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Baroness exposes UK's immoral Gaza policy



British Chancellor of the Exchequer and Second Lord of the Treasury George Osborne made a bad advertisement of what the Britons otherwise would spare no pains to conceal — reprehensible insensitivities of its political class for the Arabs.

Therefore, little surprise that he found the resignation of Baroness Sayeeda Warsi over Gaza "disappointing" and "unnecessary". Lady Warsi, Britain's first female Muslim Cabinet minister (senior Foreign Office minister), resigned because she found Britain's policy on Gaza was "morally indefensible".

And she couldn't be more correct on the issue. She was evidently much distressed by Cameron government's failure to condemn the war crimes Israel has been committing in Gaza. Hundreds of children, women and elders have been killed and yet Britain's response to the massacre has been despicably muffled and inaudible.

A Downing Street spokesman was blatantly lying while responding to Lady Warsi's resignation. He said that the Prime Minister regretted the Lady's decision to step down though, "Our (Britain's) policy has always been consistently clear — the situation in Gaza is intolerable and we've urged both sides to agree to an immediate and unconditional ceasefire."

When did we last hear from Britain and its prime minister that the Britons felt the situation in Gaza is intolerable? When did we last hear Britain urging for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire? We do not remember having heard anything to these effects since Israel launched its latest bout of murderous attacks on the Palestinians in Gaza.

Britain, on the contrary, has been rather consistent in championing Israel's "right to defend itself". A Member of the British Parliament Jeremy Corbyn, in a letter to Prime Minister David Cameron, demanded an explanation why Britain abstained at the UN Human Rights Council recently when a vote came up regarding a Commission of Inquiry into Israeli actions.

Why hasn't the Israeli ambassador been called in for discussions in view of the terrible situation caused by the Israeli bombardment? And why has the British ambassador to Israel not been recalled for consultations? He also sought an answer on the nature of the military relationship between Britain and Israel and arms supplies between the two.

The resignation of Baroness Warsi has caused an avalanche of opinion in Britain. Mathew Norman has been particularly scathing in his commentary on the issue in The Independent. A Jew himself, Norman has come out in support of the Baroness saying, "Like so many of us, she couldn't stomach Cameron's immoral stance on Israel. Wouldn't we all resign if we were in Baroness Warsi's position?"

Yes Mathew, we would all have resigned had we been in the position of the Baroness. And all the more because we agree with Mathew's argument. The British government has no policy on Gaza. Until now, David Cameron's solitary concern about the slaughter of innocents has appeared to be avoiding giving offence to Benjamin Netanyahu and his administration. That is not a policy. It is the cowardly abrogation of moral duty.

How can we not agree that Britain, especially Cameron and the Tory government, have abrogated their moral responsibilities? In 2006, when an Israeli incursion in south Lebanon killed almost 1,000 people, Cameron was among the first few British politicians to condemn the Jewish invasion. What, therefore, makes him remain silent in condemning the massacre in Gaza? Has power changed his perceptions about Israel? If so, this is most galling.

That's why, when people like author, journalist and public commentator Melanie Phillips, would look at the resignation of the Baroness as an act provoked by anti-Semitism, we feel obliged to "treat that brand of slanderous idiocy with the cool disdain it demands." George Osborne too deserves not a scintilla better than our scorn.

The Baroness, in her earlier tweet, had said what we have all been feeling: "Can people stop trying to justify the killing of children? Whatever our politics there can never be justification, surely only regret."

There cannot be any debate, there cannot be any logic that can justify the indiscriminate slaughter of children, women and elders whatever the provocation may have been. The massacre is immoral and any inability to condemn that immorality is a debauchery. The Baroness has exposed Britain's incontinence.

Neither Osborne nor Phillips would ever comprehend that expressing sympathy for the Palestinians isn't anti-Semitism. One need not be a Muslim to feel for the slaughtered in Gaza; one needs only to be a human; one needs only to rise above the compulsions of politics to denounce Israel's carnage. Lady Warsi resigned not because she is a Muslim but because she is a human being. Attempts to trivialise her resignation, therefore, is an act no less depraved than Cameron's inability to denounce Israel's mass murder of the Arabs in Gaza.

Lady Warsi had spoken for many and The Economist feels that her stepping down is a significant act. Tory government's language and approach remind of the years of Tony Blair's leadership, and specifically his role in the Iraq War and his outspoken support for Israel in its 2006 war with Lebanon. "In 2006 Mr Blair's stark support for Israel's actions in Lebanon left many "Blairites" cold, accelerating his hand-over to Gordon Brown (as Blair himself later admitted)."

Cameron and his government too may face a similar prospect. Baroness Warsi's resignation has already blown the lid off the Tories' supposedly inclusive image and The Independent's Whitehall Editor Oliver Wright feels that Cameron now faces an uphill struggle to win support from UK's Muslim communities. "Middle-class Muslims in crucial Midlands and outer London marginals, who might otherwise have voted Tory, may stay at home or vote Lib Dem or Labour".

The author is the Opinion Editor of Times of Oman. All the views and opinions expressed in the article are solely those of the author and do not reflect those of Times of Oman.


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