Tory policy is now for a free movement of people?

UK Prime Minister David Cameron:

“The situation in Gaza has to change.  Humanitarian goods and people must flow in both directions. Gaza cannot and must not be allowed to remain a prison camp.”

Is David Cameron in favour of the free flow of goods and people from Gaza only into Israel or is he also in favour of a free flow of goods and people from Gaza into the UK?

Is he also in favour of a free flow of goods and people from Afghanistan into the UK or from Iraq into the UK?

The Guardian reports his words complete with Livingstone Formulation:

Hansard, the House of Commons’ official record, shows Cameron said on 28 June: “Everybody knows that we are not going to sort out the problem of the Middle East peace process while there is, effectively, a giant open prison in Gaza.”

His choice of the words “prison camp” instead of “open prison” is likely to be seized upon.

The Guardian does not say who is likely to “seize upon” the difference between “open prison” and “prison camp”.  The clear inference though is that Jews or the “Israel lobby” will “seize upon” the difference, saying that “prison camp” has connotations of “concentration camp” which “open prison” does not have.  The inference, therefore, is that Jews or the “Israel lobby” will say that Cameron is using an antisemitic Holocaust analogy, but the term “seized upon” implies that this accusation would be made in bad faith.

The article in the Guardian does not report Cameron’s protest against the British forces who have killed civilians in Afghanistan and in Iraq, nor does it report Cameron’s criticism of Erdogan’s Turkish regime’s human rights abuses against Kurdish civilians.  But both men seemed to agree over Israel.

17 Responses to “Tory policy is now for a free movement of people?”

  1. modernityblog Says:

    I think it is very clear that Cameron is a very minor politician promoted above his pay grade and it is showing, particularly when he’s sucking up to the Turkish Prime Minster.

    I doubt Cameron reminded his hosts of their utterly appalling human rights record or the recent killing of over 100 Kurds by the Turkish military.

  2. T. Esterhase Says:

    Aside from the question of consistency, there is the question of… errr.. what is he on about?

    “Humanitarian goods and people must flow in both directions.”

    David Cameron wants humanitarian goods to flow from Israel into Gaza and from Gaza into Israel? He wants Israelis to “flow into” Gaza and he wants Palestinians to “flow into” Israel?

    What is he talking about?

  3. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    It’s possibly even more interesting that The Guardian omits Cameron’s words _before_ the “open prison” bit. These are ” My hon. Friend is right. There were discussions about what could be done, such as having international bodies at the various crossing points to try to examine what is being brought in. The change that has taken place is encouraging on one level because instead of effectively banning everything, Israel has listed those things that it will not allow in, which should lead to increased humanitarian capacity in Gaza.” [Then comes the open prison bit: “That has a very long way to go, and everybody knows that we are not going to sort out the problem of the middle east peace process while there is, effectively, a giant open prison in Gaza.”

    I suggest that a rather different picture emerges, even if one might (or might not) want to argue about the “open prison” bit.

    Now, I wonder why The Guardian, blessed liberal organ that it is, fails to mention _that_ bit?

  4. zkharya Says:

    ‘His choice of the words “prison camp” instead of “open prison” is likely to be seized upon.’

    Yes. The Guardian. Q.E.D. It doesn’t have the guts to attribute its own exegesis to itself.

  5. zkharya Says:

    * Yes. BY The Guardian

  6. zkharya Says:

    ‘The inference, therefore’

    You mean ‘implication’, no?

  7. Absolute Observer Says:

    I find the Guardian’s innuendo interesting.

    Apparently, there are unnamed dark forces waiting to “seize upon” any slip made those who “dare” speak out against Israel (in this case the British PM – we all nervously await his fate at such an act of obvious political suicide).

    I am not sure what is in the water at the Guardian, but the belief in some supernumery power seems to be affecting a fair few of their journaliists and book reviewers,

    “The closing paragraph of a book review in the Guardian (3 July 2010) by one of its literary critics, Nicholas Lezard:

    ‘Well, I know what’s going to happen now. I and the blameless Review section of this newspaper will be denounced as either Hamas stooges, antisemites, or both. It would appear that unimpeachably impartial reporting from this miserable part of the world is a categorical impossibility. (I’ve seen pro-Israel websites which maintain that the residents of Gaza actually have it pretty peachy.) But whichever way you lean, this is a very important book indeed.”

    Again, who or what it is that will do the denouncing remains shrouded in mystery (other, that is, than to the initiated for whom that which dare not speak its name, need not speak its name to be clearly and unequivocally understood).

    The Guardian knows who they are talking about; the anti-zionists know who are the Guardian are talking about, liberals know know who are the Guardian are talking about, the right know who are the Guardian are talking about.

    But should someone, like Engage, say out loud that they know exactly what the Guardian means, I can guarantee that they will be identified as those who are “seizing upon” words in bad faith, not because of the antisemitism underlying it, but to defend Israel’s seige of Gaza. And, in this way, the denial- and espousal – of antisemitism will become identified as a badge of radicalism (See, for example, Oliver Stone’s pre-apology comments as an example of such radicalism.)

    Anyway, time for me to slip back into the shadows and work out precisely what fate awaits David Cameron (by the way, Prague is really nice this time of year).

  8. Absolute Observer Says:

    Under the military overtones of “PM attacked by Israel for Gaza “prison camp” line and the opening paragrpah that the PM “drew fire at home and in Israel for remarks……..”, we read this sentence toward the end of the two full column article,
    “The Israeli government appeared [sic] last night to be playing down the incident”.

    So, who is this “Israel” and those “at home” attacking the PM? Who are those shadowy who would “seize upon” Cameron’s depiction of Gaza as a “prison camp”?

    The Guardian article quotes the chair of the Conservative Friends of Israel (who are evidently not as powerful as people fantasise about (See Dispatches, for example)), a blogger and a former Israeli cabinet minister who agrees with the statement but disagrees as to the question of responsibilty by mentioning Hamas.

    If the Guardian devotes so many column inches to this story, one can only wonder how many trees will be needed when a real story appears in the world.

    • Thomas Venner Says:

      You’ve got to understand, though, that Israel is attacking him and playing down the incident at the same time. They’re attacking him by largely ignoring the whole incident. It’s how those nefarious Zionists work, you see.

      Or at least it is according to Guardian logic.

  9. Adam Says:

    Posing the idea that your first question is rhetorical *cough* I would like to suggest that David Cameron doesn’t really care about goods flowing from Gaza, Afghanistan or Iraq into the UK or Israel.

    Call me cynical but he has also just been to the USA, has this maybe, possibly, even slightly affected what he has said?

    “I believe that it is just wrong to say that Turkey can guard the camp but not sit in the tent.” [Telling you all you need to know really…]

    He goes on [and it is important] to mention, “care about trade and security”- two terms he specifically mentions in context to Turkey joining the EU. But considering he is talking about the Gaza situation and the prospect of Turkey joining the EU in the same speech his use of the loaded terms mentioned above certainly confuses the situation and makes it harder to interpret what Tory policy on both issues actually are- requiring Downing Street to later clarify his comments.

    Perhaps this is intention?

    If you then consider how France, Germany and indeed Greeks and Greek Cypriots have interpretated the press conference you could be forgiven for thinking that the UK’s relationship with other European nations has not been improved from these comments. Referring to former French President General Charles de Gaulle’s efforts to block British membership of the EU’s predecessor, the European Economic Community, in the 1960s, Mr Cameron said in his speech: “We know what it’s like to be shut out of the club. But we also know that these things can change. Could the cynic be forgiven for thinking that this is what he wants?

    Undermining and eroding the UK’s role with other European nations- perhaps giving a real insight into Tory policy, while also reinforcing the UK’s role as “junior partner” to the US re. Iraq, Afghanistan, NATO, Iran etc. etc. all in a couple of hours. Very impressive.

    For a while, with the attack on Iraq, the creation of an auitomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq, US support for Georgia, and the rebuffing of Turkey’s attempts to join the EU, there was a danger that Turkey would be driven away from the West. Now, I clearly see an attempt from the administrations in the UK and US to bring Turkey ‘into the tent’ so to speak.

    I can’t see Turkey being cast into the wilderness anytime soon, thus expect some more articles from the Guardian dealing with similar rhetoric from Cameron very soon.

    I thought yesterday the Union Jack hanging upside down behind Cameron [which I’m sure takes on a greater significant meaning] or the comments on the Daily Mail [sorry] message boards were the funniest thing arising from this affair but I quote the first paragraph from an article by Simon Tisdall, Assitant Editor of The Guardian to highlight the lunacy of what has been written about David Cameron’s comments, complete with YouTube link.

    ‘David Cameron jumped into the ever-sensitive politics of the Middle East with both boots flying today, determined to call a spade a bloody shovel and Gaza a “prison camp” that shamed all those, principally Israel, responsible for its enduring misery. Cameron’s lunge was the diplomatic equivalent of Nigel de Jong’s chest-high tackle of Xabi Alonso in the World Cup final. From Israel’s perspective, he too was lucky not to be sent off.’

    So Israel is the ref now? It can send off UK politicians?

  10. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    Further to my comment above (third one down), this morning my wife asked me what I thought of Cameron’s comment about Gaza as an open prison, as reported by the BBC Radio 4 news at 8.00 am. When I repeated the two sentences that precede the one about “prison”, she acknowledged that these made a big difference to the meaning to be attributed to Cameron.

    Needless to say, the BBC had ommitted these from their report.

    Why are we not surprised?

  11. steve Says:

    Has one of you been to the occupied Palestinian territories? Has one of you spent time at a checkpoint, such as are peppered across the landscape historically belonging to the Muslims and Christians — yes, Christians — of the Holy Land (land regarded as the birthplace of Christiantiy, aswell as Judaism and Islam)? Has one of you witnessed mere-yet-to-shave Israeli soldiers (who could be American citizens, British, Czech, Russian, you name it) slouching comfy in their bullet-proof-glass encased station, ordering their elders, men more dignified,honorable and capable of real work, to tilt their permit papers this way or that, to put their damned fingers and thumb down properly on the print scanner, to shut up and wait…? Has any of you been to the Jericho crossing into Jordan, where such wet-behind-the-ears greenhorns with WMDs cradled in their Abraham’s-Beloved-Son arms compel literally thousands of Palestinians to wait in the blazing desert sun for hours, for no security-related or otherwise justifiable reason, for hours and hours, simply because they have the power and authority under israeli military orders to do so?

    All your mutually congratulatory, or mutually competitive, self-righteous hemming and hawing over some journalists’ predicting imminent smackdowns from the predominant narrative Priests of Zionist EretzYisrael is really beside the point. It is talking heads, missing their hearts for the most part, as well as the testicular fortitude to honestly exercise the ethical muscle required to demand integrity on the part of our governments in upholding international treaties and laws to which they are high contracting parties, to wit: enforcing law against the rogue state of israel which is with impunity, to date, perpetrating not only slaughters and disembowelment of an entire civilized people, the Palestinians, while talking heads like yourselves split hairs and slap eachother on the back harharhar that’s a good one mate let’s tip a jar together if you win the bet — over what fer chrissakes — is plain moronic (even if verbally dexterous) narcissism. look in the mirror — would you get on a flotilla for human rights if it was Palestinians holding all the F16s, Apache choppers, HELLFIRE missiles, Merkava tanks, apartheid-wall sniper towers, warships driving jewish fishermen from their traditional and legal, business and sustenance fishing waters, and Palestinians shooting at jewish farmers to prevent their harvesting their crops? if you’re going to have a blog for the benefit of truth or human justice, then keep your focus on the issue, which is the immoral criminal occupation of Palestine over the past 4 decades become progressively darker humiliation for entire people of Palestine as their lands get taken — under cover of night’s darkness and daylight’s “peace process” gamesmanship by “quartet” conductors, and by arrogant fundamentalist thieving Jews (o my god the guy said Jew in the same phrase as using a word for a miscreant action, bloody bloke must be a jewhatin’ throwback to nazism, unlike the colonialist throwbacks hammering “Israel” onto the map of the Palestinian people) and they get driven by fancy administrative laws, military orders, and smug international indifference like your chattycathyisms here. Wake up and smell the rotting corpses, product premiere of just such complacent yammering as yer comfycozy selves seem to think constitutes genuine cultural criticism and holding pols in genuine fact accountable….

    • T. Esterhase Says:

      Steve, the point being made here is simple, is it not?

      David Cameron, the Tory Prime Minister, is calling for a free movement of people in and out of Gaza.

      David Cameron himself is responsible for occupying troops in Iraq and in Afghanistan – troops who are responsible for the accidental killing of civilians and who are responsible for human rights abuses.

      Cameron makes this call in the presence of Tayip Erdogan, the Prime Minister of Turkey, who is responsible for the occupation of Kurdiastan and for the accidental killing of civilians there and for human rights abuses there.

      The question then, is why these two right wing politicians call for something in Gaza which they do not call for in their own occupied territories. Why do they blame Israel when they do not blame themselves.

      Steve, you don’t address the point.

      The point is why the politicians, and also why you, Steve, seem to be so much more concerned about the victims of “thieving Jews” than you are about the victims of imperialist Brits or nationalist Turks.

      Also, what will the effect if activists like you, Steve, continue to employ antisemitic language when you talk about Israel? Presumably you’re not an antisemite, are you Steve? So why do you think it is safe to teach activists to employ antisemitic language?

      • Bill Says:

        The point is why the politicians, and also why you, Steve, seem to be so much more concerned about the victims of “thieving Jews” than you are about the victims of imperialist Brits or nationalist Turks.

        Also, what will the effect if activists like you, Steve, continue to employ antisemitic language when you talk about Israel? Presumably you’re not an antisemite, are you Steve? So why do you think it is safe to teach activists to employ antisemitic language?

        The fastest way to make an antisemite is to call somone one. But when they use the above language, combined with TE’s presentation of his double standard, I think we are beyond saying that he’s just “internalizing” his prejudice against Jews, we’re not the one crossing that Rubicon, he is. He’d likely never say, nor get away, with similar language against any other group (blacks, women, asians, gypsies, you name it). And he oughtn’t with that particular group.

      • Bill Says:

        …hammering “Israel” onto the map of the Palestinian people)

        and wasn’t “Israel” gouged off the map of the same region by the Romans or did that act never happen because Israel was never there? Double standards and special pleading galore.

  12. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    What an interesting person Steve is. He presents, among much else, the following “the rogue state of israel which is with impunity, to date, perpetrating not only slaughters and disembowelment of an entire civilized people, the Palestinians”.

    Let’s deconstruct this: “the rogue state of israel”. This is the state which was brought into existence by a UN Resolution in 1947, and as such, just like all other sovereign states, has the right to defend its territorial integrity and its people by all appropriate means. Which is what it did in 1947 and 48 and again in 1967. But perhaps Steve has a different interpretation and different evidence to the rest of the world. In which case, let’s hear it.

    It is interesting to note that Steve doesn’t mention any other states that might be considered as rogue, like Sudan, or Zimbabwe, or Iran (for its treatment of protestors or trade unionists within its borders). To do so might force him to make reasoned comparisons, and that would never do when discussing Israel.

    Then we have this: “which is with impunity, to date, perpetrating not only slaughters and disembowelment of an entire civilized people, the Palestinians.” Let’s not bother to educate Steve with the meaning of impunity; suffice it to say, he knows and writes about it, he presumably believes that Cameron knows about and is commenting on this, so any Israeli action is hardly with impunity. Actually, he clearly just like the sound of the word, but has no understanding of the term. Now, Sudanese government activities in Darfur, _that’s_ acting with impunity.

    More importantly, he asserts (with startling unoriginality) that Israeli forces are “perpetrating not only slaughters and disembowelment of an entire civilized people, the Palestinians.” He produces absolutely no evidence for this, mainly because there isn’t any. There are no mass graves on the West Bank; there are no deaths from malnutrition and starvation, let alone the diseases associated with starvation, in Gaza. So don’t give us false analogies with the Warsaw Ghetto.

    Of course, to acknowledge this (given the lack of evidence) would deprive Steve of his righteous indignation and force him to actually _debate_ with those who hold other views of the situation. His intemperate language conceals (he hopes, or perhaps does not care) his closed-minded view of the world which will admit no other view. I predict that any evidence presented to him in contradiction of his weltanscaung would be ignored or dismissed.

    It certainly wouldn’t be engaged with (absolutely no pun intended).

    Even then, he gets things egregiously wrong: “land regarded as the birthplace of Christiantiy, aswell as Judaism and Islam)?” Funny that, everyone else, including Moslems, have always believed that the Arabian peninsula was the birthplace of Islam. However, the rest of the world must be wrong, because Steve says so.

    By the way, Steve, just because you might (we have only your word that it might be so) have witnessed activities at checkpoints on the West Bank neither makes you a reliable witness nor a hero. And your words certainly aren’t evidence. Any more than rambling complaints from me about how long I’ve waited in line at JFK for the Homeland Security people to get their act together. And we Brits are their allies, for goodness sake! How do they treat their presumed enemies?

    I will leave to others such as Toby and Bill your intemperate use of antisemitic tropes.

  13. Brian Robinson Says:

    I’ve only just seen Steve’s diatribe. To answer your question, Steve, yes, I have been to the oPt and spent time (several times in fact) at checkpoints. I have seen IDF soldiers (even the youngest males were old enough to have been shaving for at least a few years) at close quarters. What struck me most about them is how scared so many of them looked, even when the power was so apparently theirs, gun at the ready.

    On one occasion I was lucky enough to be able to experience something beyond the seeming arrogance and blustering obduracy of “this is the rule, you can’t go there”. It was an area of Hebron sealed off for the day. We were a group of medics. Why can’t we just go through this street to get to our guide’s home? It has some places of great historical interest, and an excellent view of Hebron and environs. Please?

    We engaged a soldier in conversation. By chance one of our number had a grandparent who hailed (pre-Holocaust of course) from Odessa — and so did the soldier (although in his case it was probably a great-grandparent, but I’m not sure of that). The Russell/Einstein quote comes to mind (again) as I recall what began to happen to that soldier: Remember your humanity, and forget the rest.

    And he let us through — “to the end of the street, but no further — and no photographs”. This guy’s job (and the lives of others depended on his doing it properly) was not one I would have wanted to do. But he’s the sort of person I could well imagine deciding to take the decision not to serve in “the territories”, to become a refusenik, perhaps join Combatants for Peace.

    When with a different group touring China we were unceremoniously bundled out of Tiananmen Square by unsmiling, granite-faced armed officers as they closed the square (no reason given) you wouldn’t have been courageous to argue or even ask about their families, you’d have been a darn fool.

    Yes, life for Palestinians as they wait at checkpoints is humiliating (and often injurious to health in the case of the sick and pregnant), the hospitals we visited were short of medicines, some instruments couldn’t be repaired, staff were often late because of checkpoint delays (sickness amongst nurses was particularly high due to stress).

    In some of the outlying villages the vagaries of electricity supply meant that certain medicines requiring refrigeration could not be stored. Where only a few miles away settlers, illegally under international law, enjoy watered gardens and the rest of it …

    But I could have seen all this, and much worse besides, in any one of several dozen places around this troubled world. What gets me is the disparity in the way such places are talked about (or more often not talked about) compared to how Israel is talked about. And your contribution is in its own way a quite excellent textbook example of the genre.

    Curiously enough I was doing some (more) research the other day on the writings and sayings of the blessed sage of Massachusetts (he who dare not be gainsaid), and I came across a useful sentence. Yes, Chomsky said, “We have to distinguish always in tactical judgments between what you might call ‘feel good’ tactics and ‘do good’ tactics”.

    I take the liberty, Steve, of suggesting a little introspection. It’s not the former class of tactics I’m thinking of here (I think you’re probably OK on that one, don’t you agree), it’s the latter class. If you really believe what you think you believe, you’ll realise, I hope, that your approach helps no-one, least of all Palestinians.


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