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Sir Gerald Kaufman’s speech in the British House of Commons, 15 January 2009

Sir Gerald Kaufman’s speech in the British House of Commons, 15 January 2009

Sir Gerald Kaufman (Manchester, Gorton) (Lab): I was brought up as an
orthodox Jew and a Zionist.  On a shelf in our kitchen, there was a tin box
for the Jewish National Fund, into which we put coins to help the pioneers
building a Jewish presence in Palestine.

I first went to Israel in 1961 and I have been there since more times than
I can count.  I had family in Israel and have friends in Israel.  One of
them fought in the wars of 1956, 1967 and 1973 and was wounded in two of
them.  The tie clip that I am wearing is made from a campaign decoration
awarded to him, which he presented to me.

I have known most of the Prime Ministers of Israel, starting with the
founding Prime Minister David Ben-GurionGolda Meir was my friend, as was
Yigal Allon, Deputy Prime Minister, who, as a general, won the Negev for
Israel in the 1948 war of independence.

My parents came to Britain as refugees from Poland.  Most of their families
were subsequently murdered by the Nazis in the holocaust.  My grandmother
was ill in bed when the Nazis came to her home town of Staszow.  A German
soldier shot her dead in her bed.

My grandmother did not die to provide cover for Israeli soldiers murdering
Palestinian grandmothers in Gaza.  The current Israeli Government
ruthlessly and cynically exploit the continuing guilt among gentiles over
the slaughter of Jews in the holocaust as justification for their murder of
Palestinians.  The implication is that Jewish lives are precious, but the
lives of Palestinians do not count.

On Sky News a few days ago, the spokeswoman for the Israeli army, Major
Leibovich, was asked about the Israeli killing of, at that time, 800
Palestinians-the total is now 1,000.  She replied instantly that

“500 of them were militants.”

That was the reply of a Nazi.  I suppose that the Jews fighting for their
lives in the Warsaw ghetto could have been dismissed as militants.

The Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni asserts that her Government will
have no dealings with Hamas, because they are terrorists.  Tzipi Livni’s
father was Eitan Livni, chief operations officer of the terrorist Irgun
Zvai Leumi, who organised the blowing-up of the King David hotel in
Jerusalem, in which 91 victims were killed, including four Jews.

Israel was born out of Jewish terrorism.  Jewish terrorists hanged two
British sergeants and booby-trapped their corpses.  Irgun, together with the
terrorist Stern gang, massacred 254 Palestinians in 1948 in the village of
Deir Yassin.  Today, the current Israeli Government indicate that they would
be willing, in circumstances acceptable to them, to negotiate with the
Palestinian President Abbas of Fatah.  It is too late for that.  They could
have negotiated with Fatah’s previous leader, Yasser Arafat, who was a
friend of mine.  Instead, they besieged him in a bunker in Ramallah, where I
visited him.  Because of the failings of Fatah since Arafat’s death, Hamas
won the Palestinian election in 2006. Hamas is a deeply nasty organisation,
but it was democratically elected, and it is the only game in town.  The
boycotting of Hamas, including by our Government, has been a culpable error,
from which dreadful consequences have followed.

The great Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban, with whom I campaigned for
peace on many platforms, said:

“You make peace by talking to your enemies.”

However many Palestinians the Israelis murder in Gaza, they cannot solve
this existential problem by military means.  Whenever and however the
fighting ends, there will still be 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza and 2.5
million more on the west bank.  They are treated like dirt by the Israelis,
with hundreds of road blocks and with the ghastly denizens of the illegal
Jewish settlements harassing them as well.  The time will come, not so long
from now, when they will outnumber the Jewish population in Israel.

It is time for our Government to make clear to the Israeli Government that
their conduct and policies are unacceptable, and to impose a total arms ban
on Israel.  It is time for peace, but real peace, not the solution by
conquest which is the Israelis’ real goal but which it is impossible for
them to achieve.  They are not simply war criminals; they are fools.


January 19, 2009 Posted by | Gaza | Comments Off on Sir Gerald Kaufman’s speech in the British House of Commons, 15 January 2009

new from neve gordon

January 19, 2009 Posted by | Gaza | Comments Off on new from neve gordon


>Propaganda, public opinion and foreign policy¹
>Date:   20th June 2009
>Venue:  Khalili Lecture Theatre, School of Oriental & African Studies (SOAS),
>         University of London, Thornhaugh Street, London WC1H 0XG
>         (Nearest Tube Station: Russell Square & Tottenham Court Road)
>This conference gathers academics, journalists, researchers, policy makers
>and civil society groups to discuss the coverage of the war on Gaza by
>various international news media organisations and its implications on
>public opinion and foreign policy.
>Covering the Arab-Israeli conflict remains one of the hot issues on the
>international level. The issue has generated more attention as well as
>complaints about media coverage than conflicts in other parts of the
>world. The region has one of the highest concentrations of journalists in
>the world, reflecting the intense worldwide interest in the conflict.
>There are over 350 foreign news organizations based in Jerusalem alone,
>employing some 800 reporters, cameramen and technicians
>But how have they been covering the on-going war on Palestinians? The
>Israeli government have placed a tight control on information coming out
>of Gaza. Their propaganda machine has been pumping one-sided version to
>news gatherers about the human catastrophe inflicted on the Palestinians.
>In a further attempt to censor journalists who managed to be in the area
>before the invasion, the Israeli army bombarded the media centre which
>hosts various news organizations Gaza.
>Hence this conference aims to unpack the media management of this war by
>the different players. It looks at the stance Western media have taken in
>covering the conflict as compared to the Arab media? Have broadcasters and
>the press learnt the lessons from the Iraq conflict? What alternative the
>internet has been providing with regard to this war? What alternative news
>come from the Palestinian resistance groups in Palestine and beyond about
>what is happening on the ground? How much does the media coverage resonate
>into public opinion formation and, hence help influence policymakers’
>actions and decisions? What should be the role of the media vis-à-vis the
>conflict? And what could be the future prospects of the current situation
>in light of the global media and communication developments?
>Conference themes:
>-       History of the conflict: Palestine the land and the people before and
>after the British Mandate
>-       Zionism, Jewish settlements, the
>emergence of the state of Israel (1948)
>and the roots of the conflict
>-       Mediating the conflict: Western media and public opinion
>-       Arab media and the portrayal of the on-going occupation
>-       Arab VS Western media: are we watching the same war?
>-       Israeli media management, can the
>international pubic opinion be fooled
>in the age of the internet?
>-       Palestinian and Arab Diaspora and the mediation of the conflict?
>-       Blogging, YouTube, social forums, public reported news, what role have
>such platforms been playing?
>-       Resistance/Citizen journalism and the mediation of the Palestinian
>-       Media coverage and policy making in the West: What implications?
>-       Strategies and future prospects for the region
>Call for submissions:
>We encourage scholars, researchers, journalists and civil society groups
>from across the world and with different disciplinary backgrounds to
>participate in this timely and unique conference. Abstracts of no more
>than 500 words should be submitted by the 15 March 2009. Papers should
>reflect one or more of the conference themes mentioned above. Particularly
>welcome are papers based on empirical work and a clear research method
>(s). Deadline for full papers is 15th May 2009.
>Please send all submissions and enquiries to Khalil Agha (Conference
>Coordinator) on: e-mail:; Tel: +44 (0) 78998 78485

January 19, 2009 Posted by | Gaza | Comments Off on MEDIA COVERAGE OF THE WAR ON GAZA