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Thursday, September 28, 2006

These terrible events

Melanie Phillips deservedly takes British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett to task for a speech she made at the British Labour party convention:
It was the speech of someone who seemed to have nothing original or even half-way thoughtful to say about anything. But one paragraph in particular caught my eye. Referring to the Middle East, she said, amongst other vapidities, this:

No doubt there will be yet again those whose goal is to obstruct the prospect of peace. Because let’s not forget in the welter of accusation and counter-accusation it was the desire to obstruct such progress that led directly to the terrible events of the summer in Palestine and the Lebanon.

Excuse me? ‘Terrible events of the summer in Palestine and the Lebanon’? What about the terrible events of the summer in Israel, the country that was actually attacked from Lebanon and from Gaza — which is presumably what Ms Beckett means by ‘Palestine’? What about the terrible 4000 rockets that rained down during August on Israel’s northern towns in order to kill as many innocent Israelis as possible, the terrible deaths and injuries that did take place among the Israelis, the terrible flight of hundreds of thousands from the north of Israel, the terrible hardship of those trapped in shelters for a month? No acknowledgement of any of this issued from the lips of Britain’s Foreign Secretary. No acknowledgement that Israel only attacked Lebanon and Gaza because it had been attacked. No, the only ‘terrible events’ were those caused by Israel in self-defence. More remarkably still, Ms Beckett made no mention of Israel at all in respect of this war. There was no indication that Israel had been defending itself at all, let alone doing so ‘disproportionately’, because it wasn’t even mentioned in connection with these ‘terrible events’. It was simply absent from the picture — except, of course, for those ‘terrible events’ in Lebanon and Gaza, whose unstated authorship hovered like a baleful spectre over Ms Beckett’s typescript.

We know that the British intelligentsia, the British left and an alarming proportion of the British public either propagate or have uncritically swallowed the Big Lie about Israel’s aggression in general and the false view of the Lebanon war in particular (see earlier posts). But Ms Beckett is the Foreign Secretary in the government of Tony Blair, supposedly the best friend Israel has in Europe.

It seems to me that Ms. Beckett thinks that Prime Minister Blair has resigned already and is trying to set up her own future in the British Labour party. If so, and if in fact Ms. Beckett reflects the party's direction in the post-Blair era, that's a sad comment on the direction that party is taking.

Read it all.


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