WARNING: This blog entry will be political. Proceed with Caution
I am a liberal conservative. My dad was always a Labour supporter, my mum was always a Labour supporter. My brother has never shown much political interest but I suspect, if pushed, he would consider himself more Labour than Conservative. But I’m a Conservative.
Clare Short was, for a long time, a core member of the Labour Party. She may now be an independent but she surely retains similar opinions. As such I shouldn’t liker her. In fact I didn’t like her.
Until last Sunday, when I was made aware of a speech made by Clare last week. This speech has filled me with not just respect but almost reverence for the (now) great woman. The speech I am talking about is the introduction of a paper at the UN International Meeting in Support of Israeli-Palestinian Peace.
I have now learnt that Clare has been an outspoken critic of Israeli policy for some time, in 2007 she called for boycotts against Israel like those against South Africa during apartheid. This had unfortunately evaded my notice, but her phrasing last week most certainly has not.
Clare’s paper must be available somewhere online – I can’t find it at the moment but I’ll let you know..
Meanwhile I have picked out some phrases which I think illustrate it brilliantly:
“this is an apartheid system more cruel that that imposed on South Africa”
“Palestinians are suffering terribly both within historical Palestine and as refugees outside”
“the Palestinians are hemmed and surrounded”
“Gaza is a prison which is the most densely occupied place on earth”
The list of phrases goes on and on. Whilst it seems bizarre to sit by the tranquil see of Galilee and write about oppression it is unfortunately the situation of this country. Clare’s words may be impressive and incredibly bold, but she has no great influence anymore. Whilst the Palestinian lobby here remain confident that Miliband is sympathetic, I am not convinced.
What remains clear is that at this time when international pressure is needed, and international pressures aren’t comfortable to act, Clare Short’s is a voice to listen to.