May 2, 2010
So there are some filthy viral emails circulating telling people not to vote Lib Dem for various utterly spurious reasons. Many Jewish people have contacted me to say how offended they are by this rubbish and how they most certainly intend to ignore the lies and vote Lib Dem. Some of the emails claim that a particular person is a donor to the Liberal Democrats (he isn't) and that his organisation organised a fundraising dinner for Nick Clegg (the dinner was not a fundraiser). Some of the emails say things about British Muslims and British Arabs, which, if they were said about British Jews, would lead us, quite rightly, to say that the emails were antisemitic. Many people have said that they are glad that this JC interview http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/31105/nick-clegg-the-full-jc-interview gave Nick Clegg an opportunity to give a real acount of his views, contrary to the lies in these ridiculous emails.
Some of the filthy viral emails also comment about a particular article that Nick Clegg wrote for The Guardian. Here (http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/jan/07/nick-clegg-israel-ga...) is the article, in which Nick Clegg called for an arms embargo on Israel. Read it carefully and judge for yourself. I myself do not support an arms embargo on Israel, although I strongly agree with my party's policies on tightening up the UK arms trade more generally, which are in our manifesto.
I do, however, believe that "Israel has every right to defend itself. It is difficult to imagine what it must be like to live with the constant threat of rocket attacks from a movement which espouses terrorist violence and denies Israel's right to exist."
I also believe that the EU must "apply tough conditions on any long-term assistance to the Palestinian community."
I believe strongly that the "removal of the EU presence on the Egypt border in response to Hamas's election, for example, has made it easier for the rockets being fired at Israel to get into Gaza in the first place. An EU mission with a serious mandate and backing from Egypt and Israel would help Israel deal proportionately and effectively with the threat from weapons smuggling."
There are no limits to the extent that I believe that to "secure peace in the Middle East, Hamas must turn its back on terrorism, and help create Palestinian unity. Only unified leadership in the West Bank and Gaza can offer Israel the security guarantees that it rightly seeks."
And may I say that when it comes to Israel, "I have the country's long term interest at heart. No terrorist organisation has ever been defeated by bombs alone. Only a new approach will secure lasting peace for Israel itself."
I say all that as a British Jew with close family living in Israel. So, where do all those quotes come from? They come from the same article by Nick Clegg - the same Guardian article - in which he called for the arms embargo. It is in light of those quoted remarks that I feel able to remain a strong Lib Dem supporter of Nick Clegg on Israel issues, even if I don't personally support an arms embargo.
Oh, and if you want to know what I thought about the Gaza war, here's what I wrote publicly at the time: http://www.libdemvoice.org/opinion-israel-has-no-option-but-to-defend-it....