This is a guest post by Jonathan Hoffman
So the Guardian is backing the Liberal Democrats (“LibDems”) for the UK election on Thursday, as the Party that offers the best chance of achieving change from a ‘First Past The Post’ electoral system to a ‘proportional representation’ one.
But how convenient for Rusbridger et al that the LibDems are by far the closest in ideology to CIF’s Israel bashers. Indeed there are several crossovers. It was the LibDem’s leader, Nick Clegg, who voiced support for an arms embargo on Israel. Moreover he chose CIF as his platform to announce it. That speaks volumes.
And what a coincidence that Clegg has been advised by Nicholas Blincoe, a former ISM activist, who writes for the Guardian and was a staffer for a time. Blincoe’s insights about Israel include this one:
Israeli archaeologists are like the fireman in the novel Fahrenheit 451; their job is to erase the traces of non-Jewish civilizations, not to investigate them.
And look how Nadhmi Auchi, an anti-Israel Iraqui billionaire, is close to Clegg and organised a fundraising dinner for a LibDem candidate.
Then there is Jenny Tonge, famous for saying “The pro-Israeli lobby has got its grips on the western world, its financial grips. I think they’ve probably got a grip on our party.” Until very recently she was a Patron of the viciously antisemitic Palestine Telegraph. Only when it posted a David Duke video did she resign. But she has not been thrown out of the LibDem Party – as she surely should be.
You can see here what Tonge and a LibDem MP Sarah Teather say about Israel.
Here you can see the LibDems’ response to the questionnaire sent to candidates by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (the only party – as opposed to individual candidates – to respond). (The response has been taken off the PSC site). They call for a ban on settlement goods, suspension of the EU-Israel Association Agreement and an arms embargo on Israel).
33 LibDem candidates have so far put their name to this. A further 25 LibDem candidates signed the PSC’s pledges.
One LibDem candidate said that the only reason that there was not an arms embargo on Israel was “the power of the Jewish lobbies in Washington and Britain”. She also echoed Tonge’s call for an inquiry to disprove allegations that Israeli army medical teams in Haiti “harvested” organs of earthquake victims.
And the LibDems’ spokesman on foreign policy, Shadow Foreign Secretary Ed Davey MP, thinks the Goldstone Report is “balanced” and wants the UN to act on it.
More still: Over 80% of the LibDem MPs in the Parliament which has just been dissolved are happy to see Israelis arrested in the UK on politically motivated false “War Crimes” charges.
Finally …….. remember Chris Davies? He was the LibDem MEP who told a constituent that he hoped she enjoyed “wallowing in her own filth” after she wrote to disagree with his views on Israel. He remains a LibDem MEP though he was forced to resign as the Party’s Leader in the European Parliament.
Voluminous though this catalogue is, I’m sure that diligent CIF readers can add to it. Like the way the LibDems’ message on Israel changes according to whether the listener is mezzuzah or muezzin.
I certainly will not be voting for the LibDems on Thursday. No Jew or supporter of Israel should vote for them. They and the Guardian deserve each other. It is a nightmare shidduch.
In fact I have already voted (by post) for the Conservatives. I want a Conservative government because of the previous government’s hostility to Israel. Of course there will be Conservative policies towards Israel with which one disgrees but on the basics – closing the Universal Jurisdiction loophole, opposing the Goldstone Report/Islamic extremism/Iran/Hamas/Hisbolla – they can be trusted.
Not all LibDems are endemically hostile to Israel. Baroness Sarah Ludford has been a great supporter in the European Parliament. There is a LibDem “Friends of Israel” organisation (Vice Chair Matthew Harris, the candidate in Hendon) which especially at Party Conferences has done a good job in stopping some of the extreme hostility being ratified in Resolutions. Chris Huhne – the Home Affairs spokesman who should be Party Leader (he ran against Clegg and reportedly a sack of votes which arrived late would have swung it for Huhne, but he generously said that they should not be counted when this was offered) certainly does not go along with the extreme hostility and neither does Vince Cable (the Shadow Finance Minister). But I believe these people are in a small minority in the Party. If the LibDems entered the Cabinet in a hung Parliament, they certainly would not form the majority voice in the Party’s foreign policy.
Explanatory Note: A “Shidduch” (Hebrew: שִׁידּוּךְ) is a match made between two Orthodox Jewish singles.
Disclaimer: The above are personal views and should not be attributed to the UK Zionist Federation of which I am (honorary) Co-Vice Chair.