But you mustn’t call anyone a liar
It’s a simple rule. Misleading Parliament is a serious offence. But it still hasn’t penetrated every parliamentary skull.
And it’s laughable the way Parliament ties itself in knots trying to protect MPs and ministers from the plain truth that they are liars. To actually say such a thing would be using “unparliamentary language” and that’s forbidden. Could result in being ejected from the House. Take this account from The Spectator:
Ian Blackford, of the SNP, said Mrs May [then prime minister] had been “misleading the house inadvertently or otherwise” over her EU agreement. Instant panic. Roars of outrage at the suggestion that the prime minister had lied. Mr Speaker snapped to his feet. The House paused while he delivered his ruling which centred on two adverbs.
He revealed that when accusing the PM of fibbing it’s advisable to say that it was done “inadvertently”. But to add the phrase “or otherwise” suggests that Mrs May tells lies as a matter of policy. Surely not!
“There must be no imputation of dishonour,” said [Speaker] Mr Bercow, clearly enjoying the semantic kerfuffle and his position at its centre.
Mr Blackford tried again. The PM had been misleading the house “perhaps inadvertently”, he said. More uproar. Another scolding from the Chair. The word “perhaps” was out of order. At his third attempt Mr Blackford dropped the “perhaps” and said the PM had been misleading the house in a state of blissful ignorance.
From this we learned that it’s permissible for the prime minister to lie to MPs provided she’s merely passing on lies told to her elsewhere, and which she has been too slow-witted to spot. It seems odd that parliament should tolerate this level of gullibility in a prime minister.
Last week Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister of State for the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, was up to his old tricks in the House of Lords.
Baroness Bennett asked what representations had been made to the Government of Israel regarding the number of deaths and injuries of Palestinian civilians caused by the Israeli military in the Israeli-occupied territories so far this year.
Lord Ahmad replied that “all countries, including Israel, have a legitimate right to self-defence. Where there is evidence of excessive force, we advocate swift and transparent investigations. As I said recently to the Israeli ambassador to the UK, Tzipi Hotovely, on 21 April, the foreign secretary and I want to see a de-escalation and a willingness for dialogue from all sides…”
Ahmad is clearly misleading the House. Israel has no right of self-defence in the Palestinian territories it illegally occupies. And when did Israel ever carry out a transparent investigation into the murders it commits on Palestinians?
Lord Turnberg said it was “worth remembering that the dreadful loss of life in the recent conflict with Gaza is due to the war between Israel and Islamic Jihad, sponsored by Iran, not between Israel and the Palestinian people. Does the minister agree that the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians goes back a long way and is due to the failure of both sides to compromise?”
“I agree,” replied Lord Ahmad. “I am encouraged by the fact that, historically, moves forward have been made to resolve this issue… we will continue to work with both sides to ensure that, first and foremost, peace is sustained and stabilised, and then, importantly, to ensure that negotiations can take place between both sides.”
Misleading the House again. What peace? There is no peace. How can peace be “sustained and stabilised” when no just and legal basis for peace has yet been created? And what is there to negotiate when Palestinians’ right to freedom and self-determination is non-negotiable? International law has spoken and needs to be implemented, that’s all. Only then will there be scope for negotiation if both sides, as equals, wish it. Why can’t Lord Ahmad grasp the essential truth?
Lord Singh wanted to know if Ahmad agreed that “Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories in the West Bank and Gaza is illegal and immoral, and that land confiscation and the demolition of homes are a direct provocation to violent protest? Should not His Majesty’s Government be far more robust in condemning Israel’s flouting of international law?”
Good question, but Lord Ahmad ducked it: “We believe we should see progress towards the resolution of this conflict. On demolitions, the noble Lord will have seen that I recently raised directly with the Israeli authorities our concerns over the recent demolitions that have taken place, in particular the demolition of schools, and emphasised again the importance of access to education for all communities, particularly children, across that part of the world.”
He avoids mentioning what the “resolution of the conflict” is. Everyone and his dog knows that the conflict ends when the illegal occupation ends, and not before. And that you don’t keep “raising concerns” with war criminals like the Israeli regime, you hit them with painful consequences, like meaningful sanctions. The obvious “resolution” is to recognise Palestinian statehood on the internationally-agreed pre-1967 borders. But the UK refuses to do so. In the words of Foreign Secretary James Cleverly, “we will recognise a Palestinian state at a time when it best serves the object of peace. Bilateral recognition in itself cannot, and will not, end the occupation. The UK government continue to believe that without a negotiated peace agreement, the occupation, and the problems that come with it, will continue.” Well, Mr Cleverly, nothing else has ended it in all these years… but that’s the game plan, isn’t it? The only thing being served is the objectives of the apartheid state.
Baroness Smith referred to the UN Human Rights Council which is looking into Israel’s human rights record and the UK’s permanent representative at the UN who had called on Israel to reverse its policy of settlement expansion in the occupied territories. Could the minister “say a bit more about our engagement with Israel on this issue through the UN, including whether high-level discussions are taking place, with our foreign secretary talking to Israeli ministers?”
Ahmad replied: “During Prime Minister Netanyahu’s visit to the UK, my right honourable friend the prime minister was able to raise directly the importance of the two-state solution and, yes, my right honourable friend the foreign secretary engages consistently and regularly, particularly with Foreign Minister Cohen, whom I engage with directly as the minister responsible. In the context of the United Nations, we have strong working relationships as friends and partners to Israel, and that will continue; we will work constructively on this important agenda. Human rights matter to Israel. It is a democracy…”
Another fatuous reply. The question was about Israel’s non-stop illegal settlement building on Palestinian lands. Ahmad and his wretched government are afraid (or forbidden) to confront that. He surely knows by now that Israel is contemptuous of the rights of non-Jews. That’s been clear from the very beginning when the Zionist project was launched into the Holy Land. And since when was Israel a democracy? Its nation state laws don’t allow it. It is a full-blown, obnoxious ethnocracy. Why is Ahmad lying – sorry, fibbing?
I say “old tricks” because Ahmad’s utterances have been so bizarre and inaccurate, even for a Conservative minister, that it was necessary to write about him nearly five years ago. Even-handedness, like justice, is missing from some people’s mind-set. In a debate on the Israel-Palestine conflict that March he said: “Any party that believes in the destruction of Israel of course cannot be party to a peace process. The UK government have made it clear that, before taking part in any peaceful negotiations on the two-state solution, any party at the negotiating table needs to agree the right of Israel to exist.”
But what about the Palestinians’ right to exist? The UK government still stubbornly refuses to recognise the Palestinian state. So, that bars us from the peace process, right?
And how is the “two-state solution” still relevant? What does it look like given the many irreversible facts on the ground which the Israelis have been allowed to create with impunity? Yeah, too messy to even begin to describe. So why keep pushing it as a “solution”, Lord Ahmad, when most close observers say it’s been dead for that last 20 years? Netanyahu repeatedly declared then, and still does today, that there will be no Palestinian state during his tenure as Israel’s prime minister, and his successors are bound to say the same.
The chances of the Israelis willingly giving up the Palestinian territory they illegally seized and occupied in 1967 are zero, unless they are taught some sharp lessons in proper respect for international law by those who are responsible for upholding it – and that includes the UK. Those lands and resources stolen from Palestinians must be returned to the Palestinians if they are to enjoy the freedom and independence guaranteed under the law and other Conventions. But Netanyahu has declared: “We will not withdraw from one inch… There will be no more uprooting of settlements in the land of Israel… This is the inheritance of our ancestors. This is our land… We are here to stay forever.” And that’s from somebody who, like most of his fascist comrades, has no ancestral links whatever to the ancient land of Israel.
So, being permanently in breach of international and humanitarian law, and with an attitude like that, the Israeli government too is disqualified from any peace process.
As for the US administration, it is so bloated with Zionist pimps, has fouled up so many peace moves, is so discredited by its past and present performances and so contemptuous of any international law that gets in the way of its ambitions, that it too has no place in the peace process. Besides, it is a major funder of Israel’s illegal occupation and military aggression.
Does Israel have a “right to exist”?
So what are we to make of Tariq Ahmad, a Muslim (of Pakistani origin) and now a Conservative peer with the fancy title Baron Ahmad of Wimbledon? Since his elevation to the Lords he seems to have joined the ranks of those anxious to downplay Israel’s crimes and perpetuate the false idea that the rogue state is above the law and untouchable.
Of course, the fate of Israel/Palestine cannot be decided by meddlesome nations with vested interests seeking to override UN resolutions and re-shape the Middle East to suit themselves. It is for the International Court of Justice to consider on the basis of international law. But we never hear about law and justice from the UK government, or the US administration, and certainly not from the Israeli government in relation to the Holy Land. Why is that, Lord Ahmad? Do we no longer believe in it? Or are we too scared to uphold it, too morally bankrupt to enforce it?
Israel deliberately refuses to declare its borders. So, which Israel would Ahmad like everyone to recognise” Israel behind the borders allocated in the 1947 UN Partition Plan? Israel behind the 1949 armistice (“Green Line”) borders? Or Israel endlessly expanding at Palestinians’ expense by establishing hundreds more illegal squats or settlements with a view to eventually annexing the whole country?
Israelis with their boots on Palestinians’ necks and illegally occupying their homeland has been a sickening sight since the massacres and land grabs of 1948. The regime recently passed laws declaring itself “the historic homeland of the Jewish people” and claiming to have “an exclusive right to national self-determination in it”, putting beyond doubt that it’s an apartheid state.
And let us not forget that Israel’s admission to the UN as a new state in 1949 was conditional upon honouring the UN Charter and implementing UN General Assembly resolutions 181 and 194. It has failed to meet these obligations and to this day repeatedly violates provisions and principles of the charter. It has spectacularly delegitimised itself. So why would anybody feel obliged to promote its right to exist?
Bringing justice to the Holy Land is a basic test of humanity
We British have failed this test for more than 100 years, starting with Balfour’s infamous document in 1917 which created what Lord Sydenham called “a running sore in the East” by promising not the Jewish people but Zionist extremists a homeland for Jews in Palestine without bothering to consult the indigenous Muslim and Christian Arabs.
Britain compounded the betrayal in 1948 by abandoning its Mandate responsibilities and leaving Jewish terror militia to plunder, steal and murder their way through Palestine, grabbing all the territory they could lay hands on and putting the Arab population to flight.
Today Israel continues to impose a crushing blockade on the Palestinian territories (not just Gaza) yet we still refuse to punish the apartheid regime’s appalling cruelty, naked aggression and utter disregard of international law, and shrink from applying the sanctions we wouldn’t hesitate to slap on other delinquent countries. Instead, we carry on rewarding Israel’s crimes with “favoured nation” status and lucrative trade deals, even sharing our technology know-how.
Most other governments in Western Christendom have also failed the H-test. Their inaction means there may soon be no Christians left in the place where Christianity began. Israel will have driven them out.
Outlaw Hamas but welcome Israel’s thugs
Back then, Baroness Jenny Tongue put down a written question: “To ask Her Majesty’s Government… when they last discussed with the leaders of Hamas the position of that organisation on Israel.”
Ahmad answered: “The UK retains a policy of no contact with Hamas in its entirety.” Why? Hamas’s political wing was NOT at that time proscribed by the UK as a terrorist organisation but was, and still is, a legitimate player enjoying more credibility among Palestinians than Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah, which still controls the failed Palestinian Authority and PLO. Hamas was elected to govern in full and fair elections last held in 2006, so clearly isn’t a usurper of power. It simply enforced its democratic right to rule, much to the annoyance of Israel, the US and the UK. Hamas would likely win again next time, which is why elections are long overdue and may never happen. In the meantime it is diplomatically stupid of the UK to talk to Fatah and not Hamas.
The US-UK-Israel axis has always preferred working with the obedient quisling Abbas, leader of the defeated Fatah, who has long overstayed his official term as president and has no legitimacy.
Hamas offered the occupying Israelis peace if they got back behind their 1967 border in compliance with UN resolutions and international law. That happens to be the internationally-recognised position, so what problem could the UK government possibly have with it – unless the axis’ plan was to keep trouble brewing to buy time for Israel to cement its ill-gotten gains and make the occupation permanent? That was thought to be the truth of the matter then and is more so now.
So, does the “inadvertently” fibbing Lord Ahmad seriously think that mumbling the same old “peace process” mantra and claiming rights for Israel that don’t exist still provide cover for his intellectual and diplomatic nakedness? Why hasn’t he been locked up by the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner.
3rd June 2019
3rd November 2012
World-renowned violinist Nigel Kennedy has been attacked by Ruth Lynn Deech – Baroness Deech, of Cumnor – a member of the unelected upper chamber of the British Parliament, for speaking the truth at a BBC Proms concert, featuring the Palestinian Strings, a group of talented young musicians aged between 12…29th August 2013