By Jessica Elgot
December 9, 2011
Conservative MEP Sir Robert Atkins has apologised for a blog he wrote after a recent visit to Gaza.
“Pressure must be exerted on Israel and her diaspora to realise that what they are doing in Palestine generally, and Gaza specifically, is not only illegal under international law but is also inhumane."
Infuriating to be sure, but these days such language seems unsurprising. No-one, except the JC and some notable bloggers ever seems to call officials out on language like this any more.
When the Paul Flynn MP remarks about Jewish British ambassador to Israel Matthew Gould's "dual loyalty" were finally reported elsewhere, contributors to the comment box often failed to understand why his comments were so offensive.
But, showing how this job hardens you, it was not that comment I found the most infuriating. It is the following, which must be evidence that Sir Robert Atkins does not inhabit the same planet as the rest of us.
The chief objective of our delegation was a visit to and detailed exchange of views with members of the Palestine Legislative Council. This was at the Parliament’s Headquarters and comprised representatives of all the political parties...
They fail to comprehend how other aspirant states in the world can have their causes supported but, because of some countries’ collective guilt over Israel, fear of or support for the USA or sheer refusal to acknowledge Israel’s intransigence over peace negotiations, Palestine is always the guilty party and forgotten or ignored.
Shall we try that again? "They fail to comprehend how other aspirant states in the world can have their causes supported...but Palestine is...forgotten or ignored."
What on earth are you talking about, Sir Robert? Palestinian issues are not forgotten or ignored, ESPECIALLY compared to the causes of other countries.
Judge the various merits of each cause as you will, but I cannot remember the last time I read another story about a population's struggle for independence, from the Basques, Catalan nationalism, Kurdish independence to the Free Papua movement, Taiwanese or Tibetan independence to Cornish nationalism. In fact this map shows how much coverage the Middle East gets (in the Guardian) compared to practically any other region in the world.
Perhaps Sir Robert doesn't read the news?