My adoptive mother said that the air raid sirens never failed to wake me up, and it took me decades to stop biting my nails, which I ascribed to the loss of my blood mother’s breast when I was an infant. I determined that when I was laid out for burial, my nails would be looking good, which they will. However, many infants in Israel, and far more in Gaza, will never have the great adventure of life that I have had, and this witness is my testament to their sacrifice.
As in all wars, the enemy is considered evil, by both combatants, and neither side is able or willing to recognise their culpability. Many voices, like mine, are raised in protest, but national elites have the administrative resources and the media to deceive their populations. The Iraq war exemplifies this, it is widely considered a disaster, justified by a false prospectus, and the death of the man who revealed that, the UK’s foremost weapons inspector, David Kelly, was declared to be suicide, but that was greatly disputed.
Now, however, fake news is much more disturbing, the Pope’s puffer coat went viral, and Israel is a world leader in hacking technology, but at a cost. Power begets arrogance, and that arrogance is nourished by military might, that has subdued and contained the Palestinian people for decades. President Obama thought Benjamin Netanyahu would seek power at any cost, and so it has proved, in spades. There is ample evidence to illustrate that Netanyahu never supported an independent state of Palestine, and that he saw Hamas to be useful in both dividing the Palestinian leadership, and presenting an insoluble political barrier to Palestinian independence. He was not careful about his wish list.
However, Netanyahu not only used ‘divide and rule’ in Palestine, he divided his own people into those worthy of defence and those not. The Kibbutzims that Hamas attacked were communal societies, inclined towards socialism and peace activism, and many were not supporters of Netanyahu. He therefore diverted the Israeli defence forces to the West Bank and settler outposts to prioritise his voters and allies.
The phrase ‘the worm will turn’ is centuries old, and extreme domestic abuse is recognised as a mitigating factor in sentencing for murder. The Arab people can be volatile, their religious fervour finds them susceptible to false doctrine, and like all peoples they do not appreciate unending abuse.
What Hamas did on October 7 was inexcusable, but almost predictable, given the recent increased provocations by Israel. Moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a typical Trumpian tantrum, increased Jewish worship in the Al-Asqa mosque, the third most holy Muslim place of worship, unending expansion of settlement building, recently accelerated by the Israeli coalition government. A government that a former prime minister, Ehud Olmert, has declared contains ‘terrorist’ religious extremists. All this, and more, encompassed by unending occupation of the West bank, and regular military incursions of Gaza.
The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) charter has an article that states it is antisemitic ‘to hold Jews collectively responsible for the actions of Israel’. That article is widely considered to inhibit criticism of Israeli policy, even by some on the IHRA committee, but that article continues to cow the global media, particularly in the UK, creating a media vacuum of Palestinian suffering, and of the Israeli creation of the biggest open prison in the world, two million people in a minuscule land mass. What I am saying could cause my expulsion from the Labour party, but I would consider it a badge of honour to be in the company of so many principled ex-members. To deny that the media had no bearing upon Labour’s political beating over antisemitism is quite simply cowardice. The Tory press are like the Swansea West Conservative candidate in the 1987 General Election, Nigel Evans, when his party circulated a leaflet saying that Labour was the party ‘that would raise the white flag over Whitehall’. I replied in the Swansea Echo that such a slur was a bit rich, coming from the party that historically started wars and then enlisted the working class to fight them. There was no reply, and the Conservatives lost.
Many Tories see the hoi polloi as political and economic pawns, and do not credit the common people with virtuous empathy. However, because the lower classes have historically suffered socially and economically, they are angered by similar oppression of others. The Tory media portrayed that anger as a Labour party riddled with antisemitism, and ignored the injustice that provoked that anger.
After WWII an upper class poet and novelist, Sir Stephen Spender, described a dinner party wherein a British ambassador to an east European country recounted how he had blocked the application of a prominent Jew to the golf club. There were no British, pre-war, socialist ambassadors, in an establishment riddled with antisemitism, as illustrated in the battle of Cable street when about 6,000 policemen tried unsuccessfully to facilitate Oswald Mosley’s Blackshirt march into Jewish East London. The hoi polloi sent them packing, policemen and Blackshirts.
To those who would accuse me of antisemitism, I would say that I am in good company, the very best, none other than my Lord Jesus Christ, who condemned the Pharisees and Sadducees for abusing their theocratic power. Like Him, I would call Netanyahu and the Tory media “A generation of vipers” and “Whited sepulchres” that are directly responsible for the slaughter of innocents in both Israel and Palestine.