Posts Tagged ‘Palestine’
In my view the only rational choice for the next UK government is another Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition.
The Labour Party is simply a joke. Miliband is an out-of-touch, Hampstead-socialist buffoon who was part of the team whose reckless borrowing meant that the banking crisis destroyed this country’s economy. It is ludicrous that we should even consider giving the same people another chance.
Cameron is an oily, two-faced oaf who has transformed the Conservative Party into the Bullingdon Club Party, dominated by out-of-touch posh boys with quasi-fascists like Theresa May, Iain Duncan Smith and Chris Grayling as their attack dogs.
The only redeeming factor about the Tories is a basic competence in managing the economy. Osborne knows what he is doing but left unrestrained he would devastate our society: trashing the benefits system, care for the disabled and access to justice.
We must have the decent, fair, rational and conscientious Liberal Democrats in government with the Tories. Crucially they must hold out for a much tougher coalition agreement which will see the disgusting policies of Duncan Smith and Grayling reversed. I think it’s too much to hope that we will see the back of Theresa May but definitely, in my area of special interest, the Liberal Democrats will insist on drugs policy reform. The evidence-free, prejudice-based, self-defeating and cruel drugs policies of the past must be overturned. They have caused too much harm, suffering and promoted the interests of organised crime and the alcohol industry over common sense and the national interest.
So, in February I joined the Liberal Democrats. I was free to do so because that month the CLEAR Executive Committee resolved that we would no longer be a political party. An explanation of that decision is here.
My decision had a lot to do with drugs policy but, as I have explained above, was considered across the wider issues. I think it reflects the fact that the LibDems are less ideologically-driven, more rational, evidence-based and fair in their policies. All my life I have been a Tory voter for the crucial values of individual liberty, regulated free markets and opposed to the cloying, repressive ideas of socialism and the overbearing state – but the Tories have lost their way, their moral compass and their integrity. I will never, ever vote Tory again.
CLEAR has worked closely with the LibDems since I first led a delegation of medicinal cannabis users to meet Norman Baker, then drugs minister, in July 2014. Just a few weeks later he publicly called for a change in policy on medicinal cannabis, the most significant breakthrough in the UK cannabis campaign for nearly 50 years. This year we have worked closely with Nick Clegg’s team and the LibDem manifesto incorporated CLEAR’s policy on medicinal cannabis word for word. I had the privilege of personally briefing him on medicinal cannabis just a few weeks ago. Julian Huppert, Norman Lamb and Lynne Featherstone, also LibDems, have been of great help to the CLEAR campaign and demonstrated outstanding sincerity, honesty and commitment, uncommon qualities amongst politicians. Personally, I also greatly admire the courage of LibDem David Ward in standing against Israeli war crimes and in support of Palestine.
On the narrow issue of drugs policy, once again, Labour is a joke. It doesn’t have one. With a few honourable exceptions, such as Paul Flynn, David Winnick and Bob Ainsworth, the party is stuck in reefer madness, terrorised by tabloid editors and prefers prejudice and scare stories to science and evidence. The Tories have more individuals who support reform but the party as a whole is in a corrupt relationship with the alcohol industry and also terrorised by the tabloid press.
As far as the Greens are concerned, yes they have a sensible drugs policy (originally drafted, in fact, by Derek Williams, my colleague on the CLEAR Executive Committee) but they have no chance of any influence in the new government. Caroline Lucas did a good job on getting the drugs debate in Parliament last year but I cannot support her party’s bizarre behaviour in the illiberal ‘No More Page 3’ censorship and fracking campaigns. The Green’s attitude to fracking is as evidence-free and based on prejudice as is Labour’s attitude to cannabis. Also, CLEAR gave the Greens an opportunity to present their drugs policy to our supporters but despite repeated efforts they couldn’t get it together. By contrast, the LibDems welcomed us enthusiastically and at the highest level.
I am a Eurosceptic LibDem, which is unusual. In fact, I voted for UKIP in the last European elections and although the party itself is confused on the issue, I have talked with Nigel Farage in person at length on drugs policy and he is progressive, intelligent and pragmatic on the subject.
CISTA, the Cannabis Is Safer Than Alcohol party? Well, I know a number of the candidates personally and I would recommend voting for them in constituencies where the LibDems stand no chance. Overall though the party is a waste of Paul Birch’s money and I can say that with the experience of CLEAR’s 16 years as a political party. It’s great that they are bringing some attention to the campaign but it’s a futile strategy and Birch has spurned all efforts at support and assistance from CLEAR. Had he even returned our calls we would have endorsed and promoted CISTA candidates in some constituencies.
So in conclusion, for drugs policy reform, particularly for access to medicinal cannabis, but also for a fairer society where policy is based on evidence and compassion rather than prejudice and vested interests, vote Liberal Democrat!
“Nazi stormtroopers had identified our house as the home of a Jewish family…”. Now Israel Does The Same In Gaza.
“One night, when I was 13, I was woken by the sound of a door being broken down. Boots stumbled up the stairs, there was loud shouting, and a terrifying series of crashes. Nazi stormtroopers had identified our house as the home of a Jewish family, and this was the night of 9 November 1938, when the Kristallnacht pogrom raged across Germany. Our entire home was destroyed before our eyes, with axes and sledgehammers.
I have a vivid recollection of my father, after the monsters had gone, sitting on the one chair that remained and weeping. I had never seen him weep before. I now realise that, but for the presence of myself and my younger sister, my parents might not have survived the raid. It was a brutal demonstration of our situation. My sister and I left Germany on the last Kindertransport from Düsseldorf in May 1939. We have never had a full account of our parents’ fate.
Even now, I sometimes start up in bed, reliving that night. But in recent weeks, it is more often images of devastation in Gaza – of homes and families destroyed in Israeli targetings of such “military objectives” as the homes of officials in the democratically elected Hamas government – that have recalled the terror of the Kristallnacht. For I can hardly believe that a Jewish government is doing these things. How can Jewish people, aware of their own history, undertake a campaign of collective punishment that kills a higher multiple of the casualties cited as justification, than did the Nazi reprisals for resistance in occupied Europe?
Surely we have reached the point where every government not composed of utter humbugs must join in insisting that an Israeli renunciation of ambitions for expansion beyond the 1947 boundaries is a prerequisite for progress towards reconciliation and peace within a two-state solution. The very doubtful prospect of a unified, multinational, secular state in Palestine appears to be the only alternative.”
“If I were an Arab leader, I would never sign an agreement with Israel. It is normal; we have taken their country. It is true God promised it to us, but how could that interest them? Our God is not theirs. There has been anti-semitism, the Nazis, Hitler, Auschwitz, but was that their fault? They see but one thing: we have come and we have stolen their country. Why would they accept that?”
This is the truth about Israel. Even its most revered father of the nation recognises that his country’s actions are indefensible. With the seizure of land, unlawful blockade and seige of Gaza and thousands of war crimes it is only getting worse. There is no room for any further equivocation. The IDF is systematically murdering defenceless civilians and revelling in it while politicians in the Knesset, even Moshe Feiglin, the deputy speaker, are publishing polemics arguing for genocide of the Palestinian people. Feiglin calls for “concentration and extermination” of the Gazan people, terrifying words that suggest a second holocaust. Source.
Like most British people I am absolutely behind Israel’s ‘right to exist’ but nothing endangers that more than its government’s conduct. Over and over again, Israel has shown it cannot be trusted. I regret to say that perhaps the two state solution is impossible. The attitude and actions of Israel make it so. Perhaps we need to look at a one state solution – a free Palestine where Jew, Arab, Muslim, Christian and secular people can live together in peace. Israel has sown the seeds of its own destruction and nurtured them diligently with the blood of Palestinian children. The world must call a halt.
—– Original Message —–
From: DRAX, Richard
To: Peter Reynolds
Sent: Wednesday, August 06, 2014 5:33 PM
Dear Mr Reynolds,
I write following your most recent further emails regarding Israel’s recent actions in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs).
It is indeed tragic that so many innocent civilians, including women and children, have been killed and injured. Ministers have made clear to all parties at every opportunity that the current situation is in no one’s interest, and is harmful to prospects for the Middle East Peace Process. We now have a 72 hour ceasefire. The Government’s objective is to make that permanent so the killing stops.
It is vital that all security operations are conducted with due care and proportionate use of force. There are hundreds of thousands of extremely vulnerable civilians in Gaza who bear no responsibility for the rocket fire and are suffering acutely from this crisis; and the Israeli defence forces estimate that 5 million Israeli civilians live within range of rockets fired from Gaza. Israel has a right to defend itself against indiscriminate rocket attacks, but it is vital that Gaza’s civilian population is protected. International humanitarian law requires both sides to distinguish between military and civilian targets and enable unhindered humanitarian access.
The UK is working with international partners to achieve three important goals. Firstly, Ministers will push for a lasting and durable ceasefire agreed by both sides that ends both the rocket fire and the Israeli operations against Gaza. This will require cooperation from all parties in Israel and the OPTs, as well as assistance from regional partners.
Secondly, the Government has committed to do all it can to help alleviate humanitarian suffering in Gaza. Given the rapidly deteriorating situation in Gaza, the International Development Secretary has decided to make more than £15 million available in emergency support including health care, clean water, blankets and cooking equipment to help the people affected by the violence in Gaza. This includes £6 million in new funding to help the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) provide immediate emergency assistance for over 100,000 people who are seeking shelter in their schools. DFID is also bringing forward £3 million in funding to help the International Committee of the Red Cross respond to the worsening situation and is spending £200,000 to repair UNRWA schools that are being used as shelters.
Finally, it is again important to re-iterate that a negotiated two-state solution remains the only way to resolve the conflict once and for all and to achieve a sustainable peace so that Israeli and Palestinian families can live without fear of violence. No other option exists which guarantees peace and security for both peoples. I can assure you the UK will work with all parties to make progress towards this goal.
I do not believe that imposing sanctions on Israel would be a constructive step. The UK has a productive relationship with Israel which enables us to express our views at senior levels very frankly. It is the Government’s assessment that imposing sanctions on Israel would lessen this influence, not increase it, and would not promote the urgent progress towards a two-state solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict which we want to see. However, I am appalled at reports of further civilian casualties in the vicinity of a UN-run school housing Palestinians displaced by the Gaza conflict in Rafah. The facts are not yet clear, but it is tragic that there are further losses of life in a place which is being used as a shelter. The UN is absolutely right to speak out.
Richard Drax MP
—– Original Message —–
From: Peter Reynolds
To: DRAX, Richard
Sent: Saturday, August 09, 2014 4:16 PM
Subject: Re: Israel
Thank you for your reply.
You do an excellent job of presenting the government’s position. Forgive me for reminding you but you do not represent the government, you represent the people of South Dorset. I am sure we, like the majority of the UK, are horrified at the government’s inaction and acquiescence to Israeli conduct. If anything, present policy only seems to demonstrate how powerful and effective is the pro-Israel lobby. It seems to have successfully driven our government way off course from any morality and blinded it to the criminal actions of the apartheid, zionist state that is central to all the problems of the Middle East.
In sharp contrast, military and proactive humanitarian action has been launched within days in Iraq. We are told we have to prevent a “slaughter”, we have to break the “siege” in the Sinjar mountains, we must prevent “genocide”. Government ministers are wringing their hands over “brutal persecution” – the same ministers who have said nothing about Israel’s massacre of civilians in Gaza and genocide of the Palestinian people..
The hypocrisy is simply breathtaking and the cowardly, weasel words of those who call themselves our leaders are beneath contempt.
Democracy in the UK is nothing more than a sham. The BBC censors and controls the news clearly on government orders. Palestinian resistance fighters are “terrorists”, Israeli war crimes are excused and their propagandists are provided with great swathes of air time to present their arguments, unchallenged and untested while they continue to murder children with impunity.
Israel has no right to defend itself when it is acting unlawfully. It is in breach of 64 UN resolutions. Its settlements, apartheid policies and occupation of Palestinian land are unlawful. It is the rockets that are weapons of self defence.
Israel has committed repeated and heinous war crimes by targeting civilian areas and reckless attacks where it is clear there will be civilian casualties. What is Britain doing to bring these criminals to justice?
We quite clearly do not have a “productive relationship” with Israel. The kindest word that can be used to describe this claim is disingenuous. We have to draw a line. We must not permit an outlaw, renegade state, run by war criminals, to pursue its racist persecution of the Palestinian people. Israel’s fanatacism is every bit as evil as that of ISIS. indeed, if we had dealt justly with the Palestinian people and protected them against Israel, the West would not now be facing such an enraged, dangerous enemy.
Finally, there is simply no excuse at all for supplying anything to Israel that can help it to sustain its present policy. If we are still supplying arms then those concerned must be arrested immediately and brought to justice.
There is no hiding place for ministers or MPs on this Richard, no immunity against prosecution for being culpable in supporting war crimes. Please take a stand. You do not represent the government, you represent the people of South Dorset. Stand up to the corruption and cowardice in Whitehall. Resign if our government will not pursue a moral path. That would gain you more support than any toeing of the party line or repeating government propaganda.
If there is concern that Israel would use its nuclear weapons if challenged, then please have the decency to say so.
I have always been an ardent supporter of Israel’s right to exist but it may have gone too far this time to be allowed to continue as part of the community of nations. Palestine, Islam and Arabs have never been as great a threat to Israel as its own disgusting conduct. Truly it has been sowing the seeds of its own destruction for many years.
Perhaps the two state solution is now irredeemably lost. Perhaps the world must now support a one state solution, the state of Palestine, a place where Arab, Jew, Muslim, Christian and secular people can live together in peace. God knows, Israel has the done the most awful job with the opportunity we entrusted it.
The children of Palestine are the bravest children the world has ever witnessed. They defy the soldiers of the zionist occupation regime. They stand between their brothers and sisters and pointed weapons. They protect their parents and grandparents. They complain, they argue, they remonstrate, they demand.
They speak truth to Israeli war criminals, spit in their faces and scream in anger. All too often, they die, in agony, for life, for Palestine.