jolie could always find someone else to be photographed with, someone more like the beautiful people she is used to.

That does not mean, we need to welcome his successor, Philip Hammond, unreservedly and reservations are being made already. In the wake of the disgraceful episode when a perfectly ordinary supermarket where people were going about their business had to close because of anti-Israeli demonstrations that made that business impossible with the police apparently doing nothing, we have the Foreign Secretary making some very curious statements.

I am quoting from JTA, who are in turn quoting from an interview in the Sunday Telegraph:
Much of the British public is “deeply disturbed” by the impact of Israel’s operation in Gaza, the new foreign secretary of England said, and the response could be more widespread anti-Semitic attacks.

“Of course it’s a concern,” Philip Hammond told the Sunday Telegraph, speaking of the hate crimes on Jewish communities in Britain, “and we have already seen certainly an upturn in anti-Semitic rhetoric.”

Anti-Semitic incidents have doubled since Israel began its operation in Gaza nearly a month ago, according to the Community Security Trust, the security apparatus for the British Jewish community.

Hammond, who assumed his post less than a month ago, said the British government shares the “widespread public horror” of a “wide swath” of the British public at the suffering of the people of Gaza.

“The British public has a strong sense that the situation of the civilian population in Gaza is simply intolerable and must be addressed – and we agree with them,” he told the Independent. “There must be a humanitarian cease-fire that is without conditions. We have to get the killing to stop.”
As a matter of fact, I think he is wrong about most of the British public. They have long ago stopped being interested in what is happening in what they consider to be a hell-hole, the Middle East, though it is unquestionably true that there is a large and vociferous minority that is campaigning against Israel and the old hatred as I have said before has morphed into a new shape. It is that old hatred, nonetheless.

Mr Hammond's comments about the cease-fire show that he is either ignorant or prefers to lie about what has been happening. Does he not know that each cease-fire was broken by Hamas if they even agreed to it which they did not every time? Does he not know that Hamas is refusing to have a proper cease-fire unless a number of its conditions are fulfilled? And if he does know this, why does he not appeal to them?

More serious is the implication that somehow Mr Hammond thinks that anti-Semitic attacks in Britain are justified by what is happening in Gaza and that they are likely to increase with the authorities not in a position to do anything about it. In other words, he is threatening Israel with increased anti-Semitism (as if they didn't know) if they do not do what they are told and surrender their military advantage.

Is that not virtual incitement to violence and hate crime? Should the Home Secretary, she of the kitten heels, not look into the matter. Imagine if any Minister had said that attacks on Arabs were understandable in the light of behaviour by the Syrian government, various Syrian groups and ISIS? How long would his career survive a statement like that?

As we witness an orgy of commemoration of the beginning of the First World War with candles, poppies and lots of memos about "we will remember them"; as we listen to the uncertainty as to whether that terrible war was fought for British self-interest or to preserve freedom (both rather questionable but the first at least debatable) there is one thing missing from all these tear-jerking accounts: the attacks on people and businesses with German names because Germany was now the enemy (here and here though this dates to 1915). That, in itself was wrong and obviously something rather shameful, not to be discussed. Nevertheless, according to the Foreign Secretary it is not altogether wrong or, at least, completely understandable, that there should be attacks on Jews because Israel, a mostly Jewish state is fighting a tough war and is not giving any quarter. The fact that Israel is not fighting Britain seems to be irrelevant. Anti-Semitism, apparently, cannot be stopped even in its violent form.


  1. I agree, his comments are wrong and should not have been made. We seem to get a very poor selection of people becoming MPs these days. They know little or no History and ignore that they have seen in the pious hope that the outcome will be different this time.

  2. I think in this case it is simply a question of a.) not paying attention to what is going on and b.) not having a clear idea of what the state's role is, which is, above all, the protection of people and their property as they go about their rightful business. They don't even need to know any history though it would be nice if they did.

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