Tory peer Michael Howard emerged from the somnolent Lords chamber last week to scold Benjamin Netanyahu for Israel’s temerity in defending itself against the Gazan border invaders.
I am curious to know what Howard would have said if the same events occurred at a UK border. Israel is home to half of the world’s Jewry and is surrounded by those who actively seek its destruction. The IDF (Israel Defense Forces) was guarding the rights of Israeli Jews, Muslims and Christians not to be slaughtered by Islamists. Knesset members do not have the luxury of Westminster politicians to pontificate about the trajectory of bullets.
Howard finished his misjudged admonishment with the words: ‘Why did you have to kill them?’ With this he came perilously close to a blood libel by implying that Israelis kill without reason or cause. But the fact is that Hamas and Islamic Jihad, and not Israel, are the ones who kill with no regard for the safety of civilians. They also aim to slaughter Israelis of all races and religions. And Jews are most certainly at the top of the list for them. There is a multiplicity of evidence that shows this to be true, should Howard ever care to look.
If a Jew unfairly criticises Israel it carries more gravitas, rightly or wrongly, than one from outside the faith; if he or she holds a prominent position this is even more the case. So the gratuitous comments by the former Tory party leader are even more disturbing. And since May 14 there has been plenty of evidence to show that this was no protest but a ferocious border invasion by Islamists intent on killing Israelis and hoping to garner Israel more bad press.
Thanks to the actions of the IDF the former didn’t happen but given the responses of gullible Western media and politicians, the latter did. Melanie Phillips has made an excellent analysis of the West’s hypocrisy over this and how Hamas made good use of human shields, as is their wont.
Howard attempted to excuse the actions of Hamas. But the Arab world is far more clued up and is running out of patience with Hamas – other than Iran, their main backers. Memri, an organisation which translates material and media from the Arabic and Muslim world, has a very interesting report on this.
The Egyptians are increasingly irritated by the Islamists of Gaza. Egypt has a blockade against its Gazan border and often has skirmishes with Hamas and Isis operatives in the Sinai. Hamas is also building armaments in Gaza, financed by Western useful idiots and Iran, to sell to Isis.
On the same day as the border invasions Ismail Haniyeh, the Hamas leader, was summoned to Cairo where he was lambasted by the Egyptian Intelligence Service for Hamas’s ‘riot policy’ and use of human shields.
These are basic facts that anyone who has an ounce of knowledge about Israel and anti-Semitism knows. If Howard was unaware of them, why didn’t he do his research before rebuking Netanyahu? Or was he trying to prove his liberal credentials, given that it is trendy to hate Israel in that ideological group? Or does Netanyahu, a ‘strong man’ of the Middle East, offend his urbanity?
Whatever the reasons his words were disturbing, abhorrent and unwarranted. Anyone who berates Israel for defending itself against Islamists is at best showing great obtuseness and, at worst, is shilling for Islamic fundamentalists. Hamas and Islamic Jihad are cut from the same cloth as those fanatics who blow up little girls attending concerts in Manchester or hack to death soldiers like Lee Rigby on our streets. All want the destruction of the West and of Israel.
I suggest that in future Michael Howard does his research prior to speaking so unwisely. Otherwise he risks causing further irreparable harm to the only country which would offer him sanctuary because he is a Jew.