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Miliband and the UK govt rush to defend Israel once again

Miliband and the UK govt rush to defend Israel once again

Categories: Latest News

Tuesday April 21 2009


The Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, has described the comments made at the UN anti-racism conference by the Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, on Israel being a ‘racist state’ as ‘offensive, inflammatory and utterly unacceptable’.

The Iranian president was speaking at the Durban Review Conference, a UN organised conference on anti racism, in Geneva, Switzerland on Monday 20 April.  You can read the full text of his speech here.

The Iranian president spoke of Israel being founded in response to the racism experienced by the Jews in Europe and which has resulted in their, paradoxically, creating, ‘under the pretext of making up for damages resulting from racism in Europe’ … ‘the most aggressive, racist country in another territory, i.e. Palestine.’

Ahmadinejad went on to criticise those states that have given succour to the worst excesses of Israel’s belligerent actions in the Occupied Territories.

Considering the Foreign Secretary’s expression of repugnance at comments made by the Iranian president, it is worth returning to his statement to the House on 13 January, as the Israeli war on Gaza ravaged on.

At that time, Miliband acknowledged the failings of the international community to live up to its pledges of mediating for a durable peace. However, he also placed the blame for the Israeli bombardment of Gaza squarely on Hamas. He said:

the immediate trigger for Israeli military action on 27 December was the end of the truce.  Hamas refused to extend the lull, and instead fired almost 300 rockets into Israel between 19 and 27 December.  Those rockets – and the hundreds fired since – were a cruel choice by Hamas to target Israeli civilians and to reject again the fragile peace negotiations that had been taking place between the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli government since the Annapolis Conference in late 2007. ‘

No mention here of the other contributing factors to a stalemate in the Middle East peace process; the persistence and expansion of illegal Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Israel’s refusal to abide by the various UN resolutions that condemn and force a retreat to this territorial expansion. Nor any mention of the 18 month blockade of Gaza instituted by the Israelis to force the downfall of the Hamas government in the region.

Miliband went on to contrast Hamas, which he called a ‘terrorist organisation’, which has ‘shown … over a number of years ready to be murderous in word and deed’, with Israel, which he described as ‘a thriving, democratic state with independent judiciary.’

When Ahmadinejad referred to the need to overcome those who ‘try their best through economic power and political influence and wide media means, to lessen the crimes and ugliness of the nature of the Zionist regime’, he was addressing the very nature of a racism that today perpetuates a situation in which the Palestinian people find themselves dispossessed; forced from their homes and their livelihoods, and who suffer the ignominy of being treated as the ‘aggressors’, while those who stripped of them of their land enjoy the status of ‘victims’. He was speaking of a situation in which a democratically mandated government can have its legitimacy and its authority contested and undermined by other states that through sanctions and blockades attempt to depose it.

The British Ambassador to the UN in Geneva, Peter Gooderham commented on Ahmadinejad’s speech saying, ‘[It] can only damage international confidence in Iran’s willingness to act as a respectable member of the international community.’

And what of the confidence of Iran and the international community in the UK government when the serious issue of double standards in dealing with members of the international system of states is glossed over and rejected as ‘offensive, inflammatory and utterly unacceptable’?

You can write to the Foreign Secretary with your views and comments on his reaction to the Durban Review conference by email on [email protected]. Or address your letter to:

The Rt. Hon. David Miliband MP
Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
King Charles Street
London SW1A 2AH.


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