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  Opinion   Columnists  28 Oct 2023  Farrukh Dhondy | How Israel’s war against Hamas is roiling politics in Britain

Farrukh Dhondy | How Israel’s war against Hamas is roiling politics in Britain

In his words: "I am just a professional writer, which means I don't do blogs and try and get money for whatever I write."
Published : Oct 28, 2023, 12:36 am IST
Updated : Oct 28, 2023, 12:36 am IST

The conflict in Israel-Palestine has divided the world, not only through political allegiances and points of view, but morally, religiously.

The Israeli army on the evening of October 27 carried out bombings of
 The Israeli army on the evening of October 27 carried out bombings of "unprecedented" intensity since the start of the war in the north of the Gaza Strip, particularly in Gaza City, according to images from AFP and the Hamas movement. (Photo by AFP)

O Bachchoo are we mere machines

That think and feel and multiply --

Or are we God’s people whose souls

Are accountable when we die?

But since we invented machines

The metaphor is bound to fail

Comparing these to human beings

Is a snake swallowing its tail.

From Kadak Histhry, by Bachchoo


Yes, the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, the bombings of civilians and the war crimes of Vladimir Putin and gang -- not to mention the cannon fodder they have made of their own young and old men -- compelled the world to take political sides. Yes, the sides were sometimes not very clear. Some of those who supported Russia’s attempt to annex Ukrainian territory insisted that it was preventing Nato from attacking Russia. Others, though sympathetic to the Ukrainian civilians criminally bombed by Russian missiles, still maintained that America was responsible for Russia’s actions… und so weiter!

The conflict in Israel-Palestine has divided the world, not only through political allegiances and points of view, but morally, religiously and with interpretations of history and even pre-history as considerations.

The stances of Joe Biden and the United States were predictable. They voiced absolute support for Israel after Hamas launched its murderous attack across the Gaza borders, killed a few hundred people and took perhaps 140 hostages. The high command of Hamas undoubtedly knew that the Israeli government of Behnchomin (sic) Netanyahu would respond with a slaughter of Palestinian civilians, the blockade of food, water, medicines, power, etc, and even an invasion of Gaza. Hamas seemed to want to provoke such retaliation, calculating that it would divide the world into open pro and anti-Israeli factions and alter the balance of world politics.

Would that inevitable change or factionalisation benefit the Palestinians in the end?

I have heard idiot British conservatives, some of whom I have counted as friends, despite our diametrically opposed political stances, saying that the Israelis should purge the Gaza Strip of all Palestinians and even that Iran should be obliterated by nuclear bombs. Yes, gentle reader, mad! -- but not untypical of the less cautious members of the party of Hedgie Sunoch and Cruella Cowardperson.

Hedgie pledged his unwavering support to Israel, taking a moral stand against Hamas’ terrorism. His stance has nothing to do with the fact that Britain sells heaps of armaments to Israel and certainly nothing to do with the fact that Mrs Hedgie gets millions of pounds in unearned dividends from her shares in Infosys which has deep and remunerative contracts in Israel. Anyone who suggests that Hedgie’s morality is influenced by these two capitalistic or personal concerns should be immediately deported to Rwanda.

Cruella, the home secretary, has repeatedly announced that Hamas is a terrorist organisation and that anyone supporting it will be dealt with. She hasn’t in this instance mentioned Rwanda, but we know that she dreams of sending people she doesn’t like to that country, we can assume that she dreams about doing just that. Her dreams are of curse (sic) a personal matter, but she has instructed the police, who must obey her, to arrest and charge anyone who utters a word in support of Hamas.

Now, gentle reader, there have been mass demonstrations in all British cities in support of Palestine and against the Holocaust-ish bombing of Palestinians in Gaza and now in the West Bank. The majority of these demonstrations vociferously demand the ceasing of the bombing and the end of the blockade which has starved Palestinians of the necessities of life. Of course, a few chanted pro-Hamas slogans.

Cruella was incensed that the police hadn’t arrested those of the 120,000 people who demonstrated in London, who had chanted these slogans. She called the London Metropolitan Police chief to remonstrate. He is supposed to have explained to her that the law didn’t proscribe having opinions. Nevertheless, a dozen or so foreign nationals have now been earmarked for deportation to their native countries for shouting thing things like “Viva Hamas”. I sincerely doubt if these shouts would have brought the walls of Jericho, or the Houses of Parliament tumbling down, but there we are -- dreams must come somewhat true.

The leadership of the Opposition Labour Party, virtually a government in waiting, hasn’t had an easy ride over the issue. Sir Keir Starmer, the Labour leader, went on the radio when the dispute began to say that Israel was quite justified to starve Gaza of water, food and medicines. Whoops! Scores of Labour councillors resigned from the party. It was clear that very many of Starmer’s Labour MPs disagreed with his anti-humanitarian stance.

What impelled this worthy to put his foot embarrassingly in his mouth?

Sir Keir has in the years since the disastrous humiliation of Labour at the polls in 2019, been an anti-anti-Semitism crusader. He went as far as to expel Jeremy Corbyn from the party alleging that he was unrepentant about alleged anti-Semitism during his former leadership of the party. The purge of supposed anti-Semites continued. But this statement was a step too far. Muslim Labour MPs objected to Sir Keir’s statement and he immediately backtracked, “clarifying” his stance by insisting he had been misunderstood and of course humanitarian aid should reach the beleaguered Palestinians. He publicly called for restraint in the Israeli reaction.

Anyone who suggests that his original instinctive stance was influenced by the fact that his wife is Jewish should be sent -- you got it! -- to Rwanda.

Tags: israel palestine conflict, gaza airstrikes, hamas