Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Labour Friends of Palestine & the Middle East

Last night saw the launch of a new group at the House of Commons, to be known as ‘Labour Friends of Palestine & the Middle East’.

This is a curious new lobby group, with a curious name.

It is a little like founding ‘Labour Friends of Slough and the United Kingdom’, or ‘Labour Friends of Malta and Europe’. Except, of course, that neither Slough nor Malta have been magnified out of all proportion to their significance. And neither Slough nor Malta are artificial geo-political constructs whose populations are agitating for the eradication of that to which they are intrinsically linked.

Of course, Labour could not possibly launch at the present time a group called ‘Labour Friends of Israel & the Middle East’, not least because ‘Labour Friends of Israel’ has existed since 1957 and ‘Labour Friends of Israel & the Middle East’ would be interpreted as bestowing upon Israel an exalted status and political dominance over the rest of the Middle East of which it is not worthy.

But what becomes of ‘Labour Friends of Israel’ now? Since Israel is manifestly part of the Middle East, are those who choose to befriend Palestine not also befriending Israel? And will members of ‘Labour Friends of Israel’ not also be obliged to join ‘Labour Friends of Palestine & the Middle East’ since that group professes to additionally befriend that to which they have already pledged their friendship?

But Israel aside, why would any sincere Socialist supporter of Palestine wish their admirable cause to be tarnished with support for the rest of the Middle East? Can one not be a Labour supporter of the Palestinian cause and consider it good, without having also to support the bad and the ugly of the Middle East?

The region that spans southwestern Asia and northeastern Africa is vast. If one wishes to be a friend of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, why should one be obliged to spread that friendship very thinly indeed to Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and Egypt?

After all, what hath Ramallah to do with Tehran, Damascus or Beirut?


Anonymous Nelson said...

Your Grace.
All things considered, and looking at the track record of Blair Brown inc. Who would want them as friends? It's rather like keeping a pet crocodile in your bath in case you feel lonely when you practice your ablutions.

14 January 2009 at 10:25  
Blogger Bryan said...

Come now Your Grace, surely you do not suggest that Ramallah and Tehran are not linked by that most trustworthy and durable of links; the bond between slave and master, the bond between proxy warrior and client state, the bond between "freedom fighter" and hegemon?

Likewise; Beirut and Damascus.

So, could it be that you equate your country's Labor party with global terror sponsors who's concern over the populace has more to do with needing a source of gullible murder bombers and a pitiable people to use as propaganda for international aid and "humanitarian" concern?

I though only American "Democrats" were so low, cruel, and arrogant.

14 January 2009 at 11:38  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In our country (UK) we have been living with terror campaigns for 40 years. I can assure you that whatever you suppose to be the links between countries/groups/other groups, you will never know the truth of the matter. Nor will anybody else, ever. And in the case of the Middle East, the level of intrigue can probably be upped by a factor of x10 over what we have here.

14 January 2009 at 12:06  
Blogger McKenzie said...

Will it work though? Will Asian people be stupid enough to fall for it and vote Labour....don't answer that.

14 January 2009 at 13:36  
Blogger Microcosm said...

Labour just desperate for friends now theres a good slogan. Do you reside in Papua New Ginuea and have a fetish for shrinking heads and keeping them on a pole, Labour has a fully furnished house ready and waiting, just be our friend!

Anybody!!! Please!!!

14 January 2009 at 13:56  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Mr McKenzie,

Some Asian people - indeed a majority - vote Labour. But quite a few vote Conservative.

You ought to consider prefixing words like 'Asian' with a qualifier which more accurately conveys the reality of the situation.

You might otherwise be accused of being 'racist', and His Grace is sure you would not want that any more than the Prince of Wales.

14 January 2009 at 14:37  
Blogger McKenzie said...

I stand corrected, and quite rightly so as well, humble and sincere apologies to all the other Asian folk......."Muslim"

14 January 2009 at 15:40  
Blogger McKenzie said...

I am glad about the noted difference between racism, and objections about religions. It has always peeved me that I keep getting called a racist for talking about Islam. One thing that used to annoy me was some of the claims that Muslims invented algebra and geometry, and astrology etc etc. But these things have been around for a long time, and there were no Muslims until Mohammad popped up in the six hundreds. It is probably true to say that Arab people had a lot to do with developing these ideas, but it has been noted by me that they have invented jack shit ever since.

14 January 2009 at 16:27  
Blogger The last cause said...

Well, in fairness to "arab people" they did have some wonderful poets and they did have far superior medical care compared to Europe of the time, and once upon a time, places like Baghdad were storehouses of ancient writings.

Alas, no longer.

As for "Justice for..."

In my view, the best thing the Palestinian People could do is turn their guns, and bombs and rockets on their own political leadership...first..rid themselves of the Crazies and start afresh with some pragmatic leadership.

As for Labour...I dearly hope in the next Elections, they are the ones left standing when the music stops in the game of political musical chairs..

14 January 2009 at 17:00  
Blogger Daveb06 said...

Can we have a 'Labour Friends of ENGLAND Group' please just to show that Zanu New Liebour don't really hate the ENGLISH (yes you do need a pass to get on my planet)

14 January 2009 at 18:21  
Anonymous Alf Tupper said...

As Israel happens to be part of the Middle East, are they invited to the party?

15 January 2009 at 18:01  
Blogger velvel in decatur said...

And why not a parlimentary (and US congressional) "Friends of Civilization" that does not approve of shooting Kassams into schools? Something must have happened to Sir Gerald on his Israel trip. Sounds a bit like Pres Carter whose nannyish behavior erupts whenever anyone tells him that he does not know everything and ought keep his peace until he learns something?

Sir Gerald reminds me of one of my favorite (American) poems:
Miniver Cheevy

Miniver Cheevy, child of scorn,
Grew lean while he assailed the seasons;
He wept that he was ever born,
And he had reasons.

Miniver loved the days of old
When swords were bright and steeds were prancing;
The vision of a warrior bold
Would set him dancing.

Miniver sighed for what was not,
And dreamed, and rested from his labors;
He dreamed of Thebes and Camelot,
And Priam's neighbors.

Minever mourned the ripe renown
That made so many a name so fragrant;
He mourned Romance, now on the town,
And Art, a vagrant.

Minever loved the Medici,
Albeit he had never seen one;
He would have sinned incessantly
Could he have been one.

Miniver cursed the commonplace
And eyed a khaki suit with loathing;
He missed the mediæval grace
Of iron clothing.

Miniver scorned the gold he sought,
But sore annoyed was he without it;
Miniver thought, and thought, and thought,
And thought about it.

Miniver Cheevy, born too late,
Scratched his head and kept on thinking;
Miniver coughed, and called it fate,
And kept on drinking.

E.A. Robinson

15 January 2009 at 22:06  

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