July 28, 2010

Friend of Israel befriends Turkey and Gaza

David Cameron is (or was) in Turkey yesterday and he must have pleased his Turkish hosts with all he had to say. For example, The Independent reports that he made a "ferocious attack on Israel":
In comments that will play well in Turkey, Mr Cameron frankly addressed the situation in Gaza. Speaking to business leaders in Ankara, Mr Cameron condemned Israel's land and sea blockade of Gaza, aimed at weakening the Islamist group Hamas, which seized control of the strip in 2007.

"Let me be clear that the situation in Gaza has to change," said Mr Cameron, reiterating comments that he made earlier to the House of Commons. "Gaza cannot and must not be allowed to remain a prison camp."

Turkey's Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, applauded Mr Cameron's words, and repeated his condemnation of the flotilla assault in international waters, comparing it to Somali piracy.

Israel's relations with Turkey, already strained after the 2008-2009 Gaza conflict, further deteriorated when Israeli commandos boarded the lead ship of a flotilla aimed at breaching the Gaza blockade. Israeli troops killed nine activists, mostly Turks, prompting an international outcry.

Mr Cameron yesterday reiterated earlier comments that the attack was "unacceptable" and called for a "swift, transparent and rigorous" investigation of the raid.
Interesting stuff. Remember that documentary some months ago where Peter Oborne bemoaned the power of the lobby, you know which lobby, over the Tory party? Former Jewish Chronicle journo now with the Daily Telegraph, Julian Kossoff remembers it:
Last year a Channel 4 documentary sought to prove that the “wealthy Jewish lobby” (yawn) were Conservative Party paymasters. If that was the case they should now ask for a refund. David Cameron has blindsided the Conservative friends of Israel and the Israeli government by calling Gaza a “prison camp” and saying the Gaza flotilla raid was “completely unacceptable”. Hopes that he would be an uncritical friend have now rapidly dissolved.

The Prime Minister has revealed that his policy towards Israel will be carrot-and-stick. Last week there was jubilation over the lifting of thethreat of war crimes prosecutions of Israeli politicians and military leaders. Now this very public dressing down will leave Jerusalem fuming; the Israelis may even detect the hand of President Obama.

But the fact is not even Israel’s greatest allies can stomach the more brutal aspects of Israel’s conflict with Hamas. Israel’s leaders may not be able to distinguish between terrorists and innocent civilians but the rest of the world thinks it can – and it won’t countenance the continued, pointless suffering, any longer.

That doesn’t mean the likes of Cameron and Obama are “anti-Israel” (or even more ridiculous, anti-Semitic) or that they want to jeopardise its security. Both men’s commitment to the future of the Jewish state is unquestionable, they just want Israel to show a little more compassion. And so do I.

The question here is just how imperative is Israel's lack of compassion to the zionist project? Violence has always served Israel very well. But Cameron's speech and Kossoff's article in the most pro-Israel of the broadsheets on-line both go to show how far Israel's star has fallen in the eyes of its western supporters in recent years. Long may it continue, but not too long I hope.

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