How Anti-Israel Animus Brought Down a British Government Minister

Nov. 10 2017

Earlier this week, British media outlets reported that Priti Patel, the secretary for international development, had “secretly” traveled to Israel and met Benjamin Netanyahu and other government officials in August, unbeknownst to Prime Minister Theresa May. The Guardian proclaimed that this “covert summer trip was a gift to Israelis who seek to influence British policy.” But the supposedly sub-rosa visit was reported in the Israeli press at the time, and Israeli politicians publicly tweeted about their meetings with Patel, who has since resigned. Tom Rogan comments:

[Most likely] the real reason Patel resigned is that she recognized the forces arrayed against her wouldn’t rest until she fell. The first culprit is Patel’s own Department for International Development (DFID). Officials at DFID leaked Patel’s query to them earlier this summer over whether the British government could sponsor an Israeli aid project in the Golan Heights. One official told the BBC that Patel’s query was in and of itself “inappropriate.”

Of course, it didn’t matter that the aid project in question is specifically designed to save Syrian refugees, only that DFID officials hate the idea of supporting Israel in any way. Because the UK regards the Golan Heights as Israeli-occupied Syrian territory, DFID officials were especially furious at Patel’s conduct.

The second challenge came from the Labor party opposition. Their fury here was inherently unsurprising but had nothing to do with Patel’s breach of the ministerial code. Rather, led by the avowed Israel-hater Jeremy Corbyn, Labor embraces any opportunity to distance Britain from Israel. . .

Nevertheless, Patel should not have resigned. Instead, she should have apologized and then forced her DFID officials to look in the mirror. . . . [W]hile DFID will spend $51 million in the Palestinian territories this year and roughly $65 million next year, it has actively sponsored anti-Israel non-governmental organizations. . . .

Read more at Washington Examiner

More about: Anti-Semitism, Israel & Zionism, Theresa May, United Kingdom


Why a Humanitarian Crisis in Gaza Is Unlikely

Feb. 16 2018

High-ranking figures in the IDF, along with some Israeli and foreign officials, have been warning that economic troubles combined with severely deficient public works could lead to an outbreak of starvation or epidemic in the Gaza Strip; their warnings have been taken up and amplified in sensationalist stories in Western media. Hillel Frisch is skeptical:

The most important factor behind real humanitarian crises—mass hunger and contagious disease—is first and foremost the breakdown of law and order, and violence between warring militias and gangs. This is what occurred in Darfur, Somalia, and the Central African Republic. In such situations, the first to leave are the relief agencies. Then local medical staffs evacuate, along with local government officials and anyone professional who can make it out of the bedlam. The destitute are left to fend for themselves. Hospitals, dispensaries, schools, and local government offices are soon abandoned or become scenes of grisly shootouts and reprisals.

Nothing could be farther from such a reality than Gaza. Hamas, which is the main source of [misleading reports] of an imminent humanitarian crisis, rules Gaza with an iron fist. Few developed democracies in the world can boast the low homicide rates prevailing in the Strip. Nor have there been reports of any closings of hospitals, municipal governments, schools, universities, colleges, or dispensaries. . . .

Nor have there been news items announcing the departure of any foreign relief agencies or the closure of any human-rights organizations in the area. Nor is there any evidence that the World Health Organization (WHO), which rigorously monitors the world to prevent the outbreak of contagious disease, is seriously looking at Gaza. And that is for good reason. The WHO knows, as do hundreds of medical personnel in Israeli hospitals who liaise with their colleagues in Gaza, that the hospital system in Gaza is of a high caliber, certainly by the standards of the developing world. . . .

Hamas, [of course], wants more trucks entering Gaza to increase tax revenues to pay for its 30,000-strong militia and public security force, and to increase the prospects of smuggling arms for the benefit of its missile stockpiles and tunnel-building efforts. How Israel should react is equally obvious. You want more humanitarian aid? . . . Free the two mentally disabled Israelis who found their way into Gaza and are imprisoned by Hamas.

Read more at BESA Center

More about: Gaza Strip, Hamas, Israel & Zionism, Palestinian economy