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Thursday 16 November 2023

Labour’s Ceasefire Shame

The civilian death toll resulting from the IDF’s round the clock rocketing, shelling and bombing of Gaza has now, when those missing and assumed buried under the rubble of apparently randomly targeted buildings are factored in, passed the 15,000 mark. That’s 15,000 killed in less than six weeks. 15,000 non-combatants without the means to defend themselves.

Yet most of what Robin Day rightly and memorably called here today and gone tomorrow politicians did not seem overly concerned about such details, and that has included the Labour leadership, one of whose representatives rocked up on TV this week and declared that calls for an immediate ceasefire were “performative”. Another one arguing in his spare time.

There is nothing “performative”, to use the happy characterisation of another career creep, about wanting to end the death and suffering resulting from pumping the equivalent of more than two Hiroshima bombs into a densely populated enclave, including the use of white phosphorus, and fragmentation rounds, the kind that tear through flesh and amputate limbs.

The Government mindset was no better, as Grant “Spiv” Shapps showed: “Voting for a ceasefire is essentially voting to give Hamas the green light to commit further terrorist atrocities. If Britain had been attacked on October 7, and we knew exactly where the murderers were, would any MP seriously be voting not to go after them?” Did we flatten West Belfast? Away with you.

One Labour MP supportive of a ceasefire found the Tories sniggering at her across the chamber. A few of The Blue Team did, though, vote for a ceasefire, but rather more Labour representatives - 56 of them, including several from the front bench who stood down in order to do so - registered their dissent, along with the SNP, several Lib Dems, and Green MP Caroline Lucas.

One of those Lib Dems was Layla Moran, who had just received the news that one of her extended family had been killed in Gaza. Still, as Philip Proudfoot observed, “Labour’s amendment today calls for a ‘humanitarian pause.’ They’ll suggest it’s ‘sensible’ and aligned with the international community … But EVERY head of the UN humanitarian agencies is calling for a ceasefire … Labour is gaslighting us”. Centro-Sensiblism again.

As for our free and fearless press, the only reason the right-leaning titles even mention the ceasefire vote is because of Keir Starmer’s discomfort in losing several of his front bench team. Their main focus is dishonestly claiming that the Tories’ Supreme Court Rwanda reverse was down to The Forrins.

It’s as if pointless culture wars are more important than the destruction, and mounting death toll, in Gaza. Another example of Palestinian lives not being of equal merit with those of everyone else. What, though, was motivating the Labour leadership to show so little empathy with those being bombed, rocketed and targeted with all those fragmentation munitions?

The Oh What A Giveaway moment came from the singularly unpleasant Luke Akehurst: “There's a certain post-colonial arrogance to British MPs thinking they can tell the elected government of another democracy that it has to stop fighting to defend its people after the worst terrorist atrocities since 9/11. The former mandatory power should stay in its lane”. Two things here.

The IDF is not “fighting to defend its people” by pulverising Gaza into dust and recklessly murdering a five-figure number of civilians. And Two, a vote in the Commons is not an instruction to the Government of another country. It is an expression of solidarity and empathy. It is not an attempt to tell the Israeli Government what to do. Akehurst is indulging in sophistry and spin.

But people like him have the ear of the Labour leadership, for better or worse. People like him who respond to the use of free speech with the mildly threatening demand “Name and CLP?” People who appear to conflate Israel with “The Jewish People”, which the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism calls an anti-Semitic trope. But he believes in Israel, so that’s all right, then.

Meanwhile, more defenceless civilians are being killed and maimed while the Labour party makes the calculation that they’ll win the next election anyway.

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Anonymous said...

And so Quisling "Labour" treachery and betrayals continue. Now as mass murderous as Bliar/Brown and as complicit in war crimes. As rotten to the core as the blue and yellow versions of far right toryism.

They will of course "win" the next election. But all it will do is intensify the stench from Westminster, Whitehall and "the City". And the insane homicidal thieving mania of that corrupt rodents nest.

Britain 2023, a nation following the USA along the sewer of madness.

Gulliver said...

“while the Labour party makes the calculation that they’ll win the next election anyway”

Labour will win the next election for one very simple reason, in a 2-horse race. the jockey in the blue livery has shot his own nag in the head while the donkey ridden by the red jockey can still just about hobble along in a vaguely forward direction. The Tory vote will probably stay at home and enough of the Labour vote will go to the ballot box with minimum enthusiasm, their only reason being to GTTO.

Burlington Bertie from Bow said...

Those 56 Labour MPs deserve to get loud and sustained support from all of us, regardless of whether they were motivated by revulsion at the Israeli government's actions, by disgust at Starmer's apparent lack of such a moral backbone, or by the demographic make-up of their constituency/desire to represent the views of those whose votes elected them.

Their independence of thought, refusal to be bullied and their recognition that, without at least some minimal residual claim to the moral high ground the Labour party might as well call it a day, are a glimmer of light in the murk of centralised, 'sensible' conformism.

Anonymous said...

Performative.. exactly right. Tories pathetically trying to reform Rwanda to appease racism and Labour falling out about Palestine, even though they have no power over anything. People angry and accusatory…No wonder the Uk is knackered. Fascists in Israel and Fascists in Hamas; and fascism means war…

Mr Larrington said...

Can anyone explain to to this Bear of Little Brane the difference between a “ceasefire” and a “humanitarian pause”? I've asked the cats, but they’re as confused as I am.

Burlington Bertie from Bow said...

According to *my* cat, a ceasefire, like an armistice, though potentially of only short duration, can, like that in WW1, become permanent. It at least implies the possibility of a space for talks, negotiation, outside influence or facilitation.

'Pause' offers no more than a brief interlude and in the case at hand it is clear that the overwhelmingly powerful and destructive force is the one being called on to pause. The implication of a pause in Gaza is that the Israelis will briefly interrupt their killing of maybe ultimately 30,000(?), stop for half-time and then carry on their barbaric destruction of the whole area in the second half.

It's God's will after all.

Dr Paul said...

The attack last month by Hamas gave the hard-right Israeli government to put into action its long-held desire for a Greater Israel containing no Palestinians; that is, finishing off what was started in 1948. (Hamas, by the way, knew this would happen; it deliberately provoked this in the hope the expulsion would itself provoke a massive conflagration in the Middle East and that it, Hamas, might gain something out of the wreckage.)

The Israel response to the attack is aimed at demolishing Gaza, making it uninhabitable, and forcing its inhabitants into Egypt. That's what is meant by the eradication of Hamas in Gaza: anything less will enable the survival and future revival of Hamas, or the rise of something more militant. Parallel to this is an intensification of settler and state violence against the Palestinians in the West Bank. It's not so much about defeating Hamas than about expelling the Palestinians, be they Hamas supporters or not.

Those opposing the idea of a ceasefire must therefore be in support of the bigger Israel plan, as the maintenance of the attacks upon Gaza is necessary if the expulsion of the Palestinians is to occur. That is the main purpose of the continuing attacks. Yes, Biden & Co say they oppose expulsions, but by opposing a ceasefire, they're effectively endorsing the strategy that is aimed specifically at enabling expulsions to take place.

Apart from stopping the destruction of Gaza, a ceasefire might also allow some less destructive and dangerous ideas about solving this long-running problem to be discussed.

Dr Paul