By Jonathan Hoffman
July 28, 2010
David Cameron’s comments in Ankara were crass, ignorant and inexcusable and he has been rightly pilloried by Melanie Phillips and others. It seems that the FCO Camel Corps got to him quickly.
Forget the exhortations to the EU to admit Turkey as a member. That was said in the full knowledge that it isn’t going to happen any time soon and was completely transparent gesture politics. One gesture was a kiss blown in the direction of everyone's friend Obama, the second a two-fingered utterly cynical gesture towards France and Germany, who effectively blocked Turkey’s EU entry years ago. This gesture was designed to curry favour for UK businesses and parts of the UK Muslim and Middle East Arab lobbies alike.
No, it was the comments about Israel that were so mind-blowingly ill-informed.
Cameron said “the Israeli attack on the Gaza flotilla was completely unacceptable” and went on to refer to Gaza as a “prison camp”.
Israeli troops tried to board the Marmara peacefully after it ignored many warnings not to head to the Gaza Strip. Cameron forgets that five boats docked peacefully in Ashdod. Only the Marmara disobeyed the warnings. But then it was full of Turkish-backed IHH terrorists who wanted (and we have the recording) to perpetrate terror against Israel.
Cameron also forgets that those armed terrorists on the Marmara who attempted to lynch and kidnap the Israeli commandos who boarded the boat and who did not use violence until they themselves were attacked.
As for Gaza being a ‘prison camp’ (with the implication from the context that it is Israel’s fault) – why does Cameron ignore the thousands of tons of food and necessities that go into Gaza every week? And the sick who come out to be treated at Israeli hospitals? The only reason why free movement is not permitted between Gaza and Israel is because of Hamas terror in Gaza. It is not Israel who throws Fatah members blindfolded off roofs to a certain death. And it is not Israel who is holding Gilad Shalit and depriving him of everything to which he is entitled as a Prisoner of War -- It is Hamas.
As one who campaigned for the Conservatives I believe they are the party that will be the fairest for Israel. But this Cameron speech hardly fills me with confidence.
UPDATE: I may have maligned the FCO who reportedly were as surprised as anyone to see the Cameron comments about Israel. It seems that Obama may have been the one who fed him the drivel -- and that he willingly swallowed...