UK Prime Minister Theresa May renews vow of servility to Israel
Nureddin Sabir, Editor, Redress Information & Analysis, writes:
Two weeks to the day after the deputy leader of Britain’s Labour Party, Tom Watson, assured Zionist lobbyists of his complete and unconditional subservience to Israel, his prime minister, Theresa May, has gone even further.
Staunchly pro-Balfour Declaration
Addressing more than 800 guests of the Zionist lobby group, Conservative Friends of Israel (CFI), she delivered what the Israeli news website Ynet described as “a staunchly pro-Israel speech… during which she declared her government’s unwavering support for Israel” and “proclaimed her unequivocal opposition to boycotts” of the apartheid state.
Rather than apologise for the Balfour Declaration of 1917, which began the still-ongoing colonisation of Palestine and sowed the seeds of an endless nightmare for the Palestinian people, she hailed it as “one of the most important letters in history”.
According to Ynet, Mrs May stated her belief that the so-called two-state solution “offered the only plausible blueprint for a peaceful resolution to the ongoing conflict with the Palestinians”.
However, as with Mr Watson she forgot to mention the Jewish colonies in the West Bank – illegal under international law – which rule out any possibility that a viable and secure Palestinian state could be set up in the occupied territory.
Since the Israeli aggression of 1967, Israel has build more than 230 Jewish colonies in the occupied Palestinian territories, housing more than 550,000 Jewish colonists at the cost of approximately USD 30 billion, making it impossible to set up a secure and viable Palestinian state in the territory – itself only 22 per cent of Palestine before the ethnic cleansing and colonisation of 1948.
Mrs May lauded Israel as “a thriving democracy, a beacon of tolerance, an engine of enterprise and an example to the rest of the world for overcoming adversity and defying disadvantages”. She said that “it is only when you walk through Jerusalem or Tel Aviv that you see a country where people of all religions and sexualities are free and equal in the eyes of the law”.
Unsurprisingly, she forgot to mention a few facts. As the journalist Jonathan Cook reminds us,
- Israel has nationalised 93 per cent of Palestinian-owned land in the country so that Jewish citizens can exclude Palestinian Arab citizens;
- Israel operates vetting committees, enshrined in law, in hundreds of rural communities precisely to prevent Palestinian Arabs from living in these communities;
- Israel has separate citizenship laws – the Law of Return (1950) and the Citizenship Law (1952) – based on ethnic belonging;
- Israel has designed its citizenship laws to confer rights on Jews who are not actually yet citizens or present in the state, privileging them over Palestinian Arabs who do have citizenship and are present in the state;
- Israel has more than 55 laws that explicitly discriminate based on which ethnic group a citizen belongs to;
- Israel defers some of what should be its sovereign powers to extra-territorial bodies – the Jewish Agency and the Jewish National Fund – whose charters obligate them to discriminate based on ethnic belonging;
- Israel denies its citizens access to any civil institutions on personal status matters such as marriage, divorce and burial, requiring all citizens to submit to the whims and prejudices of religious leaders; and
- Israel does not recognize its own nationality, and makes it possible to join the dominant national group (Jews) or to immigrate only through conversion.
Mrs May used the occasion to announce that the UK is formally adopting a definition of anti-Semitism agreed on earlier in 2016 by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA). As Ben White states in the Independent,
That particular definition, drafted with the help of pro-Israel advocacy groups, was the subject of serious critique for its conflation of genuine anti-Semitic bigotry on the one hand, and criticism of or opposition to Zionism and the state of Israel on the other.
It is that definition which has now been resuscitated, and endorsed by a Tory government that has already sought to intimidate Palestine solidarity activism and undermine civil society boycotts.
Not just the Tory government, one hastens to add, but the opposition Labour Party too which, with the exception of its leader, Jeremy Corbyn, is, as we saw with the fawning flunky Mr Watson just two weeks ago, is hell-bent on being at least as Zionist as the most rabid of Israel’s colonists.