The Israel-bashers (and a surprising defence)

I present you here with some media clips in which we hear the same old same old  – Israel-bashing from the usual suspects.

First, UN Watch brings us William Schabas, the biased official who was forced to step down as chairman of the UNHRC’s committee of inquiry into the Gaza War that bears his name, as he is interviewed by Stephen Sackur on BBC’s Hard Talk. Watch Schabas defending the UN’s record on Israel even while admitting that there is indeed bias. If you don’t want to wade through the entire half-hour for the video, skip to 12:30 minutes to watch the “juicy” bit:

I have little expectations from Schabas so I am neither shocked nor disappoitned. Perhaps I will admit to a very slight pleasant surprise that Schabas admitted the UN’s anti-Israel bias but the positive is wiped out by the rest of his remarks.

There is nothing positive and no redeeming qualities at all about the execrable British MP Gerald Kaufman, who is as big an antisemite as ever there was (despite being Jewish). He has a disgusting anti-Israel record, and a few days ago he went on a rant in Parliament that must have been embarrassing for anyone listening, as he accused Israel of “using the Holocaust” to justify murdering Palestinians!

Gerald Kaufman, the father of the House of Commons, made the claim in Parliament on Wednesday.

Sir Gerald, Manchester Gorton MP, said: “The Israelis use the Holocaust, they use the murder of six million Jews to justify their murder of thousands upon thousands of Palestinians.”

Speaking at a Westminster Hall debate on the UN’s inquiry into the Gaza war, he added: “The Israelis are murderers in Gaza. They have murdered thousands of people in Gaza. They have achieved nothing by doing so, except to make the lives of the people of Gaza total hell.”

Sir Gerald said the UK government’s decision to back a UN resolution, based on a report that condemned Israel’s actions in last summer’s Gaza war, was “not enough”.

A long-standing critic of Israel, in 2011 Sir Gerald, who is Jewish, was heavily criticised following a jibe he made in the Commons when fellow Jewish Labour MP Louise Ellman rose to speak.

He muttered: “Here we are, the Jews again.” It led to a furious row. He first said he could not remember making the comment, before saying he was sorry if he had caused offence.

Sussex Friends of Israel on Facebook bring us the video:



Thankfully our Sussex friends also bring us the counter-reaction from Hendon MP Matthew Offord:


“Sir” Gerald Kaufman should not be allowed to continue to hold the honoured position of “father of the House of Commons”.  After an antisemitic outburst such as that, not to mention his previous form, his place should be in the dock.

Since both above interlocutors are Jewish and yet hold clearly anti-Israel (if not antisemitic) positions, we ought not to be surprised than an Iranian professor has questioned the wisdom of seeking to annihilate Israel, criticising Iran for taking this task upon itself:

Sadegh Zibakalam, an outspoken professor at the University of Tehran who appears frequently in international news outlets such as Al Jazeera and the BBC, is known for having controversial debates with hardliners, even though at this time he has not been kicked out of the Iranian establishment.  In a recent lecture that was uploaded to Youtube, he discussed how Iran is not living up to its potential due to its ideologically-driven foreign policy: “In terms of technology and gas industry, we are far more advanced than countries like Afghanistan and many other countries.   We have refinery capabilities.  This would have created many jobs.   But the US did not let it happen.   They did not allow Turkmenistan’s gas to be refined in Iran.   This is the price we pay for chanting death to America on a daily basis or the other issue of death to Israel.”

“Dr. Jebreili labels me as timid, corrupted, a traitor, a thief, a liberal and the like,” he related. “Plus, he says that I have refrained from chanting death to Israel because I’m scared of doing so. Ladies and gentlemen, look, there are two fundamental questions. You claim from Iran’s ideology oriented foreign policy vantage point that the Islamic Republic of Iran has a responsibility to annihilate Israel. The first question I would like to place to the regime is: this responsibility to annihilate Israel as the core value of Iranian foreign policy, who has given this responsibility to the Islamic Republic of Iran? Have the Iranian people asked for Israel’s annihilation in a referendum? Has the Iranian Parliament legislated for Israel’s annihilation?”

At this point, someone in the audience chants “Death to Israel.” The audience responds by booing this person. Zibakalam then states, “No, I myself can respond. Ladies and gentlemen, the TV, radio, newspapers, parliament, and Friday prayers are at your service 24/7. We only have two hours here, an hour for me and an hour for Jebreili. You are so tyrannical and dictatorial that you even disrupt this debate.” The audience then cheers him on.

I can’t embed the video but here is a shorter version of it on YouTube:

It is such a refreshing change to hear these sensible words from an Iranian – not words of love or warmth, but simply looking at the reality and seeing the world as it is, something that our neighbours have a hard time doing.

And of course something that even certain Westerners, e.g. Messrs. Schabas and Kaufman, have difficulty with.

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3 Responses to The Israel-bashers (and a surprising defence)

  1. Brian Goldfarb says:

    Sadly, the term “father of the house” merely means the longest serving Member of Parliament. It happens because, whoever it is, is sworn in as a member of the House of Commons before anyone else elected in the same year/election, and is still a member of the House, with uninterrupted service.

    It carries no other prestige, no guarantee of getting to speak first in a debate or of being “recognised” by the Speaker first and certainly no extra income.

    It’s analogous to letting the oldest person present sit down first or order their meal first, and so forth. We are still at liberty to take absolutely no notice of them after that and, indeed, be rude about them behind their back safe in the knowledge that either they forget to switch their hearing aid on or are so self-important that they don’t notice that no-one is taking the kindest bit of notice of them!

    • Brian Goldfarb says:

      last line should read “taking the blindest bit of notice of them!”

      Wretched predictive text! Make the slightest typing error and look what the software does to you.

    • anneinpt says:

      Thanks for that explanation Brian – and for your typo-correction. (I reckoned it was predictive text, so embarrassing sometimes!)

      The man is just beneath contempt, and he sounds and looks rather doddery, even senile, to me. Seriously, not just because of his blatant and absurd anti-Israel bias. It’s just that his extremism seems to have become even more… well, extreme.

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