By Geoffrey Paul
April 11, 2010
It was impossible, of course, for the Mother of Parliaments to go into pre-election recess without finding the opportunity for some parting salvoes fired in the direction of Israel. The Noble Lords set aside time for what they desctibe as "a short debate" sparked by a question from Lord Dykes of Harrow Weald (once Hugh Dykes MP who flip-flopped from the Tories to the Lib Dems and whose expenses claims - according to the SundayTimes - are based on the fact that his main home is in, wait for it, Normandy). His Lordship's question: "To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will make representations to the Government of Israel regarding their duties under internatiomal law and the road map for peace?"
This presented the opportunity for some of those who never are averse to putting in the boot to have their knee-jerk reaction to the very appearance on the Order Paper of the name of Israel. There were one or two who tried to maintain a balanced view, no more. What was plain was the paucity of Jewish peers (it being the last day of Pesach) who could attend at the House to speak in Israel's favour. Lord Haskell was one. Lady Deech (Ruth Deech as was) was another and she was impressively to the point, not least in querying why Lord Dykes had raised the issue of Israel yet again. This is the Hansard record of her opening remarks:
"My Lords, it is customary to congratulate a noble Lord on securing a debate on an important and topical subject.Unusually, on this occasion I am not certain that there is anything singular about the debate. We have had 143 Questions in this House about Israel in the past 12 months. On my rough count, the noble Lord, Lord Dykes, has put down more than 40 since the start of 2009. Indeed, he has asked 193 Questions on this subject, and initiated three debates, since he entered the House. One may well wonder what effect these have had and why his party’s Weltanschauung is so narrow. I imagine that the suffering people of Zimbabwe, Burma, North Korea, the Western Sahara and Tibet would welcome similar attention to the minutiae of their oppression. Before anyone says that Israel should be held to a higher standard, let me say that the rule of law applies to all equally. It is not right to apply a higher standard to some and let off others who abuse human rights with a lower standard."
Powerful stuff, yes? You can read the rest of her speech, the whole debate in fact, by going to: