November 11, 2010
Lord Andrew Phillips of Sudbury has made a remarkable intervention on the Jewish Chronicle website.
Last week Lord Phillips spoke at a Palestine Solidarity Campaign event at Parliament. The title of the event was Gaza – Eyewitness reports from the Viva Palestina convoy, Parliamentary delegations, and Westminster University Architects
Jonathan Hoffman blogged Lord Phillips’ speech that night.
Lord Phillips has blogged back as follows:
“I have just had drawn to my attention a contribution made to The JC.com website on 3rd November by Jonathan Hoffman. It comments on a short speech I made at a PSC meeting last week. It does not report what I said fairly, or accurately (sadly, not for the first time in the JC as far as I am concerned.)
I will not try the patience of the readers of this blog (and my own!) by detailing all his studied distortions. One example, taken from the start of his piece, may serve to give the flavour.
He states that I said “I do believe in the right of Israel to exist”, he adding “Well thanks buddy – and France? Germany? England?”
In fact I emphasised that I believe “passionately” in the right of Israel to exist in freedom and security, adding that I believed in a similar right for Palestine. I did not also say, but could have, that I volunteered to fight for Israel in 1973.
Israel is in my view destroying its long-term security and harmony inter alia and particularly by its military occupation and colonisation of the West Bank (now extending to 42% of that territory, according to the latest Foreign Office estimate).
I will not be deterred from speaking out against that self-defeating, provocative and illegal policy, and its awful impact on the Palestinians.“
The only alleged distortion Lord Phillips chooses to go on, so as not to try our patience you understand, is about Israel’s right to exist.
He is silent on Hoffman quoting him as saying, “Europe cannot think straight about Israel because of the Holocaust and America is in the grip of the well-organised Jewish lobby”.
Making suggestions of Jewish power, an anti-Semitic trope, is bad enough but invoking the Holocaust so gratuitously at a meeting which has nothing to do with the Holocaust is a particularly low way of gaining an audience’s attention.
Someone who feels the need to invoke 6,000,000 innocent dead souls at a political rally is totally lacking in moral integrity.
People really don’t care whether Lord Phillips thinks Israel should exist or not or whether he keeps wishing to speak out against Israeli policy. It is his right and no one will try to stop him.
He is a Liberal Democrat after all and it is an unofficial Liberal Democrat policy, and one it definitely won’t renege on, to bash Israel publicly.
But either Lord Phillips really doesn’t want to try our patience, as he claims, and he didn’t speak of a “Jewish lobby” and gratuitously invoke the Holocaust or his deafening silence on these matters is an admission that he did.
If it is the latter then he should make a public apology.
So, Lord Phillips, which is it? Our patience are all yours to try.