House of Commons Debate on Recognition of Palestinian Statehood

I’m watching this with a sense of utter despair. My own shul’s MP (Mike Hancock) made egregious, mendacious, mischievous and borderline antisemitic comments (in that he denies the facts surrounding the birth of the State of Israel) about Israel’s War of Independence.
The same buzzwords keep coming up: disproportionate, settlements.
The most powerful proponent of the motion, it soon became apparent, was no MP but the BBC: speaker after speaker prayed in favour of the motion the film ‘The Gatekeepers’ and subsequent debate, screened on BBC2 48 hours previously.
The division was not across party lines, but something both older and newer, and far more visceral. The voices in favour were mainly regional, with a preponderance from Scotland; those opposed were uniformly (with the honourable exception of Louise Ellman) received pronunciation from the shires.
As I listened, I was reminded inescapably of Yeats’ famous lines: “The best lack all conviction, while the worst are filled with passionate intensity.” The pro voices were clear and forceful: the antis were factually correct, but dull, dull, dull, in some cases obviously reading briefs.
Much was made of the second part of the Balfour Declaration, that “nothing should be done which might prejudice the rights of the non-Jewish communities”, and Britain’s historic responsibility and importance as the holder of the Mandate from 1920 to 1947.
So: the motion was amended to read: “That this House believes that the Government should recognise the state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel as a contribution to securing a negotiated two state solution.” It was passed 247 to 12.
Not one word was spoken about the White Paper of 1939 which shut the doors of Palestine forever to the millions of doomed Jews of Hitler’s Europe. By that act, the people of Britain, whether they know it or not, forfeited their right to dare to pass judgment on Israel.

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