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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Richard Kemp speaks to British - Israel Conference

I trust that many of you remember Richard Kemp, the British army officer who famously said
"During its operation in Gaza, the Israeli Defence Forces did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in a combat zone than any other army in the history of warfare."
In March, Kemp spoke at the British - Israel Conference, but for some reason his speech has only been published now. Here is some of it.
Lieutenant Paul Mervis was a Jewish soldier.

He grew up in London, and was educated at King’s College School Wimbledon. He spent a gap year in Israel, studying Hebrew. During his service in Afghanistan, His sister Hannah and brother Jack sent him a provisions parcel with matzah and dried chicken soup so that he could mark the Passover festival while on duty. Paul carried a 1936 issue Soldier’s Siddur which had previously belonged to Sergeant Dave Newman, a Jewish soldier who fought in the Battle of El Alamein in World War II.

It would have been equally possible for Paul to have opted to join the Israeli Defence Forces to realise his soldierly ambitions, as do so many young British Jewish men and women. In fact he did undergo training with the IDF during his gap year before joining the British Army.

But had he joined the IDF, instead of developing into a brave, dedicated military leader concerned for the welfare of his men and taking every conceivable step to protect the civilian population, would Paul Mervis have become a callous, brutal thug, haphazardly dropping white phosphorous into the houses of innocent civilians? Would Paul Mervis have deliberately and without qualms killed women and children? Would Paul Mervis have blown up schools, raked ambulances with machinegun fire?

No. No. No. Because that image of the Israeli Defence Forces is horribly false.

This malevolent portrayal of the Israeli Defence Forces is carefully and systematically planned, cultivated, developed, expanded and relentlessly driven forward. It is the key part of what amounts to nothing less than a pernicious and increasingly dangerous global conspiracy of propaganda aimed at the total delegitimization of the state of Israel. A conspiracy that has so far exceeded in its international scope, anything dreamt of even by that master of propaganda, Dr Josef Goebbels himself, spreading the idea that Israel is so evil that it has no right even to exist, aiming for the point where that idea becomes an acceptable, mainstream argument in our societies.
Read the whole thing.

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