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Civil Liberties

Palestinian statehood: the hypocrisy of Labour's three-line whip

 

We know how the argument goes. If you oppose the establishment of a Palestinian state, you are a bigoted Zionist who perpetuates suffering and injustice through illegal occupation. If you support the establishment of a Palestinian state, you are either fair-minded, unprejudiced and just, or naive, ignorant of history and probably anti-Semitic. Still others decry the myth of ‘Palestine’ altogether, insisting that ‘Palestinians’ are a historical fabrication for the perpetuation of every kind of Arab-Muslim grievance: all roads of resolution lead to ‘illegal occupation’. There isn’t much common ground between these geo-political polarities; not a lot of space for dialogue, peace or reconciliation.

As the British Parliament votes on a motion of support for the establishment of the State of Palestine, it is noteworthy that Conservative backbenchers have been granted a free vote, while Labour MPs are subject to a three-line whip. If you happen to be a pro-Israel Labour MP, you have been asked to stay away from the Chamber. In this interminable religio-political, socio-historical cosmological clash, the Labour Party wants to be seen to be pro-Palestine, for therein lies justice, truth and the rule of law – the path to peace. Pace Baroness Warsi, the Conservatives recognise that things aren’t quite so simple.

A two-state solution has been discussed and debated for decades. Both sides say they want it, but (setting aside that the Hamas Charter calls for the obliteration or dissolution of Israel) both set seemingly intractable conditions, not least of which are mutually exclusive positions regarding the status of Jerusalem. The issue may be (and has been) perpetually shelved in negotiations, but both sides know that a declaration of Palestinian statehood will not stop with a sovereign Gaza. Without sovereignty over East Jerusalem, Palestinians will never have a ‘viable’ Palestine. Yet, for many Jews, Jerusalem is the indivisible capital of Israel and sovereignty over any part is non-negotiable. ‘Land for peace’ goes only so far: Judaea may be negotiated away; Samaria may be yielded. But Jerusalem is inviolable.

In a lucid piece entitled ‘The obsession with Israel is disproportionate‘, Paul Goodman draws attention to the demographic tensions:

According to Bernard Wasserstein, the Jewish population of Israel is some 5.2 million: if the number of Arab Israelis (Palestinians with Israeli citizenship, if you prefer), about 1.3 million, is added to the number of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, one reaches a total of 4.7 million.  Sergio DellaPergola, a leading Israeli demographer, claims that they may fall below the 50 per cent mark in this entire area by 2020.

Israel therefore faces a choice over how to deal with the Palestinians on the West Bank.  It can either give them the same rights within one polity as Israelis themselves, in which case Israel will not be Jewish for very long (let alone Zionist); or it can withhold these rights, as at present, in which case Israel will no longer be democratic for very long.  This is the country’s Catch 22.

It is a Catch 22 to which many MPs appear to be oblivious. In their quest to support the rights of Palestinians, they neglect the demographic reality which will certainly eventually nullify Israeli democracy, if it is not already invalidated.

One can respect if not entirely agree with the sincerely-held views of Tories like Sir Alan Duncan or Baroness Warsi, for whom the establishment of the State of Palestine is a “moral duty” because it will “breathe new life” in the peace process. They ought to be free to reason their beliefs in public and vote in Parliament accordingly, and we must be free to tell them they’re utterly wrong and misguided. But there is a curious hypocrisy in Labour’s three-line whip which will prick the consciences of more than a few of their MPs. Why are they being obliged to support the establishment of a state which subjugates women, persecutes gays, harasses Christians and destroys synagogues? Why should it be mandatory to recognise a state in which Jews specifically will be denied political rights and social liberties? Why should Labour MPs be coerced into sanctioning the realisation of a de facto and de jure apartheid state?

Does the popular cause of Palestine trump homophobia, misogyny, racism and religious hatred, relegating the egalitarian ideal to the abstract? Does Labour’s foreign policy cease to be ethical or even rational when it comes to appeasing an overriding Muslim concern? Or does Ed Miliband really believe that Palestinian statehood is the key to entrenching women’s rights, bolstering racial equality, propagating religious freedom and establishing a string of gay clubs in the Gaza strip?

  • Owl

    Milibrand is an idiot so what is there to expect.

    YG, you have summed up, very nicely, the complexity of the situation. I would also like to add that if Israel does not maintain military supremacy then the anniallation of Israel is inevitable. Israel has very little room to manouver (and survive).

    Do our lovely labour MP’s live in some sort of parallel reality?

    I would have thought that the nice chappies from IS would have woken up, at least, some of them.

    • CliveM

      Re Israeli military supremacy.

      Aye that’s the nub of it. How long can it be maintained? There are a lot of petro dollars in the ME. In Europe an increasingly strident demand to block sales of weapons to Israel. In the US, an increasingly detached leadership. Israel has some dangerous times ahead.

      • IanCad

        Now, with Sunni Turkey all but shouting for ISIS and supporting “Moderate” Syrian rebels the Caliphate may not be such a pipe dream after all.
        Could it be in the form of a revived Ottoman Empire?
        The weak and corrupt Saudi monarchy is an easy target.
        The Gulf States as well -Sunnis all. Big bucks!
        Israel and Iran face the same enemy. Could they make some sort of pact?
        Stranger things have happened.
        We in the West have handled things very badly.

      • avi barzel

        Israeli military supremacy..how long can it be maintained?
        As long Israel’s economy functions as it does and maintains the qualitative human edge of its armed forces and its technological supremacy. The other “problems” are or shortly will be mostly irrelevant. Oil and its petrodollars are a finite resource for the Muslim regimes. They have to keep prices low because they know that if the US and Canada take-off their self-imposed shackles and engage in real oil and gas exploitation, they will corner the world market and collapse the entire ME in a matter of months. Israel has its own sources of oil and gas and can even supply Western Europe with enough gas to seriously maul Russia and the Gulf states. If Europe engages in fracking, as it should, Russia might as well get back to Czars and serfs digging for potatoes with wooden hoes. And while the supply of Muslim oil and is petrodollars is finite, the restless populations which depend on it (and watch as their standard of living slides down) have increased ten-fold since the 1970s. Best to stand back when the collapse picks up pace.
        There are no weapons the EU produces that Israel depends with its life on. Most of the arms and munitions it buys are low-tech and their attraction for Israel is price and the political need to maintain a balance of trade. If Europe holds back on its arms, Israel has the idle industrial capacity to deal with it and besides, China and India are chomping at the bit for a share. If the EU institutes a boycott of all Israeli goods, there will be no balance of trade to worry about and no need for Israel to even pretend to politely listen to it as it does now. As for the US, this administration has been the most hostile one in a long time. Obama tried this and that shenanigan and it didn’t work. The US public is squarely behind Israel, more than it’s ever been, and even the Democrats who are hoping to take over, are indicating that they will be much friendlier than Obama and his people.
        Of course there are dangerous times ahead for Israel, Clive; that hasn’t changed since the night in 1948 when Israel declared its independence, but the current threats are mostly from Iran, Russia and ISIS, which threatens to replace Hamas, especially after its recent pounding. They do not come close to the threat levels of the sorry strategic and political stage Israel had to deal with in its past conflicts when the USSR was able to prop up Syria and Egypt. The script you think still matters and the one that the EU pretends to be following for Muslim consumption is a few decades past its shelf life.

        • CliveM

          Hi Avi

          Well I hope your analysis is right as I certainly don’t want to see Israel seriously threatened. (More then it currently is). My worry isn’t that the US will turn against Israel, more that the public and politicians will tire of the issue and start looking the other way. Hopefully Obama won’t represent a trend.
          I just wonder though how long a nation can maintain a virtual state of war. Not suggesting that this is Israel’s fault, but it would be hard to maintain.
          Still Israel should be able to rely on the Arabs to continue to fight amongst themselves.

          • avi barzel

            You know, Clive, I come here to read HG’s posts and the thoughts of most of the commenters here and I always get fooled…for a moment… into thinking that the UK, Europe and the rest of the World thinks like you folks do. I know it ain’t so, but a fellow enjoys reading better comments about Jews and Israel than I can come up with.

          • CliveM

            Avi

            When I am asked about Israel and how can they be supported, one of the things I always point out is that they literally know nothing. What they think they know is propoganda. One of things that always amuses me is that people seem to accept perfection from Israel, but allow Hamas etc to behave in any way they wish.
            Sometimes being civilised and democratic works against a nation.

  • dannybhoy

    I have always supported the existence of the modern State of Israel. Not uncritically, but I hope realistically.
    People can correct me when I say that the Palestinians have a very weak case for Statehood.
    Although they are not nor ever have been a sovereign independent State, and many of their citizens are of Egyptian or Syrian or tribal descent, Palestine was an area ruled over by the Ottoman Empire for four hundred+ years.
    The Ottomans never gave them Statehood. The Palestinians never argued or fought for Statehood as far as I know.
    In modern times they were offered Statehood twice or three times – depending on who you talk to. They always refused.
    The original European Jewish immigrants legally bought the land they settled on.
    International events led to ever greater influxes of jewish immigration from around the world leading to the modern State of Israel.
    My understanding is that the Palestinians seemed to see themselves as a part of the greater Middle Eastern Islamic world, and were apparently content to remain so. Without their own government, without their own national identity, armed forces etc.
    Their main complaint seems to be that despite every effort to throw them out of the Middle East, the Jews remain and Israel prospers.
    They could cope with Jews and Christians as subservient populations living under the authority and protection of Islam, but not as an independent people in their own right.

    • Danny boy,

      Well to quote a Palestinian:

      “The Palestinian people does not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our Arab unity. In reality today there is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people, since Arab national interests demand that we posit the existence of a distinct “Palestinian people” to oppose Zionism.”

      Zahir Muhsein, PLO executive

      • carl jacobs

        Well, you see, this kind of attitude is obviously the product of Israeli oppression. If the Israelis would sincerely commit to peace with the Palestinians, this attitude would decrease over time. Then we could see one hundred flowers bloom in the new Middle East…

        What…?

        Why are you looking at me like that?

        Yes, I do so have at least two connected brain cells in my head! Your hostile reaction to a perfectly reasonable understanding is why we can’t achieve peace.

        earnestly progressive carl

      • dannybhoy

        Peace Shmu’el.

        I believe there was a youtube clip that went with your quote in which the chap is berating the Egyptians and Syrians for not coming to the aid of their own kith and kin.

        The Palestinian reality is though, that hundreds and thousands of their people are being killed.

        Take a look at the photos of a bombed out Gaza and people left without homes, without hope.

        I know that many Israelis feel as much sadness over the plight of Palestinian civilians as they do their own fallen. No decent human being can take any pleasure at all in the situation. Maybe we can excuse those who have lost loved ones for anger and bitterness, just as British people felt towards the Germans in and after ww2.

        I also feel that Israel does not help win back the support they once enjoyed by overwhelming military force.

        Nor by continuing with the continued building of settlements (driven I suspect by overseas donations and investments*)
        * happy to be corrected or proved wrong 🙂
        Nor by destroying the family homes of individuals involved in terrorism.

        I am all for Israel defending herself, and no one who visits that country can help but be impressed by her achievements and her absorption of so many disparate Jewish communities.

        Col haCavod! says I. Thanks Lord God for allowing me to live there and experience “HaNes shel Yisrael” first hand.

        I want to see a peaceable settlement, a prosperous and viable Palestinian State -even some land swap if possible.

        But,

        and it’s the biggest but in the world.. unless the Palestinian leadership come to their senses, stop sacrificing their own people and their own territory and targeting and killing innocent Israelis, a Palestinian State will never come about.

        Book of Acts 5: 38-39
        (Jewish) Gamaliel addressing the (Jewish) Council in (Jewish) Jerusalem, referring to the early Church (made up mainly of Jewish believers!) said…

        “And now, therefore, I say to you, refrain from these men, and let them alone; for if this council or this work be of men, it will come to nought; 39But if it be of God, you cannot overthrow it, lest perhaps you be found even to fight against God.
        And they consented to him.”

        Douay- Rheims version (to please Happy Jack)

    • IanCad

      Danny,
      Just about the most concise, clear and irrefutable post that I have read for a long time.

      • dannybhoy

        Ta.

  • After his political calculations over Syria, his remarks on Gaza, which saw his own being attacked here in Britain and in Israel and after all this chutzpah about him being the first Jewish prime minister and being a Zionist when giving a speech to the Jewish community and or his trip to Israel, who is miliclown trying to fool now? He’s clearly biased towards the Palestinians to get the Muslim vote. How more cynical & opportunist can he get? I simply don’t believe what he says.

    • Nick

      Yes, I agree, it’s about votes. But ‘a blessing on both their houses’ surely? Many people don’t feel they can speak about this subject without being shot down. Is the desire for things to get better in Israel really so misplaced? Or am I being naive?

      • Ah, well dude,

        You see I’ve not gone onto any forum, be it the telegraph, Jerusalem post or anywhere where anti Zionists don’t feel they can “express” themselves on this subject… likewise with us Zionists. I’m normally reasonably laid back, but this is a topic too close to the heart.

        If you want things to get better for Israel (or for that matter Palestinians), then wishing to see the back of the terrorist groups Hamas & Hezbollah would be a start. Although with $5 billion pledged for renewed terrorism, sorry, aid, they’ll be another conflict in about 2 to 6 months….the heartless Zionist baby killers will be back for the guardian and the other useful idiots to demonize.

        • Nick

          Hmmm. Maybe we just move in separate circles? (like for entire lives :-D). Yes, I want things to get better for Israel. Maybe we should just leave it there?

          • Guest

            I agree with Nick.

          • Cough, cough ………

    • dannybhoy

      Millipede sucks!

      • Dude, the Labour party needs to ditch Miliband and choose the Hon member for Liverpool Wavertree as leader. Heck, I’d even consider voting for Labour if they did that 🙂

        • Yey, the first female Jewish Labour leader and possibly the first Jewish female prime minister of Britain! (:

  • DrCrackles

    Labour is pandering to Muslim voters and wants to look tough about it. It is as simple as that. The Palestinians, however, are a matter of convenience. Labour cares no more about them than it does the swathes of wasted human potential it mismanages in these isles. The young Palestinian wants work and an income with which to support a family. Things very much possible through peaceful and profit-minded interaction with Israel.

    Since Labour is allergic to commerce the Palestinians are to be keep in perpetual bondage. The permanent recipients of handouts and the tragic victims of idleness and hopelessness.

    Labour is a sick joke.

  • DrCrackles

    Your Grace, you refer to the treatment of homosexuals in Gaza. You must know that Islam has a strange history regarding homosexuality? That paradise is populated by pre-pubescent boys for the enjoyment of the righteous man? That rape of boys is common, especially by Jihadis? You must also be aware of the strong rumours surrounding Arafat’s death?

    So, ‘Gay pride’ in Gaza? No, but there will certainly be a masculine-homosexual culture and one that is not at all at odds with Islam.

  • alternative_perspective

    What do people think of this scripture:

    “I will also gather all nations, And bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; And I will enter into judgment with them there On account of My people, My heritage Israel, Whom they have scattered among the nations; /.” – Joel 3:2.

    • Nick

      Yes, this is relevant, but it doesn’t mean we are in the last of the last days. Also, there is the scripture, regarding Israel: ‘I will bless those who bless you…’ (and the reverse).

      I would propose that this is the motivation for many who defend Israel. I’m pro-Israel (obviously because I want to be blessed) but I don’t see how the position of Britain is tenable. We speak about peace and then we arm one side in the conflict.

      • IanCad

        Then, Nick we must define Israel.
        It is not the Jewish nation.

        • Nick

          I’m new to this debate Ian and I bow to your greater research. All I know is that some Christians bless Israel in order to be blessed. And for no other reason.

          • dannybhoy

            Only in Amurikah,.!
            I’ve never met a true Christian displaying such base motivation.

          • Nick

            Perhaps you are right dannybhoy. I have a habit of looking at the worst in people at times. Which makes me look bad (but I AM used to looking bad when other people look good). If that is not truly the case then I happily withdraw my theory. People do not like their motivations to be questioned and perhaps I am not the one to do that. Think about it though – I trust that you will not think me evil for asking you to simply think on it.

          • dannybhoy

            I was joshing Nick. I have met quite a few American Christians – lovely people for the most part, who did often quote that verse.

            What does it really mean anyway? I don’t know.

            You know as well as I do I assume that everybody is shaped by the culture they grew up in. (Starting to sound a bit “Matrixy” now..)
            So you get that in all churches, synagogues, Jedi Halls etc.

            Then personality comes into play doesn’t it? Hmm? Some people gave very tender consciences, some have very ‘weather beaten’ ones.

            You sound like a nice bloke, and actually I agree with your,
            “People do not like their motivations to be questioned”

            I like this and with the Lord’s help I am trying to follow it…

            “The Paradoxical Commandments”

            http://www.paradoxicalcommandments.com

          • Nick

            Thank you for being kind dannybhoy. I like the paradoxical commandments too.

            Out of interest – as an aside – you know the Lord’s paradoxical statement ‘whoever wants to save their life will lose it’?

            Do you know how that works? Because it worries me!!! I’m doomed!

          • dannybhoy

            “Out of interest – as an aside – you know the Lord’s paradoxical statement ‘whoever wants to save their life will lose it’? Do you know how that works? Because it worries me!!! I’m doomed!Do I know how it works?”

            Do I know how it works?!!
            DO I KNOW HOW IT WORKS?!!

            Er, no not exactly.
            Do you?

            Give me your best guess…
            While there’s still time. 🙂

          • Nick

            I don’t know. I don’t usually know the answers to the questions I ask (or get replies to them).

          • dannybhoy

            Okay,
            I’ll give you my understanding.
            Not saying I’m right mind you..
            I believe it means that the process of salvation and sanctification leads us to a place where we give everything we are, our belongings and our ambitions on the altar, for God to use as He wills.
            Some people reach this place early in their Christian life, some later. It depends on what they have been taught.
            It does NOT (imv) mean we go out and sell our house, our car, our wife and kids, find a hair shirt and a whip and start beating the selfishness and sinfulness out of our miserable hides..
            God is not in the business of filling our hearts with fear. He loves us and He’s changing us from glory to glory until the moment we pop our clogs and find ourselves in His wonderful presence.

          • Nick

            Thanks. I really struggle with this teaching.

            I’m watching the Palestine recognition debate live now and I can report that some of these politicians are quite clearly loving their lives. Although half of them are loving their lives doing something else by the looks of things. I’ve got a bad feeling about this…

        • “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. And whosoever shall follow this rule, peace on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.”
          (Galatians 6:15-16)

          Christians, the Church, are the “Israel of God.” Christians are the spiritual remnant of ancient Israel, expanded and multiplied and encompassing the world. This is and was always God’s plan of salvation.

          Never mind all this Dispensationalist nonsense – read Romans 11.

    • carl jacobs

      Modern day Israel has nothing to do with eschatology.

      • Nick

        What about the temple? I thought it was supposed to be rebuilt one day and we have some arse pretending to be God there?

        • carl jacobs

          Old Testament Judaism ended with the destruction of the Temple and the loss of the Priesthood. It would take a divine act to re-establish that Priesthood. But there would be no purpose since there is already one high priest who has already offered one perfect sacrifice. If the Temple was rebuilt then, what would be its point? It has already served its purpose. Israel in the sense of the Mosaic Covenant is gone. It is never coming back – Darby and his wooden exegesis notwithstanding.

          You should be careful attributing fulfillment of prophesy to events in time and history. We do not see with God’s eyes and the days of prophets are past. The survival of Israel is by no means assured. What then could be said of God if the Arabs get to satisfy their lust for blood against the Jews? Did God then fail to bring a prophesy to pass? Did He fail to keep His word?

          It’s a dangerous game trying to write prophesy into our narratives.

          • Nick

            Huh?

          • Nick

            That’s brilliant. If you delete a comment it comes up as a guest comment (at least on my laptop). I can win every argument this way. Or else look silly (as usual).

          • Guest

            You speak great wisdom Nick. People are just being arsey with you for strange unknown reasons. You are very brave as a politically liberal person on a right-wing site. Don’t let them get you down etc…

          • Cough, cough ….

          • Guest

            Mirror, mirror, on the wall
            who is the wisest commenter of all?
            Why its Happy Jack ………

            Ooooops …. where’s the delete button gone?!

          • carl jacobs

            Assume the Israeli gov’t destroyed the Dome of the Rock and rebuilt the Temple. As sure as night follows day, some people would say “The fulfillment of prophesy!” There are assumptions about both eschatology and Israel built into that assessment. Wrong assumptions.

            Now assume also that the Arab world rises up and massacres the Jews in Israel in response. The new Temple would then be destroyed. So you must suddenly account for your association of prophesy with events in Israel and that fact that events have deviated from the expected trajectory. You have declared “God is doing this” only to have it revealed that what God was supposed to be doing did not come to pass. That will be a difficult position from which to retreat.

            Be careful of looking at events in the ME and saying “Prophesy!” People do it all the time. Bookstores are filled with the output of the cottage prophesy industry. And it’s all nonsense.

            carl

          • Nick

            Interesting thinking Carl. I suppose it all comes down to what each of us believes could happen – and as you infer, no-one really knows the future.

          • carl jacobs

            I don’t have any idea what this post is about.

          • “Huh? Am I mad?
            You might think that, Jack could not possibly comment.

          • dannybhoy

            Carl, so you believe God has given up on His Covenant with Israel?

          • carl jacobs

            The Abrahamic Covenant is unconditional and is fulfilled in the Church. The Mosaic Covenant was conditional, the penalties of which have been enforced.

          • dannybhoy

            Don’t agree for many reasons, but just one being that if we believe Israel was replaced by the (Holy Spirit empowered) Church, could we honestly say that the Church has done a much better job than Israel did?

          • dannybhoy

            Carl??

          • carl jacobs

            I’m confused, Dannybhoy. Do you think I am angry? I am an Amilenialist. That’s really all I am defending. I have no ill feelings toward you

            🙂

            carl

          • dannybhoy

            You got me confused now. Where did personal feelings come into it?
            My point is not so much Biblical as it is observational. God created for His purposes Israel. They were called as a theocracy, their blessings were conditional upon their obedience to the Law.
            I agree with you that that theocracy no longer exists, the temple is gone, the sacrificial system and the priesthood.
            BUT I don’t see Scriptural evidence that God has given up on them.
            Comparing the historical record of Israel with the historical record of the Church can we honestly say that our record is any the less blemished? As Christians did we have any divine mandate for persecuting the Jews, for the Inquisition or implementing the Holocaust?
            Of course not.

          • carl jacobs

            Dannybhoy

            I suggest we consign our mutual confusion to the dustbin, and blame the whole thing on Microsoft. I have discovered that Bill Gates is usually to blame.

            Remember one thing, though. Since I live in the US, you should subtract six hours or so. I can post in the morning and at noon my time. But if I don’t appear to respond right away, it’s probably because I am at work.

            carl

          • Writing poems?

          • carl jacobs

            Limericks about the errors of the Romans Catholic Church. The source material is literally inexhaustible.

            carl 🙂

            And I’m watching Monday Night FOOTBALL.

          • Then Jack prays you learn something during your research ….

          • That’s a different question.

          • Merchantman

            I thought the resurrected Jesus was the new Temple through his overcoming death and sin.

        • dannybhoy

          “..and we have some arse pretending to be God there?”
          Who you got in mind here? Not one of our contributors surely…

          • Nick

            Noooo… I’m nice to people dannybhoy. I respect them. I wasn’t even referring to Miliband (although there may be some concrete evidence of arsedom in him).

          • dannybhoy

            Prophecy is a difficult area.
            A very difficult area.
            I used to be an premillenialist.
            Now I’m a panmillennialist.

          • And Jack is a dead-pan millennialist.

          • CliveM

            He, he , he! Lol.

    • IanCad

      The dodgy and profitable theology of the Dispensationalists is alive and well.
      The sacrificial system is over. Our Saviour fulfilled it once and for all with His blood.
      No Temple, no secret rapture; just the promise of His coming.

    • dannybhoy

      I believe the re-establishment of Israel was an act of God using human agencies. God has His own plan and His own timetable. Whatever His plans (and I ain’t hot on prophecy) those plans will be achieved.

    • alternative_perspective

      Well that was a fruitless comment stream.
      One chap with an obviously high view of scripture (only it even seems of Romans) ignores the scriptural tract I quoted – typical protestant.
      And another chap believes the RC church alone is the fullfillment of Israel – typcial catholic.
      Both seem to think God would abandon his own people and would even break his covenant word.
      Hmm, I don’t believe God ever abandons his own and never breaks his promises, as he said “let your yes mean yes and your no, no… anything else is of the devil.”

  • Nick

    The Muslims in this country already face the same amount of prejudice and pressure as Christians do. Christians will be next at this rate.

  • JayBee

    Labour politicking also includes a one line whip on attendance. This conveniently sidesteps the three line whip by allowing senior Labour MPs to abstain without having to resign from the Shadow Cabinet. According to one report Rachel Reeves, Ivan Lewis, Michael Dugher, and Jim Murphy, all members of the Shadow cabinet are expected to stay away, as will Michael McCann, PPS to Ms Reeves, Luciana Berger, a party spokesman and John Woodcock, a senior backbencher.

  • carl jacobs

    There isn’t going to be a Palestinian state. The Palestinians can’t compel it. The Israelis would never allow it. The surrounding Arab states don’t really want it. So can we stop arguing about it? It’s like arguing about the authority of UN Security Council resolutions. Perhaps interesting as a theoretical exercise. Perhaps malignant as a tactical device. But utterly pointless in any practical sense.

    carl

    • Nick

      I agree to an extent, but it’s just not going to happen – people are going to argue about this until the end of the world. Either God or the Church is obsessed with Israel. Anyone who even blinks in the direction of an opinion gets brow-beaten out of existence.

      The only thing that keeps some people going is an argument about Israel (which obviously is why it is raised (in order to lift people’s spirits and keep them alive)).

    • avi barzel

      Hmm, not bad. I’ve tried to express this argument before, but you beat me by about a thousand fewer words. You get yourself a cookie.
      Sorry, no cookie from me for your replacement theology bit elsewhere here, of course, but I never really minded that one as it’s just one of those peculiar religious positions of yours which your are dead-wrong about.

      • carl jacobs

        Avi

        What’s this? A new icon? And with a trimmed beard and acceptable haircut, no less! Oh, that’s right. You have a daughter who is… what…13? Boys will be sniffing around soon. Gotta present the right image. The responsibilities of fatherhood take a terrible toll.

        carl

        • avi barzel

          You may be dead-wrong most of the time, but I hate it when you’re right. Young Missy is a terror. I also have to pretend to normalcy when we’re out and about.

          • CliveM

            Life is less worrying when you’re a father to a boy and have no girls!

          • avi barzel

            Boys are abroad. It’s Young Missy and us. You have no idea….

          • CliveM

            With regards my sister my father use to sit in the room looking menacing and refusing to smile. It did no good, but he felt better!!

          • avi barzel

            Our orthodox boys in our Shul know better; they’re too young and she’s too young and when dating eventually happens, it’s in public and in groups at respectable venues. Shes a smart girl, picky and hard to impress; I’m not worried. It’s when we get the rascals from the liberal congregations during functions that things get interesting. I’m a regular security volunteer and I scowl at all the young punks as I give them a full weapons-search at the door and they visibly wilt when they get my glare in the social hall. Tee-hee-hee.

          • CliveM

            If only it was so easy to deal with liberals in all areas of life!!

          • avi barzel

            It is easy…when you’re bigger then they are and give them a peek of your Smith & Wesson under your jacket! ;-D

          • CliveM

            Eeep! Gulp, ahem.

            Mouth suddenly dry and bowels feeling uncertain!

          • avi barzel

            O go on, I’m the nicest guy around. A push-over, scared of my wife and daughter. I did security with Immigration years ago and got licensed for boy toys, that’s all.

          • CliveM

            And breath out and relax!

          • Cool look Avi!!

          • avi barzel

            I try very hard, Miss Hannah, but my family still laughs at me. Chag sameach to you and yours in the new year! Hope you folks had decent weather for the sukkah.

          • Hi Avi,

            We’ve gone from crisp cool autumn weather to rain over the past few days, but it’s been good. I’ve been reading through the Epistle to the Yemen during the holiday, which is providing me with a lot of encouragement.

            Anyways how is yours going ?

            Moadim Le-simha!

          • avi barzel

            Warm and rainy now, but we’ve had sunny with crisper weather. The two days of yom tovim immediately followed by shabbat routine we’ve been having is hard, though.

            Ah, the Rambam. I’ve been reading his Mishnah Tora, debating hashkafa on frumme blogs and discovrting the RALBAG…a.k.a. Gersonides. A fascinating Rabbi; invented Jacob’s staff for calculating latitude, was the first to gauge the true distances to planets and stars by using a camera obscura and to blow away the heavenly spheres theory, and the first to systematically apply scientific testing protocols and disprove even his own assumptions. Got in some hot water by proposing Averroes’ notion that God does not control our actions and cannot predict them because he willingly limits Himself in order to allow us freedom and mastery of the world.

            And a great simchas Torah to you too!

          • Looks like a character out of Pulp Fiction to Happy Jack.

          • avi barzel

            Saw it again on Netflix, just before the holy days. Great film. The new big and colored frame specs are our young Missy’s idea, OK? She wants me to look modern, cutting edge or whateverthehell they call it now… so I don’t embarrass her when I’m blessed with the privilege of driving her hither and yon. And I have to tuck my (clean) shirts in, tie my laces, comb my hair and keep my car washed and neat too just in case she and any of her Valkyrie friends need a lift to the mall. Your daughter will be busy now and you’re off the hook as long as you provide baby caretaker services on demand now and then, but don’t gloat, she’s a girl and you’ll get yours later. Thirteen years will pass just like that….BWA-HAHAHAHA!!!!

          • Happy Jack can think of nothing more splendid than to look after baby Lucy. Jack and his wife have already committed to child-minding duties when she returns to work.

            Incidentally, Jack had no bother at all with his daughter as she was growing up – she was a real “Daddies girl” and he was very popular with her friends too. Being a little bit eccentric and odd excuses an awful lot. Plus, Catherine only had one boyfriend and he was from a good Catholic background and Jack monitored his attendance at Mass on a Sunday.

            As for his two sons? Don’t ask !

          • avi barzel

            ….anyway, our Carl packed way more heat and the kind that glows; he was in Strategic Air Command.

          • CliveM

            Yes, I try to stay on the good side of Carl as well!

          • avi barzel

            Oh yeah, that’s way more important. I never fired a shot in anger and we know for sure that neither did he..we’re still here. :>}

          • carl jacobs

            Avi

            Ya know… Thirteen is when the female mind exits the freeway and is never seen again. It’s all downhill from here. And without any brakes. To use a metaphor you might appreciate.

            Why can’t they stay six forever?

            [sigh]

            carl
            Who speaks from experience

          • avi barzel

            Four, I think was the best. Everything then was yes mommy, yes daddy and we were heroes to her…now it’s the maddening teenage glare, the eye rolls and the embarrassment to be seen with us…more specifically, me.

          • carl jacobs

            Avi

            Cherish the days, because eventually
            this is going to happen.

            The song is good. The song combined with the video is a masterpiece.

            carl

  • CliveM

    Two words I never thought I would see linked in the same sentence! Labour and hypocrisy.

    Who would have thought?

  • scottspeig

    Perhaps in the long-run it’ll help. As then when the “palestinians” launch rockets into Israel, they can declare war again… Oh wait, that’ll mean no change then… The only way for peace in this area (and even then unlikely) is for Israel to displace the entire Gazan strip & West Bank populace to the nearest Arab state. Then declare unilaterally that the land belongs to Israel.

    • Nick

      Violence and eviction isn’t really the only way for peace. One of the only ways for true (imperfect) peace in the UK is with a Christian revival.

      I would suggest a similar solution for Israel.

  • Nick

    Cameron has abstained from the vote. It’s the only thing he can do without alienating one side or the other. People pleaser. So much for being a Christian PM. I bet the motion gets passed and the people of Britain lose out one way or the other. It’s the only certainty. Apart from the certainty of me being horribly humiliated (as usual) 😀 Not that it’s all about me. It’s all about Israel. Obviously.

  • Gosh. The British haven’t learned that others don’t like them interfering in other people’s affairs? Well the Knesset should hold a vote on whether or not to recognise a republic of Scotland, with London as its capital. Also the Knesset should tell the British to end the illegal occupation of the Falklands. And Gibraltar.

    • Nick

      I’d be happy with that. Especially if the Knesset told us to stop the arms trade too. Sadly, I fear we may live in a Con-Dem nation a little while longer.

      • Hi Nick

        Well, when I switched off the UK parliament was debating stuff to do with the isle of Wight. More appropriate if you ask me .

        • Nick

          Don’t let it get you down Hannah. It was a depressing debate full of brinkmanship and people wanting to look good.

          • Hi Nick,

            I have my moments, but then read Deuteronomy and the Psalms during the night (Sephardic custom during this festival). I’m feeling much better now (:

  • len

    If one wanted a confrontation with the God of the Bible I suppose one of the best ways to go about that would be to agree to divide up His Land Israel. Surely only a fool would want to do that because there is no chance of ever winning !.
    God`s Covenant with Abraham still stands’ the Church’ never replaced it .
    God confirmed His Covenant with an oath’ (Hebrews 6:17). God Who cannot lie bound Himself by an oath!
    His covenant with Israel was reiterated through
    Moses, repeated by the prophets and rehearsed by the psalmists. Jesus
    Himself affirmed it (Matthew 19:28), Paul articulated it (Romans 9-11)
    and the gates of the New Jerusalem announce it forever (Revelation
    21:11-12). God has chosen Israel as His covenant people.

    • dannybhoy

      Well said Len.

    • So the political solution is ………?

      Jack doesn’t agree with your biblical interpretations or see their relevance to the State of modern Israel. And those passages from scripture hardly support your assertion that a Palestinian State would be an act against God.

      Answer Jack this: is Jesus the Christ, the long awaited Messiah, the Way. the Truth and the Life?

      “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. And whosoever shall follow this rule, peace on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.”
      (Galatians 6:15-16)

      Christians, the Church, are the “Israel of God.” Christians are the spiritual remnant of ancient Israel, expanded and multiplied and encompassing the world. This is and was always God’s plan of salvation.

      Christ fulfilled the Old Covenant, and established a New Covenant that puts us all on equal footing. He didn’t destroy the Old Covenant – he fulfilled it. The Old Covenant still remains, but is fulfilled in Christ.

      This is not “replacement theology”. This is “Olive Tree Ecclesiology” as St. Paul explained in about in Romans:11.

      • IanCad

        Jack,
        As we both know, I’m generally in agreement with Len on things theological. There is a lot of confusion and muddied thinking regarding the covenants, and on this, I think you have the right of the controversy.

        • IanCad

          I’m confusing myself. “Guest” above is me.
          I much prefer the old format.

      • len

        Jack If what you suggest were true then God is not to be trusted to keep His Word.Which is why you are in error (again)

        Rom 11:28 As far as the gospel is concerned, they (nation of Israel) are enemies
        on your account; but as far as election is concerned, they (nation of Israel)
        are loved on account of the patriarchs, for God’s gifts and his call are
        irrevocable.

        • Let’s look at how St Paul views of God’s promise to Israel: Was he wrong?

          “Such was Abraham. God made him a promise, and then took an oath (an oath by himself, since he had no greater name to swear by), in the words, More and more I will bless thee, more and more I will give thee increase; whereupon Abraham waited patiently, and saw the promise fulfilled.”

          And you missed the point of Roman’s (again)

          “In the preaching of the gospel, God rejects them, to make room for you; but in his elective purpose he still welcomes them, for the sake of their fathers;”

          Romans 11 teaches disobedient Jews are broken off of the family tree of Abraham and after the full number of the Gentiles have been grafted into Abraham’s family tree, than God will pour out His mercy on the people of Israel.

          Its all about the Olive Tree, Len. Do read Romans without wearing the glasses of Darby. The Church is Israel. The Church is Zion. The Church is the New Jerusalem. Israel and the Church are not two separate entities and to think so means you have missed one of the most fundamental teachings of St Paul.

          According to Paul, since the Abrahamic covenant is eternal, the followers of Christ are the “children of Abraham” and a part of His covenant through faith. “You must recognize, then, that Abraham’s real children are the children of his faith.” and that through faith in Christ we are “Abraham’s seed”.

          • TimeForTea

            HJ
            Len’s right on this. The Church and Israel have different origins and different destinies.

            You definitely do read a different bible to me. God would have to have renegade on his promises for the Church to be Israel.

            Chuck Missler has some good stuff I this subject if you’re interested:

            http://www.khouse.org/articles/2012/1057/

        • dannybhoy

          and,
          “11Again
          I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all!
          Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the
          Gentiles to make Israel envious.
          12But
          if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means
          riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their full
          inclusion bring!”

          Jack, St Paul was a Jew and by God’s grace became a Jew who believed that Jesus is the Messiah.
          In this letter to the church in Rome Paul demonstrates his love for his own people and God’s faithfulness in His dealings with them.
          As much as it is a mystery how a person finally comes to faith, it is the same for a Jew. God uses His people to speak the word backed up by a sanctified life full of love, and the Holy Spirit works in that person’s heart.
          I heard the Gospel many times before somehow circumstances came about through which in desperation I cried out for God and He graciously saved me.

      • dannybhoy

        “So the political solution is ………?”
        There ain’t one.
        Let’s look at the Holocaust.
        Let’s be frank.
        Man planned it, God allowed it.
        God gave man free will, man in Adam allowed Satan/the evil one/the fallen angel/Lucifer to become the god of this world. Hitler amongst many others allowed themselves to be used by him.
        Every time I watch a programme about survivors or children of the Holocaust, I am moved to tears for all those families, all those loved ones lost, all that happiness lost, all those painful, guilty angry bitter memories.
        No wonder so many Jews lost their faith in the God of Israel!
        If I as a sinner, a son of Adam, a self centred old ratbag can feel such emotion and sorrow, how much more must our Creator God?
        How much do we the Body of Christ have to accept our own failings to stand with our Jewish brethren?
        So God has done it. He has opened up a way in the wilderness and brought those traumatised, bruised and broken survivors into their ancient homeland.

        But there is no political solution with those who still hate God’s people, both Jew and Christian.

        • Danny, Happy Jack doesn’t believe the Middle East can be approached on the basis of very understandable grief over the Shoah or to state we as Christians have to unilaterally support Israel because of anti-Semitism or by imagining what outcome God might want.

          The question in 2014 is whether Israel has rights as a nation state and whether there is a solution between that state and the Palestinians. Is a two state solution viable? As a Christian, Jack just asks is there a sustainable and just settlement.

          And there will be a political solution at some point, one way or another. “War is the continuation of politics by other means.” The Palestinians and Jews will either resolve their disputes, continue fighting indefinitely or one side will finally defeat the other.

          • dannybhoy

            HJ
            Where did I say that Israel must be supported by Christians because of antisemitism?
            I said we as Christians have failed to stand by our Jewish brethren. “Standing with” does not imply “condoning”
            What that means is that we by and large either ignored or cooperated with what Hitler did.
            We know Israel has rights as a nation because she was recognised by the UN.
            There can only be a just settlement and a two state solution if Islam in the shape of Hamas truly renounces violence and destruction towards the Jewish State.
            Now Danny is taking hold of Jack’s shoulders and turning him around, back and forth, back and forth across the Islamic world and Danny asks dear old Jack,
            ” You see much peace, much tolerance, much compassion out there Grandad Jack?”
            And Jack looks Danny in the eye and answers……

          • However the secular State of Israel came about, and Jack has very considerable reservations about this dating back to the deceptions involved in the Balfour Declaration, he accepts that Israel does have rights as a nation state. If for no other reason than it has survived for over 60 years and is the settled home to millions of people.

            Is a two state solution possible? One the one hand, you argue Israel’s right as a state is referenced as being legitimised by UN recognition. One the other hand, the authority of the UN on certain key issues is dismissed by Israel itself. The fact is the British mandate expired without agreement and Israel, granted the right of territory under the terms of the mandate, demonstrated its capacity to exist.

            Jack doubts very much Islam, as currently configured, politically and theologically, will ever accept a Jewish State in its midst. He also doubts Islam will change over this.
            A just outcome would be a two State solution. It does seem unrealistic. If this is unachievable, the problem arises over what to do with all the Palestinians living in Gaza, the Westbank and East Jerusalem.

          • dannybhoy

            ” One the one hand, you argue Israel’s right as a state as being legitimised by UN recognition…”
            Dannybhoy does not argue..he pontiff icates!

            “One the other hand, the authority of the UN on certain key issues is dismissed by Israel itself.”
            As is the case with many member states of the UN – especially when national interests are involved. Loads of examples, Tibet of course, Sri Lanka, human rights in China…

            So we agree. When I was living in Israel I worked with Palestinians, got lifts from Palestinians and worshipped with Christian Arabs. I most certainly understood the resentment (this was in the early ’70’s) and at that time the Israelis were actively trying to build bridges with Palestinians through all kinds of agricultural, cultural and educational programmes.
            I had no answer then to their legitimate grievances, and their feeling that the State of Israel had been imposed on them.

            I think the problems could be more easily understood in the context of the historical relationship between Islam, Judaism and Christianity with the (western) establishment of the secular State of Israel as the flashpoint.
            I would say that things are far worse now than they were in my time.

  • Hi ,

    Right now Kurdish fighters are trying to defend a city against Hamas cousin IS, if that city falls 12,000 people really will be slaughtered . The Kurds have more of a legal and moral claim to a state, but that gets ignored. Is it because unlike Palestine there are no Israelis or Jews to demonise about “occupations” (and guess Muslim on Muslim violence rather undermines the Palestinian story that it’s all Zionisms fault etc?). The British should learn that Jews no longer wish to be Islamic dhimmi’s , but to be free in the land of Zion and Jerusalem. The MPs also should read the treaty of san remo, when talking about illegal occupations. Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and no Israeli government would be able to abandon it to the terrorists. It’s all very well recognising a state, but can state normally requires 1 government, which Palestine doesn’t have… but I guess Hamas are freedom fighters to some of the useful idiot politicians

    • dannybhoy

      Go for it Hannah. The Kurds are denied a State because they have nothing to offer and the West does not want to upset sensibilities with (especially) NATO partner and prospective EU member, Turkey.
      That’s my take on it anyway. The West are disgracefully using the Kurds, but what alternative do the Kurds have but to go along with it?
      ” The British should learn that Jews no longer wish to be Islamic dhimmi’s , but to be free in the land of Zion and Jerusalem.”
      But I think we British (and that includes you Hannah DO realise that is the case. If anything British politicians are only now waking up to the threat within our own borders.

      • On days like today I don’t feel very British. But hey ho, life moves on and the great and good have made themselves feel better with this debate.

        • dannybhoy

          It has been obvious for some years that the increase of Islamic immigration into Europe and now America was affecting the stance of Western politicians towards the Middle East.
          It is part of the reason I personally am against multiculturalism because it weakens the ability of a nation to act in its own best sovereign interests, and pushes it towards making decisions of expediency.
          Politicians -especially modern ones, are the last people we should look to for courageous leadership.

          • Hi Danny

            Well the big looser in all of this is ed Miliband, who once again has egg on his face. I don’t know why he used the 3 line whip. A lot of pro Israeli Labour MPs were told not to vote at all if they disagreed with the symbolic vote, which has left them unhappy and on the other side, there were conservatives who were visiting Israel, so not even half of the MPs voted. It might look like a propaganda coup for Palestine, but won’t change government policy or Israeli policy either.

    • CliveM

      Never underestimate the depths of stupidity a politician can sink. It doesn’t matter how stupid you think they are, they will always be willing to show you that you’ve overestimated them.

  • Once they’ve done Palestine, will they be voting to recognise Tibet?

    • CliveM

      And Catalonia!

  • Uncle Brian

    Only twelve votes against? How pathetic.

    • Interesting number …

    • CliveM

      Most abstained. I am curious as to why. One thing it achieved I suppose is it have the vote less moral authority then it would have had if there had been a narrow victory.

    • IanCad

      Utterly disgusting. We are ruled by spoiled brats.

      • IanCad

        I hate this new format.
        Guest is me!

  • len

    It really will not matter in the end what man says about ‘the rights’ of anyone to own the Land of Israel or how the land is divided. The Creator will have the last Word and those squabbling over’ Land Rights’ will have to justify the position they have taken.

  • len

    The two State’ solution ‘is seen by many as the solution to some sort of peace in the Middle East but this will not happen because the intentions of the Arabs are not ‘peaceful’. The West fails to understand this and the ‘two state solution’ is just a further move to completely’ remove Israel from the map’. ‘
    “.June 2007 marked the 40th anniversary of the Six Day War. For four
    decades we have been told that the cause of the anger, violence and
    terror against Israel is its occupation of the territories seized in
    that war. End the occupation and the “cycle of violence” ceases. The
    problem with this claim was that before Israel came into possession of
    the West Bank and Gaza in the Six Day War, every Arab state had rejected
    Israel’s right to exist and declared Israel’s pre-1967 borders — now
    deemed sacred — to be nothing more than the armistice lines suspending,
    and not ending, the 1948-49 war to exterminate Israel. But you don’t
    have to be a historian to understand the intention of Israel’s enemies.
    The issue is, and has always been, Israel’s existence. That is what is
    at stake” (Charles Krauthammer).

    • dannybhoy

      Good points Len.
      “The West fails to understand this and the ‘two state solution’ is just a
      further move to completely’ remove Israel from the map’.”
      It occurs to me (don’t know what others think) that this is not just a sly betrayal of the only democratic and liberal nation in the Middle East.
      It is another nail in the coffin of democracy and our Judaeo/Christian heritage in the United Kingdom.
      I have no doubts that the same Lord God who brought the remnant of His ancient people back to the land He gave them, will also protect them. Regardless of what the West does.

      • Nicodemus

        Good points db.

        And I have no doubt that the same Lord God who brought judgment and sent His people into exile to learn a lesson or two has the same plan for the Western nations. How my heart cries in pain out for the British and European peoples who have become so darkened in their understanding.

        • dannybhoy

          I agree. “To whom much has been given will much be required”
          We are witnessing the wasting away of Western power. This is the pattern of human striving and decline but in my opinion I believe God is always willing to put His immutable plans on hold when His people repent and cry out for revival. His plans will eventually come to pass but like Lot we can repent and we can plead.
          Let’s get it in perspective.
          The Great God of the Universe, He who spoke worlds into being and made this amazing universe loves US! He wants to fellowship with us as a Father, and comfort us as a Mother hen with her chicks…
          What a beautiful picture!

          • Nicodemus

            Two sides of the same coin, I think.

          • dannybhoy

            Quite so.