Theresa and the terrorists: She supports them in the Middle East but what did she think of Mandela?

Theresa May in Nelson Mandela’s cell: She should have been locked in and left there.

Tories and terrorism – they’ve got a real problem, haven’t they?

On one hand, they firmly – and wrongly – denounced the late Nelson Mandela as a terrorist for many years.

On the other, they have merrily provided weapons to those inflicting terror on others in the Middle East – in Israel, and to Saudi Arabia for its war on the Yemen, for example.

Theresa May is currently in South Africa, and visited the Robben Island prison cell in which Mr Mandela was incarcerated for decades.

Interviewed before the visit, she refused point-blank to deny that she had supported Margaret Thatcher’s claim that Mr Mandela was a terrorist and deserved to be in prison:

Notice that Mr Crick asked if she had been arrested outside the South African embassy for protesting against apartheid. We know somebody who was, don’t we?

Contrast this with the Conservative government’s support for suffering in the Middle East.

Consider Israel. Earlier this year, I wrote:

In the same month the Israel Defence Force killed dozens of people and injured thousands more, it turns out the UK has increased its sales of arms to that country by more than £140 million.

Our exports of deadly weapons to the country that has terrorised, mutilated and killed weaponless people… nearly tripled.

Consider Saudi Arabia and its war on Yemen.

Arms sales to Saudi Arabia from the UK totalled around £1.1 billion in 2017, and Theresa May laid on a lavish welcome for Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman when he visited this country in March.

But Labour pointed out that these arms were being used to kill civilians in Yemen – and the government was even providing military personnel who were offering advice on targeting:

Corbyn urged the prime minister to stop arms sales to Saudi Arabia over its intervention in Yemen, which has killed thousands of civilians and worsened a humanitarian catastrope, and take the crown prince to task on human rights.

Speaking after PMQs, Corbyn’s spokesman expanded on Labour’s position, saying arms sales and the involvement of British military personnel provided a level of complicity over the situation in Yemen.

“Britain has not only increased arms supplies to Saudi Arabia dramatically since the start of the war, not only supports the war, as Theresa May said in the chamber just now, but British military personnel advise the Saudi air force and military on targeting – and so there is a direct involvement in the conduct of the war,” he said.

“Which as we know has led to very large numbers of civilian casualties and very clear evidence of the targeting of schools and hospitals. Very large numbers of children have been killed.”

We know Theresa May is a racist – we have her “hostile environment” policy and the resulting Windrush scandal as evidence of that. And her government has not condemned the “Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people” law which confirms that country as an apartheid state. So her refusal to deny believing that a black man who opposed apartheid was a terrorist is understandable.

And before anyone tries to suggest that she can’t be a racist because of her relationship with the Arabs of Saudi Arabia, I offer just one word in explanation:


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