Dear Sir

George Galloway’s anti Israeli invective is only the latest outburst from this veteran demagogue of the left. In an interview 3 years ago in Egypt, Galloway talked of an impending ‘Anglo-American-Israeli’ attack on Iraq and in the same breath declared that Tony Blair was running a ‘Zionist government’. Then to fully establish his anti Zionist credentials, he condemned the Balfour Declaration as ‘the original sin’, asserting that it was the ‘cause of all the problems in the region.’ What is one to make of these comments? Firstly, as Louise Ellman commented, they reveal the depth of his hostility to Jewish self determination. Second, his remarks are couched in the language of the racist conspiracy theory, revealing more about his own prejudices than the realities of Middle Eastern conflict.

But there is another strand to his warped thinking which should not go unnoticed. In the past, he has described Israel as an ‘imperial asset’ of the West. This ties in with his recent comments about the ‘Zionist exploitation’ of Jews, suggesting that Israel is a mere tool of Western powers. For 30 years, Galloway has launched a vicious tirade against America, Western capitalism and the interests of ‘rich and powerful’ states. His alternative paradise is the totalitarian state that stands up to American power while oppressing its own citizens. For this reason he has saluted Saddam Hussein and bitterly attacked the fall of the Soviet Union. As a successful Western style democracy and a powerful military force, Israel is everything Galloway hates. Its very success is a humiliating slap in the face for the militant left. So while Galloway’s intransigent anti Zionism speaks for itself, there is another dimension to his distorted thinking which should not be ignored. Mayor Livingstone certainly understands.

WILL THE MCB CHANGE? 04 September 2005

Dear Sir

It is futile expecting the Muslim Council of Britain to ‘take a stand’ and denounce acts of terror in Israel (Letters 2nd September). The simple reason is that they are not a ‘moderate’ Muslim group as we are so often told. They refuse to attend Holocaust Memorial Day on the spurious grounds that it fails to encompass suffering in ‘Palestine, Chechnya and Kashmir.’ There is no mention of the Khmer Rouge, the massacre of the Herero or Saddam’s gassing of the Kurds. The cases the MCB choose do not involve genocide but reflect their obsession with Muslim death at the hands of non Muslims, regardless of context or history. The killing of Muslims of any description is viewed as a crime against humanity and, unsurprisingly, the Muslim oppression of non Muslims is airbrushed from history. In the context of the Arab-Israeli conflict, a simple black and white picture suffices. Israel is the oppressor and the Palestinians the helpless victims who are forced, poor souls, to blow themselves up. Sir Iqbal Sacranie pretends to condemn all terrorism yet happily attends a memorial service for Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, the spiritual founder of Hamas. To the MCB, the Sheikh’s gory cult of death and bloodshed is apparently mere ‘resistance’. For a group with such a blinkered mindset, there is little point in hoping that their statements will become more moderate or balanced. So will the MCB condemn the killing of an innocent Jew in Jerusalem? Not likely.


Dear Sir

While Ken Livingstone and Jenny Tonge have each launched shameful diatribes against Israel, they are only the supreme examples of today’s ‘useful idiots.’ If common wisdom is anything to go by, Palestine and Iraq are the root causes of modern terror. If only these ‘occupations’ could cease, Al-Qaeda would pack up shop and disappear into Middle Eastern obscurity. Furthermore we are repeatedly told the 7th July attacks have nothing to do with Islam. This all reflects a growing culture of denial, deeply entrenched among Britain’s Muslim leaders, which views terrorism as a political protest against Western foreign policy. This ethnic grievance culture is supported by a left wing consensus according to which Muslim ‘anger’ must first be assuaged in order to stamp out the menace of terror. Everyone, it seems, is responsible for Islamic terrorism except the Muslim mass murderers and their religious backers. This set of pernicious falsehoods must be countered whenever and wherever it appears. This can only be done by setting modern terrorism in its proper religious and historical context and countering the distortions that appear all too frequently in the media. The battle is on.


Dear Sir As if the London terror attacks were not bad enough, we now have to live with predictable excuses for them. Numerous commentators are trotting out the familiar 'Galloway' line that these bombings were inevitable retribution for invading Iraq and failing to create a Palestinian state. This is seductive nonsense. Al-Qaeda has never sought a two state solution or a stable Iraq. Instead, they wish to drive the Jews into the sea and destroy every moderate, pro Western regime in the Middle East. The 9/11 attack was planned, after all, in the same year as the Camp David talks that might have established a two-state settlement. Al-Qaeda would dearly love to re-establish the Islamic Caliphate, which the Turks abolished in 1924. To do this, they would need to eradicate the infidel westerners with their hateful notions of individual freedom, democracy and lifestyle choice. As a result of failing to confront this gospel of hate, militant Islamic radicals are thriving in the certain knowledge that the bleeding heart brigade will make excuses for their despicable actions.


Amnon Goldberg is perhaps right to use the ‘appeasement’ analogy with the proposed Gaza pullout. Without accepting that Israel should forever be territorially indivisible, one can view the disengagement plan as a perilous and ill timed political gamble. Abbas faces a resurgent Hamas whose popularity clearly outshines his own. In the face of this challenge, he has failed to build a viable security infrastructure and done little to crack down on the institutions of terror. Israel’s proposed concessions are therefore decoupled from guarantees of Palestinian reform and security, a sure recipe for disaster. Sharon, it seems, is slowly feeding a crocodile hoping it will eat him last. The failures of Oslo, as well as the ‘Northern Ireland peace process’ should serve as a salutary reminder of what happens when naïve optimism triumphs over reality.


Dear Sir

The AUT’s pernicious motion singles out Israel for opprobrium while ignoring the human rights record of a dozen or more countries. Such a selective attitude is bigoted and discriminatory and it is intellectually dishonest to pretend otherwise. Those in our own community who are willing to delegitimise the state of Israel in this way should hang their heads in shame. If Rosamine Hayeem thinks this is wrong, then I offer the following very simple challenge. I ask her to justify why there should be a boycott solely against the region’s only proper democracy, against the only country in the Middle East with an independent judiciary that regularly scrutinizes the actions of its own government, against the only country with an independent media, against the country with the best protection for the rights of racial minorities, gays and women and against the country with a human rights record that is comparable to the world’s leading democracies. I await her response.


Dear Sir

Few can fail to have been touched by the death of Pope John Paul II last week. His determination to remain Pontiff, despite debilitating illness, was inspiring as was his sense of unwavering conviction. He possessed the moral courage and tenacity to confront two powerful and pernicious ideologies in our own century: communism and anti Semitism. In the first case, his intervention ensured a peaceful transition to democracy in Poland. In the second, he recognized the hateful legacy of the Catholic Church towards the Jews and brought about an unprecedented reconciliation between Christianity and its ‘older brother’. His empathy for Jewish suffering was unprecedented and moving. True, he possessed feet of clay like all great leaders. Judged from a humanistic perspective, his rigid control of dogma was divisive as was his ruthless treatment of religious dissent. There should have been greater scope for debate on issues of religious interpretation. Nonetheless, his clarity of vision and remarkable courage mark him out as a moral giant of our age.


Dear Sir

Simon Lewis' insinuations of 'Tory prejudice' are inappropriate and ill timed. He says it is better not to vote for a party that 'gave tacit support to the apartheid regime in South Africa.' As an attempt to persuade people not to vote Conservative now, this argument is a non sequitur. True, the Conservative position on sanctions was dubious, but it was hardly motivated by racial considerations, nor would it be retrospectively supported by all Conservatives now. He then accuses the Tories of running a campaign against gypsies,as if this was the result of racial prejudice. The Conservatives are only pointing out that travellers are claiming spurious rights to land under the Human Rights Act, when these same rights are then denied to tax paying residents of the same area. Accusations of racism are inappropriate and only make reasoned debate on this sensitive issue more difficult. WARPED


Dear Sir

The latest terror outrage in Israel has shattered only a phoney calm in the region. For weeks, Israel has been carrying out daily arrests of would be suicide bombers on the West Bank though, inevitably, one bomber will always get through. Abu Mazen may not be Yasser Arafat but his inability to force a ceasefire on the Islamic rejectionists speaks volumes. The Jewish state cannot entrust the security of its citizens to the Palestinian authorities and the resumption of Israeli counter terror operations is both right and proper. With the region in a precarious state, the Gaza pull out plan seems an increasingly dangerous gamble that may do little for either side.


Dear Sir

The 40th anniversary of the death of Sir Winston Churchill prompts some reflections on this truly iconic British politician. While his towering record as an international statesman is fondly remembered, his consistent and long standing philo-semitism is often overlooked. He was a noted opponent of the aliens act, designed to limit Jewish immigration to Britain at the turn of the century. He argued that there was no reason for 'departing from the old tolerant and generous practice of free entry and asylum to which this country has long adhered.' While many of his colleagues flirted with prejudice, opposing anti-semitism whether in Tsarist Russia, Nazi Germany or the Foreign Office, became a consistent feature of his political life. Unsurprising, Churchill was an enthusiastic supporter of the Balfour Declaration and he described the Zionist dream in reverential tones. On a visit to Palestine in 1920, he remarked that the future creation of a Jewish state would be a 'great event in the world's destiny.' Churchill was happy to see the Jewish state created in 1948, urging its recognition and during the Suez crisis, he urged support for Israel against its 'ill treatment by the Egyptians.' Interestingly, Churchill called for Israel to be included in the British Commonwealth, arguing that, as a force in the world, Israel's inclusion might stop the unravelling of the empire he loved. Sadly, he was overruled by his peers.


Dear Sir

There has been much optimism following the election of Mahmoud Abbas. But no one can predict whether he alone can remove the Palestinian Authority's endemic corruption and advance a moderate agenda. He has yet to remove the cancer of anti semitic incitement and Islamic fanaticism. If he has genuine intentions, he will face an uphill struggle against the region's many fanatics, whose every aim is to sabotage the chances of dialogue.


Dear Sir

The recent arguments put forward against evolution are rather flimsy as any dispassionate look at the fossil record ought to reveal. (Letters, 17th December). The evidence for evolutionary change comes from many diverse areas of modern science. When the anatomical features of living animals are examined, evidence of shared ancestry is often apparent and research from embryology, anatomy, molecular biology, and biogeography collectively points to evolutionary change over a vast time period. The idea that the ‘recent creation hyothesis’ is scientific is risible. If this is a problem for literal interpreters of Genesis, then so be it. They should pursue their viewpoint in private and not seek to disseminate ignorance and superstition in the education system. The Torah is not a competitor with science for the secrets of nature. It is a valuable narrative containing profound moral and spiritual insights rather than a consistent historical record. From this humanistic perspective, the Torah is not denied its proper place as a work of philosophical genius. Instead it is given a separate remit to empirical science whose methods and objects of investigation are, of course, quite different.