The Gaza Massacre is an example of victim-blaming at its worst, because people have died.

Yes, there is an active debate over the intentions behind the tragic events of Monday (May 14) – on both sides.

But does it really matter whether Hamas was stirring people up to bring weapons to the apartheid fence between Gaza and Israel? Do we know that any were brought, apart from slings and stones and other low-tech materials? No, we don’t. The only people firing guns were Israelis.

And this is what we get from the Board of Deputies of British Jews:

“No state could allow its borders to be breached by those who openly wish harm to its civilians. Israel is defending its people from repeated violent attempts at mass invasion.

“The responsibility for the violence lies with Hamas, a terrorist organisation with the explicit stated aim of murdering Israeli civilians and the ultimate destruction of the State of Israel.

“Hamas is cynical in the use of its population – including children – to join known terrorists in violent attempts to break through the border and kill Israeli citizens.”

Victim-blaming.

Palestinians say their land has been stolen by Israel and this is true. I refer not to the land that was given to the State of Israel by treaty in 1948, but the land that has been taken by increasingly-aggressive Israeli force in the 70 years since. They were protesting against these thefts and demanding the right to have what is theirs returned to them.

Whatever Hamas said, no violence was carried out against Israeli citizens. In fact, where Palestinians and Israelis live in close proximity, they seem to get on perfectly well. The claim that the organisation desires the destruction of Israel is a wild accusation; everyone involved is reconciled to the fact that this would not solve the issues at hand.

And Hamas did not kill children – the IDF killed them.

The statement by the Board of Deputies has provoked fury – from British Jews, and others:

Here’s a statement from the UK government:

Pathetic. Here’s Tom London again:

Thank goodness Jeremy Corbyn is Labour leader, and has more to say.

Mr Corbyn said in a statement that action was needed “to hold those responsible to account”.

“This slaughter follows weeks of killings of Palestinian civilians demonstrating for their right to return, most of whom are refugees or the families of refugees,” the Labour leader said.

“Coming on the day President Trump moved the US embassy to Jerusalem, it underlines the threat to peace posed by the continuing and intolerable injustices faced by the Palestinian people.

“The response from many western governments to this flagrant illegality, including our own – which bears a particular responsibility for a peaceful and just resolution of the Israel-Palestine conflict – has been wholly inadequate.

“They should take a lead from Israeli peace and justice campaigners: to demand an end to the multiple abuses of human and political rights Palestinians face on a daily basis, the 11-year siege of Gaza, the continuing 50-year occupation of Palestinian territory and the ongoing expansion of illegal settlements.

Mr Corbyn added: “We cannot turn a blind eye to such wanton disregard for international law. That is why Labour is committed to reviewing UK arms sales to Israel while these violations continue.

“The international community must at last put its collective authority and weight behind achieving a lasting settlement that delivers peace, justice and security for both Israelis and Palestinians, who have waited so long to achieve their rights.”

That’s more like it.

Of course, we know why the Conservative government has so little to say against Israel. It’s all about money:

The full list of weapons sold by the UK government to Israel is available here.

Fortunately, the UN and at least one other country have made more muscular statements. Here’s UN human rights spokesman Rupert Colville:

And South Africa – a country that knows all about apartheid – withdrew its ambassador from Israel.

Let us not forget that Israeli citizens are also furious at the actions of their government. The Netanyahu regime cannot claim to have been acting for all its people because it wasn’t.


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