Thursday, 21 June 2007

Is It Nothing To You, All Ye Who Pass By?

On last night's Moral Maze, I was most surprised to hear Steven Rose say that he would not appear on an edition of that programme if it featured a witness from the BNP, since I distinctly remember him splendidly wiping the floor with the BNP's "Dr Phil Edwards" (whose real name is Dr Stuart Russell) over genetics and "race" a while back.

But nowhere near as surprised as I was when Melanie Phillips informed us that she "cannot get published", and that her neoconservative position (although she didn't actually use the n-word) struggled to secure a hearing in Britain. Thus spoke Melanie Phillips, of the Daily Mail and The Moral Maze!

Which brings me to my promise to Neal yesterday that I would post something on how, effective though the Zionist lobby in the US certainly is, it is an amateur operation compared the one in Britain. Zionism and neoconservatism are connected, of course; indeed, although one can (or, at least, one used to be able to) profess the former but not the latter, one cannot (never ever could) profess the latter but not the former.

And just look at the British neocons, by definition Zionists all. Take out every copy of the Times, the Daily Telegraph, the Daily Mail and the Sun, and just how many newspapers are actually bought in Britain on any given weekday? Not very many at all. Yet how many Telegraph or Mail readers, in particular, really are as pro-American or as pro-Israeli as all that? Quite a lot, no doubt. But, equally doubtless, quite a lot most certainly are not.

Ah, you may counter, what about the BBC? Well, what about it? Particularly on the mighty Radio Four, much of its coverage of the Middle East now seems to consist of extended discussions (not least featuring Melanie Phillips) of allegations of bias on its own part. A recent internal report of its own referred to the disproportionate representation of "ethnic minorities" in its upper echelons. Yet, especially strikingly for a London-based organisation, those serving the food and drink or those mopping floors are the only "ethnic minorities" in evidence at the BBC. Apart from one, that is.

And then there is political influence. Both main parties are completely controlled by neocons. Zionism's most energetic British proponent and benefactor bankrolls the ruling party within the Labour Party, not least by means of an illegal slush fund selling seats in the very legislature, a flagrant criminal offence for which he was long ago arrested but with which, astonishingly, he has still yet to be charged. And the overwhelming majority of Tory MPs (including David Cameron and most, if not all, of the Shadow Cabinet) is now made up of members of Conservative Friends of Israel, whose website denies the existence of the Palestinians as a people while using and advocating the vocabulary of "Disputed Territories" instead of "Occupied Territories", positions now abandoned by most Israeli Jews themselves, never having been held by many of them. Meanwhile, the same tendency is on the rise in the third party, too.

All in all, then, it is no wonder that the Blair Government has been significantly more Zionist than the Bush Administration. Bush has little to commend him in international affairs, but it is largely thanks to him that the idea that there might ever again be no semblance of a Palestinian state is now simply off the agenda. Left to Blair, Brown, Cameron, Osborne and those with whom they are surrounded, that agenda would still be dominated by that idea, regardless of the opinions of Israelis themselves. Such is the power of the British Zionist lobby, the mightiest in the world, including in America, and even including in Israel.


  1. David,

    Most American observers disagree with you, believing that your country is less than supportive of Israel and, at the same time, obsessively in support of the political program called Palestinianism - which is something different than wanting to help actual Palestinian Arabs -, rather than interest in resolving the dispute.

    I note that were the pro-Israeli lobby really to have influence and power you see, Israel's situation would be far different. They would have British and American troops doing their dirty work, fighting Hamas and Hezbollah and Fatah and forcing Palestinian Arabs to give up their dreams.

    That, of course, is not happening. What is happening is that those who support Israel have some influence but other groups, most notably the Saudis and other Gulf state countries, have far greater influence.

    In fact, judging from your country's papers, that influence, most particularly from Saudi Arabia, includes the government shutting down investigations of bribery and other criminal activity because such an investigation might jeopardize lucrative deals with Saudi Arabia. Such ought to inform you who jumps to what paymaster.

    I might also note that all of the European countries have followed the same path, trading lucrative contracts for support of the Arab League position on the Arab Israeli dispute. Arabs, in fact, have a whole lot more money, all told, to throw at Europeans than do Israel's supporters.

    As for your point that Jews do not hold the job of sweeper and the like, you should applaud that Jews have educated their young so that they contribute to society and are not a burden on society. You, evidently, find that troubling.

    Again, David: Why your dislike of Zionism? Why your dislike of Israel? Why your attempt to find a conspiracy in ordinary lobbying activities? It all seems pretty irrational and silly.

    Regarding the use of terminology, the term "occupation" is a legal term, not a description of the situation. The reality is that there is a dispute about the land. Calling it an occupation or disputed land, however, does not alter the reality on the ground. The problem ought, if it can, be solved. If not, we shall all have to live with it.

  2. On the so-called corruption that isn't (it's just a Labour Government doing what a Labour Government is supposed to do, albeit surprisingly, and rather late in the day), see

    Everything that I set out is entirely factual: almost every newspaper actually bought in Britain on a daily basis is very strongly pro-Israel to an extent abandoned by most Israeli Jews themselves, and never held at all by many of them.

    The BBC only looks pro-Palestinian compared to that view, the same view that controls the governing party's central apparatus, dominates the parliamentary section of the main opposition party, and is on the rise within the third party.

    Of course I applaud the success of British Jews. Their prominence both in journalism and in the organisational side of entertainment is how they came to be so prominent in the BBC. Which they are, as the BBC itself says (even if it chooses, for some unknown reason, to employ the euphemism of "ethnic minorities"), and as anyone observing it can see. Tell that to Fox News!

    And again I say that there has been nothing strikingly pro-Israel about the Bush Administration. For all his other faults, Bush is (even if this is not saying much) the best President of the United States that the Palestinians have ever had.

  3. Oh, and I don't knwo how I let this one go before: it is jaw-dropping to be accused by an American of over-friendliness with Saudi Arabia!

    Saudi Arabia is America's closest ally in the world, and vice versa; while the principal beneficiary of the BAE money was one of George W Bush's closest personal fiends, Prince Bandar, "Bandar Bush".

  4. David,

    According to you, the papers in Britain are pro-Israel. Is The Guardian pro-Israel? Is The Independent pro-Israel? Did The Times not claim, without a shred of evidence - only the allegation of one person - that Israel had massacred Palestinian Arabs at Jenin? To note: not one major American paper so asserted. All noted that such was alleged but that there was no corroboration. The BBC also asserted a massacre only, later, to eat crow on it.

    Now, the fact is that your country is obsessed with Israel. The fact is that you are as well. The US, by contrast, has maintained close to the same policy since the 1970's.

  5. Oh, your last statement is completely false. Bush's real reaction to 9/11 was two-fold: he withdrew his father's troops from Saudi Arabia (America's closest ally in the world anyway, never mind under a Bush), and he declared himself in favour of a Palestinian state, making him the first President ever to use the term while in office.

    Thus, to give him his due, he secured the American homeland, on which there has been no subsequent attack in nearly six years and counting.

    But then, look at the actions of his predecessors: which administration, exactly, has ever been as pro-Israel as Europeans tend to assert is the default American position, and as you would cleraly like to be the American default position?

    How many people read the Guardian or the Independent, compared to the Daily Telegraph, the Daily Mail or the Sun? Let me tell you that it's not very many.

    And at least the newspapers in the second category report these matters, albeit from a pro-Israeli perspective. The US seems to have some sort of blackout. If you can explain this except in terms of who owns the media there, then I'd be fascinated to hear that explanation, I'm afraid.

    And the BBC doesn't "eat crow". Ever. That's just not the BBC. If you don't believe me, ask Tony Blair...