The Bigger Picture: The City in the Global Village


Israel's existence founded on Palestine's Non-Existence

We are very aware these days of the danger we face from Islamic fundamentalism. We know we are under constant threat of terrorist attack from Islamic fundamentalists. But what about Jewish fundamentalism? Are there any Jewish fundamentalists plotting terrorist attacks on British soil? I don't believe so. Yet Jewish fundamentalism is a threat to us.

Israel presents itself to the Western democracies as itself a model Western-style democracy; as an island of democracy in a sea of Arab dictatorships. The United States, which in turn presents itself to the world as the champion of democracy and the policeman of 'freedom-loving peoples' to quote George Bush, leads the way in accepting Israel's view of itself.

Meanwhile, Britain, which under Tony Blair's premiership, has tied itself uncritically to US foreign policy, finds itself in the same position of apologist for Israel. Tony Blair's refusal to call for an immediate ceasefire in the recent war between Israel and Hezbollah, his again identifying Britain with the US, is further confirmation, if we needed it.

Blair, of course, seems to think that he is able to influence US foreign policy for the good by sticking close to Bush; that he is the tail that can wag the US dog. But that is a piece of self-deception. Rather he has been a patsy for Bush.

In its editorial of 9th September 2006 the Israeli newspaper Haaretz puts it plainly: "The person most damaged so far by George Bush's policy of waging war on the axis of evil is Tony Blair, his unwavering partner. Now, the British leader is about to pay with his job for the war in Iraq and support of Israel."

The government of Israel today is, and for some time past now has been, dominated by Jewish fundamentalism and Zionist ultra-nationlism. Britain must be scrupulously even handed in its policy towards Israel-Palestine and that means taking a critical stance on the so-called Western democracy of the Jewish state. Britain must not be an apologist for Israeli aggression and expansionism. Every time it acts as apologist for Israel it condemns itself in the eyes of the Arab and Muslim worlds - which are populated by people who are only too aware of the death and destruction that Israel exacts on the Palestinians on a daily basis.

We hear unceasingly in Israel's defence that it is fighting for its very existence - without any recognition that Israel has been denying existence to Palestine and Palestinians for many decades.

To recognise one claim while denying or, which amounts to the same thing, of remaining silent and passive about the other is to damage the very concept of Western democracy and to give pretext to Islamic fundamentalism.