Tag Archives: israel

Opinion: Crimea/Palestine – unfavourable comparisons

As a Liberal Democrat one is appalled by the heavy handed way that Russia has moved into Crimea with an apology for a referendum. It may be the wish of the majority but this invasion is totally against international law and indeed tears up the post-Soviet treaty between Russia and Ukraine. The criticism of Russia is led by the USA and strongly supported by the rest of Europe. Many in Europe and the Middle East are wondering why the same critics have been so mute in the face of not dissimilar aggression and occupation of Palestine by …

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Lib Dem members on David Ward: majority say his comments were wrong – but majority also say party wrong to suspend him

Lib Dem Voice has polled our members-only forum  to discover what Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. More than 600 party members have responded, and we’re publishing the full results.

We asked about the party’s decision to suspend the whip from Bradford MP David Ward. This followed controversy in February when ha made controversial comments about Jews (David Ward summoned by Clegg after ‘Jews’ comments – BBC) and then again in July when he tweeted calling Israel an “apartheid state” and saying that “Zionists” were “losing the battle (MP David Ward has Lib Dem whip withdrawn over Israel comment – BBC).

54% say David Ward’s comments were wrong; but 53% say party was wrong to withdraw whip

David WardLib Dem MP for Bradford East David Ward has had the party whip temporarily withdrawn following controversial comments he has made regarding Israel. Which of these statements most closely matches your own view?

    21% - I support the whip being withdrawn temporarily

    17% – I think the whip should remain withdrawn until he apologises for his comments

    16% – I disagree with his comments but oppose the whip being withdrawn

    37% – I oppose the whip being withdrawn and support his right to continue speaking out in this way

    8% – Don’t know

An interestingly split response. While a clear majority of Lib Dem members disagreed with David Ward’s comments (54%, summing the first three options), a clear majority also oppose the decision of the party leadership to remove the whip until at least 13th September (53%, summing the third/fourth options).

Posted in LDV Members poll | Also tagged | 7 Comments

Lib Dem MP Sir Bob Russell slams Israeli parliament for “ethnically cleansing between 40,000 and 60,000 Bedouin”

bob russell_2Lib Dem MP Sir Bob Russell launched a broadside in the Commons last week against the Israeli parliament for approving (in his words) “what can be described only as ethnically cleansing between 40,000 and 60,000 Bedouin”.

He went on to attack the US Government and the European Union for their inaction and the British media for its silence — but singled out for praise Jewish Voice for Peace, which is campaigning against what it terms “this massive violation of human rights”. His call was echoed by the Conservative …

Posted in News and Parliament | Also tagged , , and | 18 Comments

Israel/Palestine: trying to find some balance

Israeli children visit Palestinian village of Tuwani and participate in bilingual activities together - Some rights reserved by delayed gratficationWriting about Israel and Palestine is a bit like that bit in Great Expectations when Pip asked whether it was a good idea to lend money to a friend. The cynical Mr Wemmick responds “choose your bridge and pitch your money into the Thames over the centre arch”. Or put another way, don’t waste your time.

I think that, at our best, Liberal Democrats are fair-minded people who try to accept that most arguments have two sides. So what follows is not my opinion on who is right, but five things that have

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LibLink: Paul David Evans – The Holocaust and David Ward MP

We carried the news yesterday that David Ward MP had, while marking Holocaust Memorial Day, made comments linking the holocaust to Israeli policy in the occupied territories.

Paul David Evans, who has worked for the Holocaust Educational Trust, examines this commonly-made comparison.

“… is it possible to criticise Israel without being accused of antisemitism, some activists mused on Lib Dem Voice? The answer is that, yes, it’s remarkably easy to criticise Israel without being accused of being a racist. The trick is not to frame your criticism in terms of glaringly obvious

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Has it all gone Jenny Tonge for David Ward?

Gentle reader, I appear to have received some flak for writing this – quite possibly merited. So, I’ve tried to edit it for clarity…

David WardA press release from the office of David Ward MP reached Liberal Democrat Voice yesterday;

“Bradford East MP, David Ward, has criticised Israel on the day he has signed a Book of Commitment in the House of Commons, in doing so pledging his commitment to Holocaust Memorial Day and honouring those who died during the Holocaust and in subsequent genocides.

Sunday January 27th will mark the 68th anniversary of the

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 88 Comments

Opinion: Israel/Palestine – the current state of the ‘peace process’

At 1900 GMT on Wednesday 21st November a ceasefire came into place between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip which, it was hoped, would signal at least a temporary halt to the bloodshed. Sadly, this ceasefire looks little more likely to last than previous ones have done and it would seem to be a good moment to reflect on the latest tragic and depressing episode in the Middle East and the ‘peace process.’

Posted in Europe / International and Op-eds | Also tagged and | 36 Comments

Opinion: A Comprehensive Middle East Peace Settlement

Simon Hughes said this year,  “We are near to the end of the opportunity of being able to get a peaceful two-state solution because of the extent of the settlements. The separation of Gaza from the West Bank and the increasing encroachment of the settlements mean that an alternative to the two-state model must be explored. We need to be honest and realistic about having a Plan B and a Plan C as well as a Plan A, as an international community.”

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 21 Comments

Will Israel attack Iran, and will this break the Coalition?

Although not widely reported in the British media, there is a build up of expectation that Israel will attack Iran. It amazes me that this was barely discussed at our recent Brighton conference. There were two motions on this submitted for conference but both with rejected by Federal Conference Committee and, perhaps as a consequence, there were no foreign policy motions debated at conference.

To raise the question I had to wait until Tuesday when there were two Centre Forum fringe meetings on foreign policy. Neither of the fringe meetings was specifically on Iran, but the question was asked about what …

Posted in Europe / International and Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 29 Comments

Martin Horwood MP writes… Why Nick Clegg’s response to Jenny Tonge was right

The controversy surrounding Jenny Tonge’s resignation from our party in the House of Lords has attracted a lot of comment online. I’m co-chair of the parliamentary party’s international affairs committee (although writing here in a personal capacity) and I think the stance which Nick took as leader was right.

Liberal Democrat Friends of Palestine – for whom I have a great deal of time – have suggested that Jenny’s ‘intention was to imply that Israel’s wilful failure to uphold and respect the human rights of Palestinian Muslims and Christians is behaviour which is likely to lead to its …

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Opinion: Handling Israel/Palestine issues can be difficult, but…

I can still remember a night in 2009 when our canvass team came back from a night out on the doorsteps asking “Who is Jenny Tonge? We have just been canvassing and had the most awful time over this person who apparently is a Liberal Democrat…” I explained calmly and with a wry smile that Jenny was a former MP, now member of the House of Lords, that she held strong views and was not afraid to voice them. “But these residents are not going to vote Liberal Democrat because of the views she articulates,” said one of the canvassers. It was not a one-off incident.

Posted in Europe / International and Op-eds | Also tagged and | 32 Comments

Tonge: Clegg acted “very hastily and ill-advisedly” in issuing apologise-or-resign ultimatum

Here’s the Press Association report of Baroness (Jenny) Tonge’s BBC interview following her resignation this week over controversial remarks about the future of Israel:

Liberal Democrat peer Baroness Tonge has claimed her party leader Nick Clegg acted “hastily” in quickly disowning her after she said Israel “would not be there forever”. She was forced to give up the party whip after the Deputy Prime Minister told her to apologise or resign hours after her comments to students at Middlesex University were revealed.

During a talk at the university, she claimed Israel would “reap what it has sown” if the United States

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Jenny Tonge resigns Lib Dem whip over controversial “Beware Israel” remarks

A quick follow-up to our story, Jenny Tonge resigns

Baroness (Jenny) Tonge has this afternoon resigned the Lib Dem whip after coming under intense pressure following the widespread reporting of remarks she made last week declaring that Israel “will reap what they have sown” once the USA gets “sick of giving £70bn a year to Israel to support what I call America’s aircraft carrier in the Middle East”.

It is by no means the first time Baroness Tonge has landed herself in hot water for her out-spoken views on Israel:

  • She was sacked by then leader Charles Kennedy as the Lib

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First Jewish ambassador to Israel has divided loyalties, says Labour MP

The Jewish Chronicle reports:

A Labour MP has caused outrage by suggesting that Britain’s first Jewish ambassador to Israel has divided loyalties because he has “proclaimed himself to be a Zionist”.

Challenged by the JC to clarify his comments about Matthew Gould, who took up the post last year, Paul Flynn, the Labour MP for Newport West, said ambassadors to Israel had not previously been Jewish “to avoid the accusation that they have gone native”.

Britain needed, he said, “someone with roots in the UK can’t be accused of having Jewish loyalty”.

The Foreign Office and MPs from across the political spectrum

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 27 Comments

Opinion: How not to further the Palestinian cause

The other day at a London Underground station, I saw a man who was visibly distressed. A 50-something Asian gentleman in a suit, he’d been waiting for his wife when a man asked him to move out of the way on a narrow path. Except he hadn’t just asked him to move – he’d abused him racially and pushed against him.

I could see that he was upset, so I stopped and he told me what had happened. Imagine, however, if, instead of expressing sympathy, I had told him that he was in the wrong for having been in someone’s way …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 21 Comments

Opinion: a Palestinian state cannot wait

The superstition and messianic belief, that Israel was founded on in 1948, has helped to establish an apartheid esque society. Now I do not deny the existence of Israel, of course not. Many nations have been founded on injustices but Israel’s demagogic lie has done enormous damage. The schism, which can be summarised by the phrase “A land without a people for a people without a land” suggested that the people in Palestine did not really exist or were a coherent genuine people. Refusal to acknowledge the Palestinian ethnic group has been a problematic area for Israel, especially since …

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Opinion: The automaton body-politic

Not for nothing was England once known as ‘Perfidious Albion’ – it would change policy stances more often than a modern quick-change model on a catwalk. Ah yes, those days when foreign policy was as reliably firm as blancmange in a microwave set on high. But not nowadays, of course.

No, Foreign Secretaries and their FCO policy officials who devise and draft policy these post-Great Game days can be relied upon to issue policy that is robustly embedded in the nine points of policy-making as set down by the Cabinet Office and the Better Regulation Executive (BRE). To which all Government …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 24 Comments

LibLink: Lynne Featherstone calls for peace in Jewish Chronicle

Lynne Featherstone has a balanced piece in the Jewish Chron this week:

In Hornsey & Wood Green in North London, there is a strong pro-Israel lobby and a strong pro-Palestinian lobby. When Jenny Tonge made her disgraceful and ignorant comments in the JC, calling for an inquiry into Israel taking organs in Haiti, I got emails from the pro-Israel lobby saying that the Liberal Democrats were pro-Palestinian.

When Nick Clegg then rightly sacked Baroness Tonge from the front bench, I received emails claiming that he had only done so because the “Zionist conspiracy” had got to him. Both were symptomatic of the

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged , , and | 17 Comments

Daily View 2×2: 24 March 2010

It’s budget day, and with the General Election just six weeks away, the big question is whether Darling will pull something out of the hat to make us all feel happier (in the short term, at least) or whether – as he’s suggested so far – it’ll be steady as she goes.

2 Must-Read Blog Posts

What are other Liberal Democrat bloggers saying? Here are two posts that have caught the eye from the Liberal Democrat Blogs aggregator:

Spotted any other great posts in the last day from blogs that aren’t on the aggregator? Do post up a comment sharing them with us all.

2 Big Stories

The clamour to ban mephodrone continues

Posted in Daily View | Also tagged , and | Leave a comment

Daily View 2×2: Jenga special

It’s Sunday. It’s 9am. It’s time for jenga, but first the news.

2 Must-Read Blog Posts

What are other Liberal Democrat bloggers saying? Here are two posts that have caught the eye from the Liberal Democrat Blogs aggregator:

  • A failure of scrutiny on digital bill: Peter Black blogs about the letter signed by, amongst others, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary candidates Bridget Fox and Julian Huppert. Danger of Parliament rushing through legislation without proper debate? Who would have thought it.
  • Elementary errors: Giles Wilkes on the important difference between a stock and a flow. More interesting and useful than I’ve made it sound.

Spotted any other great posts in the last day from blogs that aren’t on the aggregator? Do post up a comment sharing them with us all.

2 Big Stories

BA fights to limit the impact of cabin crew strike

Posted in Daily View | Also tagged , , , , , , and | 1 Comment

LibLink … Nick Clegg et al: An appeal for the victims of Gaza

Nick Clegg is a lead signatory for a letter in today’s Observer calling on the international community to exert pressure on Israel to abide by UN security council resolution 1860 and bring an end to the suffering of the people of Gaza. Here’s what it says:

One year on from Israel’s invasion of the Gaza Strip, the Israeli government continues to imprison 1.5 million Palestinians and prevent the rebuilding of its shattered infrastructure.

Israel’s blockade of Gaza, described by the UN fact-finding mission as “collective punishment”, stops reconstruction materials and humanitarian aid from reaching those who so desperately require it.

As a result

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LibLink … Clegg on Gaza

Writing in the Guardian two days ago, Nick Clegg highlighted Palestinian suffering in Gaza:

On 27 December last year, Israel launched Operation Cast Lead in Gaza, an overwhelming exercise of military force aimed at silencing the Hamas rockets which had terrorised Israeli towns and villages. The immediate effects of the invasion are well known: 1,400 Palestinians dead, mostly civilians, with many more wounded or displaced; 10 Israeli soldiers and three civilians killed, dozens more injured; and thousands of families in southern Israel forced to flee to other parts of the country. The rocketfire from Gaza into Israel has slowed but

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Daily View 2×2: 20 September 2009

It’s Sunday. It’s 7am. It’s time for the Daily View, today with a special Trojan Horse supplement.

2 Big Stories

Obama attempts to revive Middle East peace efforts

So reports the BBC:

Mr Obama will first hold separate talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, the White House says.

The three men, who will be in New York for the UN General Assembly, will then hold joint discussions.

The move comes after US envoy George Mitchell’s latest round of shuttle diplomacy ended without agreement.

Posted in Daily View | Also tagged , , and | 2 Comments

Nick Clegg: angry liberal

Drama and political passion over at the Jewish Chronicle, where Nick Clegg vows to Martin Bright that he will not silence controverial Lib Dem peer Baroness (Jenny) Tonge, whose outspoken comments on the Israeli-Palestine conflict have in the past landed her in hot water.

Nick Clegg is angry. No, it’s beyond angry. Incandescent almost gets it, but that still doesn’t capture the full fury of the man as he leans forward from his chair in the Liberal Democrat leader’s office in the House of Commons.

The accusation that Mr Clegg had failed to honour his commitment to act against the pro-Palestinian Lib

Posted in Europe / International | Also tagged , , and | 5 Comments

CommentIsLinked@LDV: Jonathan Fryer – What Hope for the Middle East?

Over at Society Today, Lib Dem blogger and London candidate for the European Parliament Jonathan Fryer examines the prospects for peace in the troubled region. Here’s an excerpt:

… the prognosis for the future need not necessarily be as grim as the pessimists fear. First and foremost, the arrival of Barack Obama in the White House should provide a whole new dynamic to the Washington-Tel Aviv axis. In the past, US administrations – including that of George W Bush – have allowed Israel to get away with murder, literally and figuratively. That has included the ongoing expansion of Jewish settlements in

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“Women Erased in Israel, Flogged in Pakistan and Restricted in Afghanistan”

The New York Times headline neatly wraps up three stories about the at times grim, and in the photoshopping case verging on farcical, struggle for women’s rights across much of the Middle East:

On Friday, The Associated Press reported that Israeli newspapers “aimed at ultra-Orthodox Jewish readers” digitally manipulated a photograph of the new Israeli government, to remove two female cabinet ministers, Limor Livnat and Sofa Landver…

The Pakistani newspaper Dawn reports on Friday that Pakistan’s prime minister, Yousaf Raza Gilani, is “taking serious notice of the public flogging of a girl in Swat” and “has ordered the authorities to inquire

Posted in Europe / International | Also tagged and | 1 Comment

Does the Israeli election result prove PR just doesn’t work?

Whenever electoral reform – ie, proportional representation or ‘fair votes’ – is debated, those who oppose it will almost inevitably use a variation on the following arguments:

• it produces coalition governments which are weak, divided and indecisive (far better, obviously, to have strong government regardless of whether a majority of people actually voted for it);
• coalition are created by political deals in “smoke-filled rooms” which the voters have no control over (unlike our Parliamentary system of whipping and Prime Ministerial patronage, of course);
• The government which emerges bears no relation to the individual parties most voters support (compared with …

Posted in Europe / International and News | Also tagged , , and | 4 Comments

Opinion: Israel has no option but to defend itself against Hamas and Iran

Lib Dem Voice has invited both the Liberal Democrat Friends of Palestine (article published here yesterday) and the Friends of Israel to submit articles looking at the current Middle East crisis. Today we publish this contribution from Matthew Harris, Secretary of Liberal Democrat Friends of Israel.

At the pro-Israeli peace rally on Sunday 11 January, Trafalgar Square echoed to the sound of speaker after speaker calling, as the thousands of placards read, for “peace for the people of Israel and Gaza”. As a Liberal Democrat who believes in human rights and the rule of law, I cannot echo those …

Posted in Europe / International and Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 40 Comments

Opinion: The West must take some responsibility for the current crisis in Gaza

Lib Dem Voice has invited both the Liberal Democrat Friends of Palestine and the Friends of Israel to submit articles looking at the current Middle East crisis. Today we publish this contribution from Andrew Baldwin, Secretary of Liberal Democrat Friends of Palestine.

The recent violence in the Gaza Strip is extremely damaging for the so called ‘peace process’ in the Middle East. The international community has been slow to act, issuing statements urging Hamas to stop firing rockets into Israel, but this almost abandonment of the Palestinian people is extremely dangerous for the future, and ignores the fact that the international …

Posted in Europe / International and Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 20 Comments

Nick Clegg: We must stop arming Israel

Nick Clegg has a piece in The Guardian today:

The world watched in horror yesterday as the conflict in Gaza claimed its latest innocent victims in the rubble of a UN school. Any hopes of reconciliation are being snuffed out as anger spills into protests around the world.

The past two weeks have been a telling indictment of the international community. We have an outgoing US president sanctioning Israel’s military response and an aching silence from the president-elect. We have a European Union encumbered by clumsy decision-making and confused messages.

And at home we have a prime minister talking like an accountant about

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 13 Comments



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  • User AvatarPeter Watson 19th Apr - 10:19am
    @JohnTilley As I noted in a post about this poll elsewhere, "At the same time, 83% of those students would vote to stay in the...
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    @JohnTilley - The support or potential support from this generation of intelligent young people will be difficult or impossible to win back over the rest...
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    I don't think I've ever used it, Jennie.
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    I would be really really REALLY careful about using the phrase "cried rape" if I were you, Mr Tall.
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    Seems to be heading towards Ukip ideas which were condemed
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