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Monday 29 June 2020

Palestine , Labour, And Call My Bluff

United Nations Security Council Resolution 242. You may not have heard of it, and so will not appreciate its significance. This can be put directly: 242 was adopted unanimously by the Security Council in the aftermath of the Six-Day War of 1967. Its first provision was the withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied during that conflict.
Those territories included the Gaza Strip, which was part of Egypt, the West Bank (including East Jerusalem), which was part of Jordan, and the Golan Heights, which was part of Syria. Continued occupation of the last two of those territories has been deemed illegal under international law, and so Israeli settlements within those areas are also deemed illegal by the same token. Now, though, the Israeli Government is going further.

As early as next Wednesday, it proposes to annex around 30% of the West Bank. This is also illegal under international law. So it was to the Labour Party’s credit that they made an unequivocal intervention, with shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy telling “The proposal to unilaterally annex nearly a third of the West Bank is an illegal act which will undermine the prospect of a peaceful two-state solution for Israel and Palestine, and has serious implications for the stability of the Middle East”. And there was more.
It is a shameful proposition to which the UK cannot be a silent witness. Across the world concern is growing … So far the UK government has been conspicuously absent from this global response … This is now urgent. The government must be clear with the Israeli coalition government that concrete action will follow, including a ban on goods entering Britain from the illegal settlements in the West Bank”. She had a warning for the Tories.

This is a major step, but such a blatant breach of international law must have consequences. It will take a level of courage that so far ministers have not been willing to show”. Alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson has objected to the Israeli proposal. But he has otherwise done nothing. Labour’s move has the backing of new party leader Keir Starmer, who is now under attack from a familiar quarter.
The recently-exhumed Jewish Chronicle, in a piece authored by smear merchant Lee Harpin, has told “Board of Deputies President Marie van der Zyl has urged Sir Keir Starmer to reject a proposal from his shadow foreign secretary calling for the UK to ban the import of goods from illegal settlements in the West Bank if the Israeli government presses ahead with annexation plans”. There was more.

Ms van der Zyl added “The tactic of BDS is divisive and seeks to strike at the very legitimacy of the State of Israel, the Middle East’s only democracy and the world’s only Jewish State”. But objecting to an illegal act does not impugn the legitimacy of Israel. Annexation is an illegal act; it was illegal when Russia did in with Crimea, and it is an illegal act if Israel does it with part of the West Bank.
But this is about more than the niceties of international law: note that Ms van der Zyl used the acronym “BDS” in the same sentence as “the world’s only Jewish state”. She has chosen her words very deliberately: a principal thrust of the response to the BDS movement is to denounce it as anti-Semitic. What Keir Starmer is being told is that if Labour continues along this path, it will be called out for anti-Semitism.

And coming so soon after the news cycle featured accusations of Labour anti-Semitism, it is clear is that the BoD senses sufficient weakness to bend Starmer to their will (the Tories, meanwhile, increasingly controlled by chief Downing Street polecat Dominic Cummings, who wouldn’t know international law from a hole in the ground, will do nothing).
The problem that Ms van der Zyl faces, though, is that Keir Starmer does not bend to anyone else’s will. He did not hesitate to act last week, whatever the rights and wrongs of Rebecca Long Bailey’s actions, and he has already made up his mind on Palestine.

This is one game of Call My Bluff where Keir Starmer is not going to yield. End of story.
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Anonymous said...

Yeah, right.

He "yielded" quickly enough when he sacked Long-Bailey for absolutely fuck all.

This Starmer-Nandy tactic is gesture bullshit because they'll never be in a position to enact it, and they know it. Which means they're STILL a pair of right wing quisling gobshites.

As trustworthy as two snakes in a tub of crude oil.

George Jellliss said...

What does BDS stand for?

Nigel Stapley said...

As soon as the media - Kuennsberg, Freedland, Cohen, Rent-a-Tool et al. - start yapping, Starmer will cave. After all, if he can sack someone for tweeting a link to an article in the mainsteam press which wasn't remotely either anti-semitic or a 'conspiracy theory' just because the completely unrepresentative BoD and the like say it is, one scream from them and the media will do it. Remember, Starmer is a Continuity Blairite.

@George Jelliss: Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions.

Burlington Bertie from Bow said...

Respect, Anon 12.39!
You managed to comment on Starmer without mentioning his hairstyle or the existence of your capital's orbital motorway.

Rosie said...

Yes. But. He may have 'made up his mind'. He may not budge. But the hardline, newly appointed Ambassador to the UK is en route, not methinks to support Starmer's entry into Downing Street, but to support one Boris-the-Cummings-Johnson (for they are one indivisible). Starmer and the Party will, as likely, attract increasing accusations of anti Semitism in high places on this Nandy/BDS position and future banana-skins on the precarious path of negotiating that what you might not think is anti-Semitism is, so loosely defined is it, it can only be defined by the accusers, who may to paraphrase Pritti Patel "feel" attacked/reviled/hurt/denigrated etc/) Starmer may be placed in the position of having to consider the positions of people who he is much closer to than he was with Rebecca. Nandy is one. Rayner will be watched like a hawk. A lot will depend on the head of steam the accusers are able to whip up in the media, who are minded at the moment to turn their heads away (particularly the Guardian) unless it is a known leftie who they think Starmer wants rid of anyway. No doubt there is a hotline to Freedland to arbitrate on this and inform Viner which way to go. Of course, Corbyn got two sometimes three attacks daily in the Guardian alone for 5 years, accused of things we now know were actually perpetrated by trolls and right wing bots, or indeed, investigations at Southside, that were held up deliberately, not by Jennie Formby,but by staff appointed by the toxic Ian McNichol, part of a web and strategy to get rid of Corbyn aided by the amplification of the PLP and Lord Levy. Of course, if Starmer complies it will appear that the BoD et al controls Labour not Starmer. He may have to sack a few more. Purges of membership are likely too. At the moment he risks losing a few more front benchers who fall set by either all those who crawl over left of centre MPs tweets ready to misinterpret a criticism of M&S clothing as an attack on Jewish corporatism or other forensic conjuring of something out of nothing.

Rosie said...

How does one edit a comment that has been posted? Mine has a wodge of literals in it and needs sorting or it loses impact.

Sam said...

So Keir Starmer's desire to "never hear Labour and anti-Semitism again in on sentence" was very wishful thinking.
That's an odd statement : "whatever the rights and wrongs of Rebecca Long Bailey’s actions". Starmer was wrong to boot RLB and she was right to publish her tweet and Starmer has backed up his attack on RKB by a blatant & probably actionable libel by trying to claim RLB was using old "antisemitic tropes".
Unfortunately few damned politicians resort to the libel courts and allow blatant lies to flourish, Corbyn a prime example
Keir has tied himself up in knots the way he caved into the BoD. It will all end in tears.

grim northerner said...

The ghost of Wittgenstein is pissing himself laughing over this.